JV Drops Season Finale at Tam, 7-3

The Redwood JV Baseball Giants’ 2022 season ended on a muted note, as the Giants fell, 7-3, to a much-improved Tam High squad.  Having “mercied” the same group of Red-tailed Hawks three days prior, Redwood came into the game with high expectations.

The sun was shining, the winds were calm, the crowd was large – and an umpire even showed up five minutes before the game.  All the elements seemed to be in place for a thrilling contest.

In a surprise move, erstwhile outfielder Gavin Soper took the mound for the Giants. Soper began dealing heat right away, striking out the side in the bottom of the first..

Redwood drew first blood in the top of the second. Giants’ first baseman Jordan Kimball dropped a single into right field, then promptly stole second. Left fielder Wyatt Turkington then ripped a double through the right-center field gap, scoring Kimball. A wild pitch and two walks then loaded the bases for Superman DH Tony Metaxas, who had torn up the Hawks at the plate three days before.

Hawks’ starter Henry Simpson, having watched that performance, brought his kryptonite to the party, in the form of a curveball which Metaxas watched spinning by to retire the side, with the Giants up 1-0.

Soper’s second inning didn’t go quite as smoothly as the first, as four walks, a pair of singles and a wild pitch resulted in two runs for the Hawks. One bright spot: with runners at first and third, Hawks second baseman Cooper Kift broke for second base, but was gunned down by Giants’ catcher Ryan Ip, with a throw so good that it held the runner at third.

All of this resulted in quite a workload for Soper, who by the end of two innings had already thrown 69 pitches. Nevertheless, with Hawks’ shortstop Hugo Barbieri’s bases-loaded popup to Kimball, the Giants were out of the inning down only 2-1.

Soper helped himself right away in the top of the third, leading off with a blast over the head of Hawks’ right fielder Holden Bougie. Soper thought about three, with a big turn around second base, but settled for a long double. Giants’ second baseman Max Paul sent a scorching grounder over the bag at first, which was somehow handled by Bonneau for one out. Soper took third, then came racing in to score on a wild pitch, tying the game 2-2. Soper had time to waltz in standing up, but elected to go for the hyper-aggressive head-first slide, which was definitely a crowd-pleaser, even on the Tam field artificial turf.

After a walk to Giants’ shortstop Sam Sumski, Kimball watched two of those kryptonite curveballs go by, then lifted the third one to shallow right center. Hawks’ center fielder Gavan Smeltzer looked like he had no chance at the ball, but raced in, and with a full dive, got his glove under the ball as it landed, robbing Kimball of a hit, and sucking away the Giants’ momentum. The pesky Smeltzer continued to vex the Giants throughout the game, including on the very next play, chasing down Giants’ right fielder Harrison Lapic’s deep drive to center, to retire the side.

The bottom of the third was the end of the line for the Soper pitching experiment. With Bonneau leading off, Soper bounced a pitch so far in front of the plate that it bounced up and clocked the umpire in the ear, triggering a five-minute timeout for first aid to be applied.

Soper’s final pitch to Bonneau was a wild ball four. As Ip chased the ball to the backstop, Bonneau unexpectedly rounded first and raced towards second base.  The umpire hadn’t called time out, and the ball was live. Ip fired down to second, but no one was covering, as the middle infield seemed uncertain that such an advance was even legal. Alas, it was, and so Bonneau helped himself to third base while he was at it.

With this bit of Keystone Kops behind them, and the score still tied, the Giants hoped to turn the page. They brought Paul in to pitch, swapping Soper to second base (another position he had not played all year).

Paul got Hawks’ catcher Ben Miller to line out to center fielder Jack Corvi, but Corvi’s throw wasn’t in time to catch Bonneau, who was tagging at third.  Several fans remarked that Bonneau had left the base prior to the catch, but the ump hadn’t seen that, so when Ip carried the ball to third, his protest was denied, and the run counted, putting the Hawks ahead 3-2.

A hit, a hit batsman and a wild pitch put runners on second and third with one out, bringing Hawks’ backup right fielder CJ Ceral to the plate. Ceral hit a line drive which found its way under the glove of Soper, scoring both runners and bringing the score to 5-2.

But the Hawks weren’t done yet. The pesky Smeltzer grounded into what could have been a 6-4-3 double play, but beat out the throw to first, taking second on a wild pitch, and then third on a wild pickoff attempt.  With two outs, Hawks’ left fielder PJ Ceral (brother of right fielder CJ) topped a grounder over third base to close out the scoring for the inning at 6-2.

