5/09: After losing two of their three games last week and plummeting to fourth place, the Giants were victorious today against the 2017 Round-Robin MCAL Champion-Drake Pirates. After a rain-shortened victory earlier in the year, many felt that a true victor wasn’t decided in their first match-up as the game ended in the top of the seventh with the bases juiced for Drake, with no outs and the Pirates down by a run. Today, chances of rain were 0%, with the sun shining and barely a breeze blew while the crowd was entertained by a cleverly engineered playlist, before the first pitch and between innings, that included just about every ‘rain’ song ever recorded from “Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head” to “Purple Rain”.
Today Drake and Redwood would more than make up for the lost inning from the game before, as it took nine innings to determine a winner. Michael Benz earned the win, throwing 101 pitches in eight innings of work, giving up a run while walking none and striking out five. “It was a phenomenally well-pitched game when we needed it”‘ Head Coach Mike Firenzi said after the game.
Despite committing two errors in the field, the Giants defense came through, making plays when they needed to, and making big plays when they had to. Benz’s second pitch of his outing resulted in a line drive down the third base line. Luke Zlatunich leaped and snagged the liner for the first out of the inning. Benz also kept Anthony Pomilia busy at short, as Pomilia had seven chances resulting in six assists in the field. Benz, himself, made a diving play on a fisted slow roller that was hit to ‘no-man’s-land’ to his right, he bounced up and fired a strike to Nicolas Belgum at first for an out. Josh Cohen made the ‘Play of the Day’ in left field on a rope down the line. Cohen, in a full sprint, dove and snatched a certain triple for an out.
Genki LeClair walked to start the game and set the table for the Giants. After a quick double-play, Nicolas Belgum was hit by a 2-1 curveball and advanced to second on a passed ball. Anthony Pomilia plated Belgum on a single to right putting the Giants up 1-0, a lead they would hold until the third inning. Drake scored on a shallow sacrifice fly to right. Drake aggressively tagged from third and the throw beat the runner by ten steps but short-hopped catcher Mackie Skall and they knotted the game after the ball bounded off of his chest.
Drake starter Owen Hamilton was relieved by Nick Roth in the third. With the score 1-1, Roth and Benz battled for the next six innings, working out of some tough spots, with Roth tallying strike outs by offsetting his plus fastball with nasty curveballs, a pitch he threw confidently throughout the game and on 3-2 counts. Roth ended the game with eight strike outs.
In the top of the ninth, Redwood dampened the Pirates chances of winning as the Giants scored two runs against the current reigning MCAL Champions. Gregory Block lead off the inning with a single up the middle. Mackie Skall advanced Block and reached base on a sacrifice bunt to the pitcher that was thrown away. Josh Cohen was intentionally walked to load the bases and put the force at the plate in order. After a strike-out, Trevor Foehr sent Block home earning the game-winning RBI by wearing a 1-1 fastball, putting the Giants up 2-1 with one out. Anthony Pomilia took an outside fastball for ball four, plating Cohen, giving the Giants an insurance run.
With the Giants up 3-1, Trevor Foehr came in and closed out the game while keeping the tradition alive of working his shortstop as Pomilia was responsible for two of the outs in the inning, including the final out of the game.
The Giants out-hit Drake, tallying eleven hits to Drake’s six. Genki LeClair, Trevor Foehr, Nicolas Belgum and Gregory Block all had hits, with Aubrey Sine adding a double and Mackie Skall banging two doubles for Redwood. Anthony Pomilia had three hits and was responsible for plating two runs, tallying two RBI’s. Again, Benz earned the win with Foehr earning the save.
The Giants close out the regular season on the road at College of Marin against Branson on Thursday. With a 5-12 record Branson will be playing the spoiler role as they are out of the MCAL playoffs but could send the Giants into a tie with San Marin.
The playoff seeding will not be settled until after games are concluded on Thursday. Drake has earned the #1 seed, but the #2 will be determined as MC squares off against Tam with both teams sharing a 12-5 record. If Redwood wins, they will share a tie with MC or Tam and the MCAL tie-breaker will determine the #3 seed. The following determines the #3 seed according to the MCAL Tie-Break rules: For all spots except for the last spot: 1. Head to head competition (Winning percentage) 2. Record above the tie (Winning percentage) 3. If a tie still exists between any two places. …use numbers drawn for place*
Odds are that the record above the tie will determine the #3 seed and considering Redwood is 2-0 against Drake and split (1-1) with MC and Tam, a .750 winning percentage will be hard to beat. But no matter, they will need to win three games next week to win their third MCAL Championship in a row.