At home on Tuesday, April 26 against Novato, Redwood JV won its seventh game in a row; the last six of which have been decided by less than three runs. There were many déjà vu moments for the fans, including a nail-biting finish, strong pitching, contributions from many team members, key steals, and much advantage taken of the opposition’s mistakes.
The Giants came out of the gate looking strong, with starting pitcher Oliver Pearson and the Redwood defense shutting down the Hornet batters in the first two innings and Dane Goodman crushing the first Novato pitch of the game for a triple. Goodman then scored on a wild pitch. Mackie Skall started off the Giants’ effort in the second by working a walk. Josh Katz and Nick Paoli-Khadjenouri added singles and both came around to score with the help of stolen bases and Hornet errors.
Novato threatened in the third inning, scoring on a Redwood error. With a man on third and just one out, Pearson came through with two strikeouts to end the threat. In the home half of the inning, Redwood failed to capitalize on hits by Pearson and Drew Jacks and could not build on their 3-1 cushion.
James Thompson came on to pitch in the fourth inning and he quickly dispatched the first three batters he faced with two strikeouts and a fly-out. The Giants’ batters battled in the fourth, with Goodman reaching second on a single and a Hornet error. Noah Arrick then walked and took second base, while Goodman reached third, on a wild pitch. But the inning ended before either could score.
In the fifth inning, Novato tied the score 3-3. Defense on both sides prevailed until the bottom of the sixth, when Sean McKenna walked, Thompson advanced him with a sacrifice bunt and Michael Connors hit a ground ball moving McKenna to third. With the go-ahead run on third, two outs and Goodman (and his .480 batting average) at the plate, the Hornets chickened out and intentionally walked Goodman (his third intentional pass of the season). Goodman then promptly stole second base. McKenna scored on another wild pitch and Goodman scored when Noah Arrick singled. 5-3 Giants’ lead.
Novato rallied again in the top of the seventh, managing two more runs to tie things up. Jacks battled for a walk to start off the Giants, and advanced to second when Luke Zlatunich pulled back from a bunt when he recognized a ball. Jacks quickly sped on to third base when the Hornets overthrew second. With a full count and a the winning run 90 feet away, Zlatunich came through with a walk-off single to score Jacks and end the game with another heart-stopping Giants victory.
The team heads to Terra Linda this Friday, April 29, to keep its mojo going. Fans, come out and cheer but bring along that blood pressure medication, just in case!