The Giants tried to formulate a rally in the bottom of the fifth, but the bounces just didn’t go their way.  Soper led off with a blast nearly to the fence in right field, but CJ Ceral was playing him just right, and put it away for out number one.

Paul followed by tomahawking a high fastball up the middle for a single, followed by Sumski’s own hard-hit ball – a single to right field. And when Kimball poked a soft liner just out of Kift’s reach into right field, the Giants found themselves with the bases loaded and only one out.  But the rally was not to be; for some reason, at that moment, the baseball gods turned their backs on Redwood.

Lapic’s soft liner curved towards Barberie’s shoetops, where he bent down and plucked the ball on the fly for out number two, bringing Turkington to the plate. Turkington, who had been hitting the ball well all game, smoked a line drive up the middle, raising the hopes of the Redwood contingent – hopes that were just as quickly dashed by the long arm of Barberie, reaching out behind second base to snatch the ball out of the air, and quash the Giants’ rally.

The Hawks tacked on a run in the bottom of the sixth, as 6’6” Reed Hanna, now in at first base, blasted a ball nearly over the fence in left center, scoring Hawks’ DH Jack Scalisi to make it 7-2. In retrospect, the Giants had saved another run on Scalisi’s grounder to Lapic, who caught the ever-pesky Smeltzer off the bag at third, and initiated a lengthy rundown involving four throws, until Ip finally applied the tag. For those of you scoring, the play went 5-2-6-2-5-2 (which is also Smeltzer’s locker combination).

Down five runs, the Giants made a last-gasp effort in the top of the seventh. With Hawks’ reliever Henry Stoll on the hill, Soper led off with a single to left field, followed by a walk to Paul. Sumski’s soft liner was handled by Kift, though, and when Kimball struck out in front of a slow curveball, the Giants were down to their last out.

A collective groan erupted when Lapic swung and missed at another curveball for strike three, but the groans became shouts when the ball skipped by Miller, and Lapic hustled to first base. The Giants were alive, and the bases were loaded! A subsequent walk to Turkington made the score 7-3.

Stoll,  now facing the tying run in Corvi at the top of the order, dished up a fastball that Corvi smashed to third base. But alas, Hawks’ third baseman Ryder Covey was there in front of it. Covey went to a knee to smother the ball, then picked it up, took two steps to the base for the force, and just like that, Redwood’s season was over.

The Giants closed out the year at 14-9 (8-4 MCAL). Max Paul led the team with a .407 batting average for the year, followed by Jack Corvi at .362, Sam Sumski at .339, Jordan Kimball at .333, and Quinn Miller at .321. Of course, no discussion of batting average can ignore Quinn Newlin  – off the charts at 1.000.

Paul and Lapic shared the team lead in RBIs with 14 apiece, followed by Chas Veley with 12.

In terms of pitching, Paul led the team in strikeouts with 35, followed by Veley with 28, and Cole Engstrom with 27.

The Redwood JV Baseball Giants journalistic staff wishes all players, families and coaches a beautiful, Covid-free summer, and looks forward to the resumption of play in 2023.

JV “Mercies” Tam in Five Innings, 14-4

In the penultimate game of the 2022 season, the Redwood JV Baseball Giants took to Endriss Field and dominated their cross-town rivals the Tamalpais Red-Tailed Hawks, 14-4, in five innings.

With a depleted pitching core (three starters out with illness or injury, and one just returned from Covid), and having lost their last two league games, the Giants’ prospects seemed iffy against a traditionally strong Tam High program. To make things worse, no umpires showed up for the game, forcing both teams to send a coach to the mound each inning to call their respective pitcher’s balls and strikes.

Redwood starting pitcher Max Paul added to the uncertainty in the top of the first, giving up two hits, hitting two batters, flinging a wild pitch, and generally not looking like his usual accurate self.

With two outs, one run in, and runners on second and third, a Paul inside fastball grazed the uniform of Hawks’ second baseman Cooper Kift. Kift started towards first, but was called back to the box by Redwood’s coach-cum-ump.s. As if to clarify the situation, Paul proceeded to snap a curveball directly into Kift’s back, sending him to first after all, and loading the bases.

