On April 8, the Redwood JV entered Spring Break by running its MCAL record to 6-1 with a thrilling 3-1 extra-inning win on the road against a feisty San Marin squad. Oliver Pearson pitched brilliantly, earning the win with 7 innings of 1 run ball, scattering 5 hits and whiffing 11 while only walking 2. The San Marin pitcher was almost as good, though the Redwood hitters were making loud contact, shutting out the Giants until the 6th inning, when Dane Goodman scored from second on a Noah Arrick single.
The large Redwood contingent that made the Friday afternoon trip to Novato were hopeful that one run would be sufficient, given Pearson’s dominating performance. However, San Marin would not quit and evened the score in the bottom half of the 6th on a 2-out single. The damage could have been worse, as the RBI single was followed by a walk and another single, but Redwood came up with a huge play when shortstop Riley Marsh tagged out the potential go-ahead run at the plate after a rundown.
Redwood threatened again in the top of the 7th, when San Marin to decided to load the bases, and put a potential insurance run in scoring position, by intentionally walking center fielder Goodman. Unfortunately, the strategy worked, as Noah Arrick, who had a nice day at the plate (2-4 with a double and an RBI), just got under one and lofted a harmless fly ball to right for the third out, stranding the go-ahead run.
In the bottom of the 7th, things looked dire for the boys from Larkspur. A pinch hit, lead-off double to left (the first Pearson pitch that San Marin had pulled all day) put the winning run on second with no outs. Everyone expected San Marin to bunt the runner to third to set up an easy walk off on a fly ball or a grounder through a drawn-in infield. But the grizzled Redwood coaching staff had other ideas. Dusting off a Dean Kristy travel ball play from the hard streets of Tiburon, Riley Marsh decoyed the runner on second to follow him toward third while second baseman Michael Connors sneaked in behind the runner. Person wheeled and threw a perfect pick off to second, erasing the likely winning run. It was a huge momentum shift; the Mustangs were visibly (and audibly) deflated. The next two hitters went quietly and the game headed for extra innings. In the top of the 8th, right fielder Drew Jacks smacked a huge 1-out triple. That was immediately followed by a double by Michael Connors, with Jacks jogging home with the go-ahead run. Connors was then plated by a Mackie Skall single, putting the Giants up 3-1. Blake Cusick came on in the bottom of the 8th to close out San Marin and earn the save by retiring all three batters he faced.
At the end of the day, Redwood had 3 runs on nine hits and logged their 9th win of the season. At the break, the Giants have the best record in MCAL play. However, as the late, great, Yogi Berra said, it ain’t over until the fat lady sings and the young Redwood squad has a lot of work to do to maintain its position at the top of the standings. Hopefully, the team will maintain its stellar pitching and solid defense and the bats will more consistently produce runs so the fans do not have to go through the stress of extra-inning and one-run games. Redwood’s next game is at Justin-Siena on April 19. See you there!