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Potters triumph on Opening Day

Potters gather after their Opening Day win

The Lincoln Potters showcased the team’s loaded roster early and often Friday evening, overwhelming the Yuba-Sutter Gold Sox 21-2 to start the season 1-0.

With no capacity limits or COVID restrictions, 1,177 Potter fans filled McBean Stadium with orange on Opening Day. And after enduring the long wait for baseball, their home team Potters did not disappoint.

Potter manager Ryan Stevens expressed his emotions on Opending Day and his expectations for his ball club.

“The Potters are true to heart for me, so I was excited to be back,” Stevens said. “I think we’re going to have a great ball club. We should just keep getting better. The expectations are high here. We’re looking to win championships."

Right-handed pitcher Alex Dargan (University of Southern California) earned the win in his start for the Potters, striking out three and allowing one run in three innings. Right-handed Potter pitcher Craig Schmich (Minot State University) struck out four and allowed one run in his four innings. 

Potter fans that stayed for the eighth inning were treated with the first Potter home run of the season – a grand slam by Brandon Motheral (University of Pacific) over the left field wall.

Yuba-Sutter started the scoring in the first inning. After Cam Johnson advanced to third base on a wild pitch, Brad Madison’s sacrifice fly to center field put the Gold Sox ahead, 1-0.

But the Potters responded quickly in their half of the first, capitalizing on a handful of defensive mistakes by the Gold Sox. Isiah Lissade (Oklahoma Baptist) and Cort McDonald (Stanford University) walked to start the inning. And after an errant throw from Yuba Sutter catcher John Pantlick sailed into center field, Lissade raced home to even the score. Dan Pruitt (Oklahoma Baptist) scored on another passed ball, and Troy Shields (Oklahoma Baptist) hit an RBI single into left field scoring Lincoln’s third opening-inning run.

Dargan produced key consecutive strikeouts in the second inning to protect the 3-1 Potter lead. Gold Sox Clayton Coats and Jordan Davis began the second inning with groundball singles, placing two men on base with no outs. But after forcing a flyout, Dargan’s pair of K’s ended the threat.

Lincoln rallied again with a five-run second inning. Trevor Tishenkel (University of California-Berkley) sparked the momentum by hitting an infield single before a handful of Potters displayed sound judgment from the batter’s box. After Lissade was hit by a pitch, Cort MacDonald (Stanford University), Pruitt, Motheral, Trey Furrey (Oklahoma Baptist University), and Reece Ragatz (Northern State University) drew four consecutive walks. Shields capped the Potter scoring by hitting a sacrifice fly, extending the Potter lead to 8-1.   

Dargan made another clutch play in the third inning to protect the Potter lead. Facing Chris Cook with two outs, a full count, and a man on third base, Dargan forced a groundball which Potter first baseman Ravatz fielded and tossed to Dargan who tagged first base to keep the Gold Sox without a run for consecutive innings.

The Potters highlighted the squad’s power hitting in the fifth inning. MacDonald slammed a hit off the wall in center field and raced to third base for a triple. MacDonald and Pruitt walked to load the bases, and Motheral drove a three-run double into left field widening the Potter lead to 12-1.

Earl Johnson homered for Yuba Sutter in the fifth inning. But the Potters squashed any hope of a Gold Sox comeback in the bottom of the seventh. Pruitt lined an RBI-double into left field, and Motheral’s base hit single put the Potters ahead, 14-2.

The teams will meet again tomorrow on fireworks night for the second game of the teams’ three-game series.

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