With the early momentum clearly with the Hawks, and their shortstop Tito Fierstein at the plate, Paul decided to wheel towards second base for a dangerous pickoff attempt of Hawks’ catcher Jack Scalisi. Out of the corner of his eye, however, Paul spotted Hawks’ right fielder James Bonneau leaning a little too far off of third base. Paul pump-faked to second, drawing Bonneau even further off the bag, then turned and fired to Giants’ third baseman Harrison Lapic, who applied the tag on Bonneau, extricating the Giants from the inning with the score just 1-0.

The Giants evened things up in their half of the frame, as speedy center fielder Jack Corvi started things off with a single to right field off of starting Hawks’ pitcher Hugo Barberie. Corvi took a big turn at first, then stole second base at his earliest opportunity, proceeding to third on a Barberie wild pitch.  Shortstop Quinn Miller then drove Corvi in with a sharp grounder to Fierstein.

Giants’ DH Tony Metaxas followed by muscling a ball off of his fists, then watching as it sailed over the head of Hawks’ center fielder Gavan Smeltzer, giving Metaxas an easy double. If Metaxas had barreled up that pitch, it likely would have been the longest ball hit by the JV team at Endriss field this year. But alas, it went for naught, as Metaxas was called out stealing third base. Even though Hawks’ third baseman Ryder Covey clearly missed the tag, and Tam’s coach-cum-ump should have had a good angle on the play from his perch on the mound, he called Metaxas out. Metaxas stood on the base chatting with his third base coach Mike Blum about next steps for quite some time, before jogging back to the dugout in disbelief.

In the top of the second, the Hawks’ Smeltzer reached base on an excellent bunt, then stole second base. Giants’ catcher Ryan Ip got off a good throw, but Smeltzer clearly beat it; nevertheless, The Redwood coach/ump called Smeltzer out to end the inning. At this point, with the score still tied, the crowd began to worry that the game was going to devolve into a series of retaliatory tit-for-tat calls, and might in fact hinge on the lack of umpires.

Fortunately, Redwood began to pull away as the game went on, making those bad calls less and less relevant. 

The third base line played heavily into Redwood’s progress in the bottom of the second. With Barberie relying on a slow curveball, Paul smacked a single directly over the bag to lead things off. First baseman Jordan Kimball followed with his own single in exactly the same spot, sending Paul to second. By the time Giants’ right fielder Wyatt Turkington hit a dribbler just along the same line, the Hawks’ Covey had wised up, and begun playing just off the base, so snatched Turkington’s grounder in foul territory. Unbothered, Turkington raked a line drive into left field, straight through Covey’s normal spot, and sending Paul around third and steaming towards home. 

Hawk left fielder PJ Ceral’s throw home was wildly offline, and Paul came in to put Redwood ahead 2-1, a lead they would never relinquish.  Just for good measure, Corvi sent his own shot down the third base line (just foul), before walking to load the bases. Miller, though, didn’t get the third base memo, flying out to center field to end the threat.

Tam High staged their last serious threat in the top of the third. Ceral led off the inning with a wicked shot to right center which Corvi ran down handily. But after hitting two batters and walking another, and a wild pitch to boot, Paul had loaded the bases. Somehow, he bore down and got Hawks’ catcher Jack Scalisi on a borderline called strike three, bringing Kift to the plate.

With two outs, bases loaded, and tensions high, Kift launched a ball into deep left center, and it looked like big trouble for the Giants. As the myriad Hawk runners rounded the bases, Corvi and left fielder Gavin Soper each raced toward the flight of the ball, Corvi having to adjust his path due to the curvature of the fifty-foot fence which protrudes oddly into center field at Endriss.

As the ball descended, and just when all seemed lost, Corvi stormed within reach. Extending his left arm to the backhand, he plucked the ball out of the air in full stride, saving at least three runs (and possibly four). As Redwood erupted in cheers, the Tam bench was visibly shaken, and the Hawks seemed to go quiet for the rest of the game.

With the air effectively out of Tam’s tires, the Giants broke the game wide open in the bottom of the third.  The left-handed Soper, facing a defensive shift, slapped a single into the open spaciousness offered him in left field. Paul then helped himself with a rocket up the middle, before second baseman Sam Sumski slammed a pitch down the line in left, scoring Soper and waltzing into second base with a double. Kimball then worked a full count, fighting off four foul balls before walking to load the bases, which spelled an exit from the mount for Barberie, the score now 3-1.

Tam brought on first baseman Reed Hanna to pitch. Hanna, a gangly 6’6” freshman, proved to be a flamethrower, but a wild one, walking his first two batters, to make the score 5-1. And when Hanna next managed the ball over the plate, Corvi smacked it to left field for another run. Miller’s subsequent groundout to Kift scored yet another, making it 7-1.

