In what may have been their best all-around game of the year, the Redwood JV Baseball Giants shut out the Albany Cougars 5-0, on a sunny Thursday afternoon at Endriss Field. Starting pitcher Sam Sumski led the way for the Giants, not only with six strong innings on the mound, but reaching base all three times at bat, and cleaning up in the field as well. Much like a previous non-league visitor (the Livermore Pokes) Albany had been riding a seven-game winning streak before their journey to a rude reception in the North Bay.
Sumski started his heroics inauspiciously, as the Cougars punched a pair of singles in the top of the first, followed by a walk to left fielder Jonah Mapes, which loaded the bases with one out. But Sumski survived the early scare, getting second baseman Aaron Pixley to pop out to right fielder Wyatt Turkington, before retiring third baseman Max Eddy on a called strike three. It was to be the last threat Sumski faced for the day, as he settled in to scatter just three more hits and no further walks over the course of his outing.
Meanwhile, the Giants got onto the board in the bottom of the third. Left fielder Gavin Soper started things off by smashing an offering from Cougar pitcher Bennett Lee just fair down the right field line for a standup double. After Turkington drew a walk on four pitches, center fielder Jack Corvi ripped a line drive to Cougar shortstop Erik Kim for out number two. Kim had Turkington dead to rights at first, but his throw in the dirt eluded first baseman Sam Benyon. Benyon came up with the ball quickly, however, and his throw to the plate just missed Soper, who came charging in headfirst, scoring the game’s first run in a cloud of dust.
With Turkington now on second, Giants shortstop Quinn Miller followed with a grounder to Bixby, who booted it, putting runners at first and third, and bringing DH Tony Metaxas to the plate. Metaxas crushed a ball to left, where Mapes, playing deep, ranged back even further, but lost the ball in the sun and wind, letting it clank off of his glove for a long error, and scoring Turkington. Kim ran out to take the relay, as Miller raced around third and set his sights on home. Not to be bested by Soper, Miller launched his body towards the plate, extending fully and just under the arrival of Kim’s excellent throw. The Giants now stood on top 3-0.
In the bottom of the fourth, Cougar third baseman Max Eddy came in to pitch, trading places with Lee. Sensing distraction, Sumski topped a slow roller in Lee’s direction, and sure enough, Lee couldn’t make the play. First baseman Jordan Kimball grounded into a fielder’s choice, but stole second, and advanced to third on an opposite field single by Soper. Seeing Soper’s steal attempt draw a throw down to second from Cougar catcher Evan Carruba-Rice, Kimball broke for home, scoring handily, and making it 4-0.
Sumski provided another brief moment of excitement on the mound in the top of the sixth, as Cougar center fielder Teo Thompson blasted a line drive straight back up the middle, and directly into Sumski’s glove on the follow-through. Normally straight-faced, Sumski allowed himself a hint of a smile, as he realized what he had found, and also that his hand was still attached to his body.
Not content with the four-run lead, Sumski poked a single up the middle in the bottom of the sixth, moving all the way to third on a wild pickoff attempt. Kimball helped out once again, with a clean single to left field to send Sumski home, and round out the scoring at 5-0.
With Sumski’s pitch count at 87, second baseman Max Paul arrived in relief, trading places with Sumski in the field. Sumski was ready with the glove, handling the last three chances on the day, as the Cougars insisted on hitting Paul’s offerings to second base.
With the victory, the Giants move to 12-6 (7-1 MCAL), and a twelve-day hiatus for Spring Break. They return to league play on April 12 in San Anselmo, facing the group formerly known as the Drake Pirates, who now style themselves – say it with me – the “Archie Williams Peregrine Falcons.”