5/20: With a packed house at Moody Field, the Giants hosted Casa Grande High School from Santa Rosa in the second round of the NCS Varsity Baseball tournament. The spectators would be treated to some great baseball, as both teams were well staffed and ready to play ball.
Redwood’s Ace, Nick Welch, started for the Giants, wowing the crowd through each intense inning. Welch collected a resounding 11 strikeouts through five and a third innings of work but left the contest with the score still sitting at no runs apiece.
Redwoods first opportunity to score came in the second inning. Ben Cohen poked one to right field to start the inning. Jack Morken pulled one to left field, leaving the two sluggers on first and second with no outs. Cohen went on to steal third base, giving the Giants a first and third situation with nobody out.
Call it what you want, but the inning that was promising, soon became clouded with umpire interference. Morken would break toward second as Alex Hagen squared up to lay down a bunt and Morken landed safely at second base. While the catcher made no contact with Hagen and didn’t alter his throw with Hagen squared up in the box, the home-plate umpire called “interference”, subsequently calling him out, and sending Morken back to first base. Instead of runners at second and third, with nobody out, the Giants were given one out and returned Morken to first base. The inning ended without any Giant runs. “That was a turning point in the game, it’s a judgement call that took away the momentum in the inning.” Coach Firenzi said after the game.
The Game continued through 8 innings of very intense and exciting Varsity baseball. Ultimately, the Gauchos plated two runs in the top of the 8th inning. In the bottom of the eighth, Jackson Reed lead off with a single. Lucas Roy induced a walk, putting the winning run at Home. The Giants had two accomplished hitters on deck and in the hole but came up short. Final Score: 0-2
“Our pitching was excellent today, we didn’t execute in the areas that got us here. We didn’t get out bunts down, we didn’t move runners over when we needed to, and we gave them 17 outs by way of strike out or fly out. Hard to win when you don’t score and give them easy outs in the NCS” Firenzi said. “We had a great year, I’m proud of what these kids did. In all my years this was one of the best group of kids that I have coached.”
It goes without saying, the 2019 Giants Varsity Baseball Team were tremendous, winning the MCAL Championship and competing into the second round of the North Coast Section tournament. For the past two years, the players on this team have performed like champions – accomplishing what no other program has, back to back MCAL Championships for all levels – Freshman, JV, and Varsity! Moving forward, the Redwood Giants are in the capable hands of head coach, Mike Firenzi. The parents of the departing players truly salute the program and will stay involved. Go Giants!