After drilling Metaxas in the back to load the bases again, Hanna went on to walk in his third run of the inning before being yanked in favor of Covey, who swapped his spot with Hanna at third base.

With the score now 8-1, and Paul at the plate, Tam’s coach/ump appeared to be tired of calling balls against his own pitchers, and decided to expand the zone. Paul watched a couple of called “strikes” sail past well outside. Realizing what was going on, Paul responded by stretching his bat a foot beyond the plate to foul off Covey’s next outside pitch, then doing his best to reach the next one, sending a can of corn high into the air behind first base. New Hawks’ first baseman Henry Stoll twisted himself around trying to find the ball, before letting it drop behind him, scoring both Corvi and Metaxas.  Paul crossed first wearing a satisfied smile at the righteous turn of events.

With runners on first and third, Sumski scorched a ball to left, but Ceral was standing right there, and made the putout to close out the inning with the Giants up 10-1.

Moving to the top of the fourth, the Hawks didn’t quit. Stoll led off with a grounder deep in the hole. Miller made a terrific play on the ball, but his throw just missed Stoll at first by a hair. After a walk to Hawks’ DH Eli Solem, the weak-hitting Smeltzer stunned the crowd with a blast into left center out of Soper’s reach, rolling for a standup triple, two runs scored, and Paul’s exit from the game, now up 10-3.

Sumski, switched places with Paul and struck Ceral out looking on a curveball, then got Covey to ground to Miller for out number two, conceding run number 4.  Sumski then walked Berberie before retiring the side on Bonneau’s weak dribbler to Kimball.

The Giants tacked on two runs in the bottom of the fourth, with the highlight being Corvi’s perfectly-executed hit-and-run. With Kimball on third and Turkington on first, Kift ran to cover as Turkington broke for second on the pitch. Cool as a cucumber, Corvi slapped Covey’s offering through the exact spot Kift had vacated, scoring Kimball and sending Turkington to third.  A balk by Covey on a subsequent pickoff attempt scored Turkington, making the score 12-4.

The thrills didn’t stop in the top of the fifth either, as, with a man on, Stoll crushed a ball deep down the left field line. Soper, playing Stoll towards center, raced at least thirty yards across left field and threw his body over the foul line at a dead sprint, snatching the ball out of the air in full flight. The fans rose to their feet in disbelief, as this appeared to be a catch worthy of the all-time highlight reel. But when a small speck of white soon appeared on the grass beside Soper’s prone body, they realized that the force of Soper’s impact on the ground had jostled the ball loose from his glove, resulting in merely a long, exciting foul ball.

With runners on first and third and one out, Stoll broke for second. Ip’s throw to catch Stoll triggered Scalisi in turn to break for home. But Paul, now playing second base, cut off the throw and returned a perfect strike to Ip, who stood firm with the tag for out number two as his counterpart Scalisi attempted to bowl him over.  Solem’s long fly ball to center settled into Corvi’s glove at the base of the fence for what would be the Hawks’ final out of the game.

Needing two runs to build a ten-run lead and therefore put the game away, the Giants got to work in the bottom of the fifth. Soper drilled an absolute rope down the right field line for a standup triple. With the right field fence temporarily removed, the ball continued rolling well out of play, but the lack of umpiring made for a lack of ground rules, so Soper’s triple stood.

Paul followed with his own sizzling shot to first, but Stoll was in position for that one, and made the play for out number one. Sumski had better luck, though, slamming another ball over the left fielder’s head for his second standup double of the day, and scoring Soper.  One run to go.

Kimball fought off a pitch in on his fists, sending a weak grounder to the right side. Covey, Kift, and Stoll all converged on the ball, leaving no one to cover first, where Kimball strolled in like a boss, sending the potential winning run over to third in the form of Sumski.

With the Hawks’ infield in, Lapic poked a soft liner which dropped into shallow right field. Bonneau desperately heaved the ball towards the plate, but Sumski came sliding in just ahead of the throw, triggering the mercy rule, and ending the game at 14-4.

While Corvi and Paul led all hitters with three hits apiece, everyone on the Redwood side seemed hot at the plate this afternoon, with no fewer than six Giants tallying two RBI’s apiece.  Paul raised his team-leading batting average back to .400 (amongst batters with more than two plate appearances, ruling out Quinn Newlin’s otherworldly 1.000), with Corvi close behind at .395.

