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June 6, 2007
Fireworks will light the sky over Peccole Park June 7 as part of the Reno Silver Sox opening weekend activities. The Sox, whose 2006 inaugural season included winning the Golden Baseball League (GBL) championship, hope to start the season strongly with a three-day home stand against the team they beat for last year's championship, the Chico Outlaws.
All players who won the championship will return to get their ring and the Golden Baseball League Championship banner will be raised at Peccole.
"We are expecting a lot of fan support," said John Rice, public relations director for the Silver Sox. "Our single and season ticket sales have gone up a great deal from last year."
The Silver Sox came to Reno in 2005 after an agreement between the University and the GBL. That agreement include GBL funding for both lights and artificial-turf for Peccole Park.
The Sox have brought back two key players from their championship season; pitcher James Johnson and infielder Carlos Madrid. Johnson was a Golden Glove winner in the 2006 season and Madrid is a former Wolf Pack star. Also returning is the GBL's manager of the year, Les Lancaster.
New talent has also been signed to try to win another championship. Former Anaheim Angels pitcher Dustin ‘Dusty' Bergman was signed to help their pitching rotation. Bergman made his major league debut in 2004 and will also serve as a pitching coach.
The Sox signed some local talent as well. This includes former Galena High School infielder Chuck Sindlinger and local Reno resident Dustin Hahn, who will play at third base and in the outfield.
The Sox finished with a 47-33 record last season which was good enough for best in the league. The team saw four of its players get the honor of being on GBL's All-League team and had two players win gold gloves for outstanding defense.
Although they had a talented roster last year, the Silver Sox will have to rely mostly on new players. Out of the 22-man roster only six players and one coach, Lancaster, from the championship team will be returning.
Rice says fans should not be worried as this is common throughout the league.
"Players can be sold [to other teams and leagues] throughout the entire year and Reno had a record number of player's contracts bought."
This, according to Rice, shows just how strong the Golden Baseball League is getting.
But Reno should look to repeat as champions.
"Our team is great, possibly better than last years," said Rice. "We're looking to bring the championship back to Reno."