Potters off to strong start at home

Working to shore up pitching
By: Aaron Jackson for The News Messenger
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The Lincoln Potters began their season May 29 away at Medford, where they lost their first series 1-2. Despite their rough start, the Potters came back home and performed well in front of an excited crowd against the San Francisco Seals at McBean Stadium last weekend.

The Seals are one of the two new teams in the Great West League.

Lincoln won the first game against the Seals, 6-4, Friday night, with local Elijah Garcia pitching a great game. Saturday, the Potters hoped to continue their winning ways Saturday.

On a very warm Saturday evening in front of a packed house celebrating Lincoln High Fighting Zebras Alumni Night with fireworks, Hector Sepulveda from Sierra College took the mound. After two scoreless innings, the Potters got two runs in the bottom of the second.

Lincoln’s Billy Rockefeller and Logan Wurm scored, one run coming off former Zebra Charles Middleton’s sacrifice fly. But San Francisco responded with a three run third inning, forcing Lincoln to make a pitching change.

The game remained close until the fifth inning, when the Seals started to swing their bats. San Francisco put up eight runs on five hits, one a grand slam by left fielder Louis Gaitley to give the Seals an 11-2 lead.

The Potters fought back in the bottom of the inning with three runs before being retired with the bases loaded. The Seals went on to win 16-5.

“The biggest issue for us, right now, is throwing strikes … ; we are having trouble keeping guys off the bases and we’re giving it to them for free,” said Potters Manager Ryan Stevens. “We have to make them earn their bases. We have to find consistent pitching and get our starters to work more than three innings and battle back from there. … , but overall it’s just hard to come back after playing out there dealing with so many walks.”

Stevens said Potters’ hitting has been good, but said the team was capable of doing better.

The Potters won the final game of the series 7-6 Sunday, after a walk-off single by Walker Dodero.

The Potters opened a three-game series at home against the Klamath Falls Gems and won game one 10-4 Monday, behind the pitching of Nathan Gilman. Friday, Lincoln heads for Chico for three games against the 2017 GWL champion Heat.