The Giants, now 14-8 on the year (8-3 MCAL), will close out their memorable season on Friday against these same Hawks on the road in Mill Valley.

JV Baseball Tops Pinole Valley, 8-1

The Redwood JV Baseball Giants snapped back from disappointing losses in their last two games, taking out their frustration on visiting non-league opponent the Pinole Valley Spartans. The Giants rested many regulars for the game, but the fresh faces in today’s lineup gelled together nicely, coming out on top 8-1.

Julian Kempler took the mound for Redwood, and looked like a new man, throwing 70% of his pitches for strikes, and holding the Spartans to just one walk and three hits over five shutout innings. Kempler started off the game nicely, with a 1-2-3 inning. 

Redwood got on the board in the bottom of the first, as shortstop Quinn Miller bashed a single on the first pitch he saw from Spartan starter Craig Jensen. Miller promptly stole second, then took third on a wild pitch, before right fielder Wyatt Turkington reached out to poke a single just inside the right field line, scoring Miller.

In the bottom of the third, Miller was back at it, slamming a shot over the center fielder’s head for a leadoff double. First baseman Jordan Kimball walked, while Miller was stealing third base, then immediately stole second himself.  Lapic brought the crowd to their feet with a line drive to left which landed just foul, before walking to load the bases.

Turkington lined a pitch, but right at Spartan right fielder Daniel Sheppard, so was unable to advance the runners. But left fielder Drew Song took an outside pitch the other way into left for his second hit of the game, scoring Miller.  Catcher Ryan Ip followed with his own single into left, bringing Kimball across, and making it 3-0.

With runners on 1st and 2nd, center fielder Theo Eschliman continued the Giants’ streak of hard contact, smashing a grounder down the third base line. Spartan third baseman Gael Castellanos dived to make a spectacular play, landing with his glove on the bag for out number two, before leaping to his feet and firing across the diamond. The throw would have been in time, but went wild, allowing Eschliman to reach safely, and scoring Song to make it 4-0. Kempler (obviously eager to get back on the mound) then grounded out to shortstop to end the inning. 

In the top of the fourth, Spartan shortstop Junior Malan led off by crushing a ball to center field for a standup double, but was unable to advance. Following a walk and a strikeout, Spartan DH Dennis Rae lined a ball to Giants’ second baseman Elakai Anela, who grabbed it and wheeled to second, doubling off Malan to end the inning.

The Giants didn’t let up in their half of the inning, putting two more runs on the board. Anela led off by taking a fastball in the back, before Miller rapped his third hit of the game. Both runners advanced on a wild pitch, before Lapic scored Anela with a long sacrifice fly to left field. Miller scored soon thereafter on another wild pitch, bringing the score to 6-0.

In the top of the fifth, Anela charged a weak grounder by Spartan second baseman Mario Lopez, throwing it away and allowing Lopez to advance to second. This all seemed to be a setup, however, as Spartan center fielder Jaylen Smalls lined another ball to Anela, who snagged it and turned what looked to be an instant replay from the previous inning, doubling off Lopez at second base to retire the side.

Max Paul came in to close out the last two innings, holding the Spartans to one run on two hits. Meanwhile, the Giants still had a few tricks up their collective sleeve, as they came to bat in the bottom of the sixth. Lapic led off and was plunked, bringing substitute right fielder Danny Lim to the plate.

Lim hit the ball sharply off the glove of Castellanos, who was now in to pitch. Jensen, now at third base, pounced on the carom, but threw it away at first, allowing Lapic to score, while Lim continued all the way around to third base. Song followed with his third hit of the game, scoring a joyous Lim, who made his way triumphantly into the Giant dugout, the score now 8-1.

Quinn Newlin, who had come in to play center field, followed with a sharp single to left field, making him a perfect two for two on the year. Newlin, who joined the team as a scorekeeper after last playing baseball in third grade, maintained his world-record 1.000 batting average, never having been put out in the last seven years!

Down to their last at-bats, the Spartans managed to load the bases on two walks and a hit batsman, bringing Castellanos to the plate.  A palpable gasp of hope arose from the Spartan fans as Castellanos lifted a ball to deep right field. Danny Lim, who hadn’t yet handled a chance in the field this year, took a few steps back, blinked once or twice, then raised up his glove to make the play and end the game.

