Primed for revenge after a heartbreaking 1-0 loss to Archie Williams, the Redwood Junior Varsity Baseball Giants took the home field a week later… and fell flat, committing six errors on the day against just two hits, and falling 8-2.
Pushed out four days from the original schedule by rainy weather, the game started in steady rain, eventually giving way to drizzle, and then a damp chill which seemed to take effect on the Redwood bats for most of the day.
Taking the mound for the Giants was Chas Veley, coming off a six-inning no-hit outing against these same Falcons the week before. But today was not destined to be a repeat performance. Although technically the Falcons did not collect a hit in the first inning, they pulled together two runs on a series of walks and errors, as Veley had trouble finding the plate.
The highlight of the inning was Jack Corvi’s diving, spinning catch of Falcon third baseman Hudson Lofrano’s popup to shallow center field. Corvi came sprinting through the mist, just as the rain was at its heaviest.
After the Giants went down quickly in the bottom of the first, Archie Williams took to the basepaths again, starting with a leadoff walk to Falcon second baseman Lucas Winter. Veley, looking increasingly uncomfortable on the mound, sandwiched a pair of wild pitches around a wild throw on Falcon right fielder Jackson Oliver Roa’s bunt attempt, firing the ball over first baseman Jordan Kimball’s head to score Winter, making it 3-0.
After two more walks and the Falcons’ first two hits of the game brought the score to 5-0, Veley, now in obvious pain, left the game mid-count with the bases loaded and Falcon shortstop Sam Black at the plate. Veley, suffering from back spasms, had thrown 68 pitches in just 1 1/3 innings.
Fortunately reliever Max Paul was on hand to get the Giants out of the inning without further damage, striking out Black before getting Falcon DH Henry Hanavan on a soft line drive to first base, where Kimball made a leaping play to retire the side. Paul wound up throwing 87 pitches over the remainder of the game.
The Giants did get a run back in the bottom of the inning, as Paul worked a leadoff walk and stole second, moving over to third on a single by Giants’ shortstop Sam Sumski. Left fielder Gavin Soper then rapped a hard ground ball which was too hot for Falcon first baseman Ethan Frankel to handle, scoring Paul, and making it 5-1. Sumski nearly scored on right fielder Harrison Lapic’s bunt attempt, but was thrown out at the plate, retiring the side.
In the top of the fourth, Paul and Sumski teamed up again, this time in the field. Falcon catcher Gillie Roth blasted a grounder straight back up the middle. Paul, trying to avoid a broken ankle, wound up kicking the ball towards Sumski, who kicked it once again before picking it up and throwing out Roth.
As the Redwood bats remained quiet through the middle innings, the Falcons strung together a pair of singles in the bottom of the fifth. Oliver Roa then smashed a ball to deep left field, out of Soper’s reach, scoring two and bringing the score to 7-0.
The Giants managed another run against Falcon starting pitcher Peter Irwin in the bottom of the sixth, as third baseman Quinn Miller walked, then took second and third on subsequent wild pitches. With two outs, DH Tony Metaxas walked and stole second, bringing Paul to the plate.
Paul’s soft chopper down the third base line couldn’t be played, bringing Miller across the plate, and Metaxas to third. It also represented the end of the line for Irwin, who had reached his limit of 90 pitches, giving way to the mellifluously-named Mason Thongnopneua in relief. Thongnopneua retired Sumski on a line drive to left field to close out the inning.
Jack Corvi provided some excitement in the top of the seventh, racing in for yet another diving catch in shallow center field, but the Falcons closed out their scoring on a walk and two more errors. The Giants went down in order in their last at-bats, making the final score 8-2.
The Giants, now 12-8 (7-3 MCAL), square off Friday in a non-league contest against the Pinole Valley Spartans from the East Bay, before closing out their season next week with a home and away series with Tam.