Former Johns Creek High School and Georgia Tech teammates Brandon Gold and Matthew Gorst ended their first regular seasons as professional baseball pitchers on opposite sides of the country over Labor Day weekend, although Gorst advanced to the playoffs with the Lowell Spinners.
Both of the Jewish pitchers were assigned to short-season Class A teams after being drafted in the 12th round in June, Gold by the Colorado Rockies and Gorst by the Boston Red Sox.
Gold got off to a rough start as a reliever for the Boise Hawks of the Northwest League. He was one of the last of the team’s 18 pitchers to take the mound, then gave up a grand slam and five runs (three earned) without recording an out in his first appearance.
But he gradually chipped away at his earned-run average. He picked up his first professional win with two shutout innings against Tri-City on Aug. 6, and over his last four appearances totaling 10 innings, he gave up only two earned runs.
His final appearance Sept. 3 — two shutout innings with three strikeouts — brought his ERA to a season-low 4.01 in 24 2/3 innings over 15 appearances. He finished with a 1-2 record and 23 strikeouts with only two walks. The downside is that he surrendered 30 hits, including three home runs.
Gorst also was one of the last pitchers to appear for Lowell in the New York-Penn League, but he got off to a hot start working out of the bullpen. Gorst gave up only one run in his first six appearances.
The odd thing about the beginning of his pro career was the lack of strikeouts: He had none in his first three outings. But in his final five appearances he recorded 19 strikeouts in 13 1/3 innings, ending the regular season with three strikeouts in 2 1/3 innings Sept. 3.
Gorst finished the year 1-0, winning against Batavia on July 28, with two saves in 13 games. He had a 2.67 ERA with 27 strikeouts, six walks and 21 hits in 27 innings.
The Spinners were scheduled to start a best-of-three playoff series against Hudson Valley on Wednesday, Sept. 7.