3/02/23:  Riding the 1-hit pitching of Senior southpaw Rory Minty, the Redwood Varsity Baseball Giants dispatched their perennial non-league nemesis the Petaluma Trojans Thursday with surprising ease, 6-0. Minty carried a no-hitter into the 6th inning, finishing the complete game with eight strikeouts against a single walk.

Having fallen twice the prior year to the Trojans, including a season-ending loss in the NCS D-II Semifinals, the Giants’ early-season victory on Petaluma’s home field was all the sweeter. Redwood racked up 11 hits and committed just one error on the day, steadily pulling away from the Trojans throughout a chilly March afternoon.

The Giants got on the board right away in the top of the 1st, when first baseman Ben Resnick’s long fly ball to right field was misplayed by Trojan Jasper Jennings, scoring Minty, who had reached base on a walk.

Minty’s stellar outing on the mound started inauspiciously with a 4-pitch walk and wild pitch, immediately placing Trojan DH Raime Dayton into scoring position, but a soft fly ball to left fielder Sam Gersch and two quick strikeouts shut down the Trojans for the inning. Minty would allow no further walks, and only two more baserunners over the entire game.

In the top of the 3rd, Giant third baseman Rex Solle led things off with a single to left, stealing 2nd despite being picked off, and advancing to 3rd on Minty’s slow roller to second baseman Flynn Shoop. Shoop’s desperate throw caused Trojan behemoth first baseman Aaron Davainis to prostrate his entire 6’5”, 275lb frame towards right field, and seemingly to remove his foot from the base, but the ump saw fit to call Minty out nonetheless.

Resnick responded on the next pitch with a single to score Solle, scoring himself following two more sharp hits by right fielder Tyler Sofnas and shortstop Danil Wells. 

 The Giants tacked on more runs in the 5th and 6th, highlighted by Sofnas’ double into the gap in left-center, and RBI singles from Solle and catcher Rory Coughlin. Center fielder Gavin Soper made it around as well, leading off the 6th with a seeing-eye grounder up the middle, stealing second, taking third on a wild pitch, then scoring on a wild pickoff attempt at first base.

Soper bedeviled the Trojans in the field as well, racing to his right in the bottom of the 3rd to sprawl out and rob shortstop Colton Delina of extra bases with a spectacular backhanded catch. And with two outs in the bottom of the 7th, and the daylight fading fast behind the Petaluma hills, it was Soper again charging in and diving to deny the burly Davainis of a hit, and sending the Trojans home for the day.

 Considering that – nine months earlier – it had been Devainis on the mound who had pitched a complete game and ended Redwood’s 2022 season by striking out the side, it felt to Giants fans at that moment as if some justice had been done. 

 With the win, Redwood moves to 4-0 on the year (0-0 MCAL), and will host the Casa Grande Gauchos (also from Petaluma) on Friday, before kicking off MCAL play next week at San Marin.

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