3/24/23:  The Redwood Varsity Baseball Giants wrapped up a two-day sweep of the San Rafael Bulldogs, writing a new page in Marin County sports history as they helped Mike Firenzi to his 500th win as a baseball head coach. A pioneer to that milestone, Firenzi had set the Marin County record the previous year with his 473rd win, surpassing former Redwood Head Coach Al Endriss, who at age 95 was on-hand for both occasions. The final tally of the baseball game was 7-0.

Junior Rex Solle was blistering on the mound for the Giants, racking up 15 strikeouts against a single walk, and consistently blowing fastballs past Bulldog hitters up and down the lineup. As opposed to his previous two outings, where he needed an inning or two to settle down, Solle took early command of the strike zone, striking out the side in order in the bottom of the 1st .

In a scheduling oddity, despite the game being played at Redwood’s Moody Field, the Giants were deemed to be the “visiting” team. The venue had moved due to the impact of extensive recent rain on San Rafael’s home turf (aka ‘Muddy Field’).

While the Bulldogs only managed two hits and four baserunners against Solle, and never threatened, the Giants were on the board before making a single out. Second baseman Theo Trono kicked things off in the top of the 1st with a single up the middle off of Bulldog starter Lazlo Clements. Solle then helped himself with a rocket to left-center for a stand-up double, scoring Trono.

It was Trono again in the top of the 3rd, singling to right field and stealing second, then advancing to third on Solle’s fly out when Bulldog right fielder Dexter Jackson’s throw skipped past third baseman Quinn Madden. With Giants first baseman Rory Minty at the plate, Firenzi sent Trono in on the squeeze, and Minty laid down a beauty, making it 2-0.

The Giants added two in the 4th, as shortstop Danil Wells led off with a shot up the middle, racing around to third on center fielder Gavin Soper’s picture-perfect bunt to the left side. After Soper stole second base, third baseman Lucas Ghio followed with a sac fly to right, scoring Wells and sending Soper to third. Soper then scored on a grounder to short by right fielder Jack Moseley, extending the Giants’ lead to 4-0.

With two outs in the 5th, Wells and Soper teamed up again. Wells drilled another ball up the middle, scoring Minty, who had walked, then taken second on a dropped third strike. With Wells running from first, Soper slashed a curving liner into left field, where Bulldog AJ Thorpe gave chase but watched it clank off his glove, turning Soper’s single into a triple, and scoring Wells, making it 6-0. 

The Giants rounded out the scoring in the top of the 6th, when replacement right fielder Sam Gersch singled to left, scoring left fielder Tyler Sofnas, who had been drilled in the back, but bounced up to steal second, and had advanced to third in a rundown.

Wells, usually on the highlight reel at shortstop, had the tables turned on him in the top of the 7th, when he led off with a looping flare into shallow center field. The ball looked to be Wells’s third hit of the day, and fourth time on base. However, Bulldog shortstop Lazlo Clements killed that dream on the dead run, diving backwards into center for the spectacular over-the-shoulder catch. It was a rare bright spot for San Rafael during two dark days on the diamond, with Redwood outscoring the Bulldogs by a combined 17-2.

With the milestone win, the Giants move to 10-1 on the year (6-0 MCAL), and sit at #6 in the NCS rankings on MaxPreps (#41 in California). Solle moves over .400 at the plate to lead the team at .414, followed closely by Wells (.375), Sofnas (.367) and Trono (.364). Just to show what kind of smallball the Giants are playing, their 90 hits on the year to-date are comprised of 82 singles, 6 doubles and 2 triples (and zero home runs).

With his 15 K’s on the day, Solle (38) moves past Minty (36) for the team lead in strikeouts, although, at 2-0, he has a long way to go to catch up to Minty’s 6-0 record.

Next up, the Giants head across to San Anselmo on Tuesday to battle the Archie Williams Peregrine Falcons, before returning the favor on Friday and hosting the Falcons at Moody.

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