With the win, the Giants move to 13-8 on the year (7-3 MCAL). They close out their season next week with two games against Tam, hosting the Red-tailed Hawks on Tuesday, before traveling to Mill Valley on Friday for the season finale.

JV Baseball Drops Rubber Match with Archie

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.

JV no-hits Archie, but loses 1-0

The Redwood JV Baseball Giants lost a heartbreaker of a game Tuesday to the Archie Williams Peregrine Falcons, despite the heroic efforts of Giants’ pitcher Chas Veley, who threw a no-hitter over six innings for the second time this year. The final score was 1-0.

Veley, returning from a two-week hiatus for a back injury, re-emerged stronger than ever,  in a scintillating pitchers’ duel with Archie Williams’s Sam Black. Veley struck out ten batters to Black’s seven, and walked only one to Black’s two.  Both pitchers went the distance, as there was no reason for either coach to make a move.

Both teams played outstanding defense throughout most of the game. In the bottom of the third, Falcon second baseman Jack Evans’s high chopper over Veley’s head looked like it could be trouble, but Giants’ shortstop Sam Sumski charged across the diamond to make the play.

In the top of the fourth, Veley tried to help himself with a single up the middle, but Giants’ second baseman Max Paul’s sharp grounder was expertly handled by Falcon shortstop Luke Winter, who turned it into a 6-4-3 double play. Paul, in response, handled all three chances in the bottom of the fourth, which was the only inning of the first five in which Veley did not strike out at least two Falcons.

Redwood managed more contact than the Falcons on the day, with fewer strikeouts and three singles, but were unable to advance past second base. In contrast, the Falcons never even hit the ball out of the infield, yet somehow managed to push a runner across the plate, in a maddening series of events which one might summarize as “The World’s Most Unearned Run.”

With the game locked in a scoreless tie after 5 ½ innings, Winter, who had been DH’ed for the entire game, arrived at bat for the first time of the day.  Veley delivered a fastball right down the middle of the plate, which was called just high.

Veley, slightly rattled by the call, proceeded to plunk Winter in the back of the helmet on the next pitch. Fortunately, Winter was ok, but the Falcons now had the potential go-ahead run on base.  With the crowd noise rising, Veley responded by picking off Winter, who was frozen so far off of first base that he had no choice but to run towards second, where he looked to be out by a mile.

Alas, it was not meant to be. Giants’ first baseman Jordan Kimball’s throw down to second hit Winter squarely in the back, allowing him into scoring position.  With this development, a small group of Falcon students who had been chanting behind the plate became so obstreperous that they had to be warned by the umpire, and threatened with expulsion from the grounds.

The crowd noise did nothing to improve the Falcons’ hitting against Veley, who bore down and struck out Falcons’ second baseman Jack Evans for out number one, bringing leadoff hitter and Falcon center fielder Max Lefferts to the plate.

Lefferts, who had struck out looking in his first two at-bats, managed a comebacker to Veley. Veley turned and ran at Winter, who had made a break to third, and again looked to be out by a substantial margin. But sadly, Veley’s toss to third baseman Quinn Miller sailed high, tapping off of Miller’s glove and allowing Winter to race around third and score the go-ahead run.  Lefferts took second on the play.

With one out, Falcon third baseman Hudson Lofrano tapped another comebacker to Veley, who this time decided to take the safe route, keeping it himself and tagging Lofrano along the basepath for out number two, while allowing Lefferts to take third.

With Falcon right fielder Jackson Oliver Roa at the plate, Veley uncorked a pitch which got past Giants’ catcher Ryan Ip, prompting Lefferts to break for home. Ip scrambled to recover the ball at the backstop, turning and throwing to Veley, who was racing in to cover the plate. In a dramatically close play, Veley’s tag on Lefferts arrived just in time, retiring the side and preventing another unearned Falcon run.

But the damage had been done. Leading off the top of the seventh, Paul, the only Giant who hit Black well all day, raised a stir with a line drive to center field, but Lefferts was there to make the play.  And after Sumski and Kimball went down swinging, reality sunk in that there were to be no more chances. Redwood had fallen, and now stood 12-7 on the year (7-2 MCAL).

The Giants get another chance at home against the Falcons, when the two teams square off again Thursday at Moody Field. Next week, the Giants travel to Livermore on Monday, before hosting the Spartans of Pinole Valley later in the week.

JV Baseball Giants stifle Albany, 5-0

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.”

JV Baseball Giants drop another to Cardinal Newman, 7-2

The Redwood JV Baseball Giants returned home Wednesday for the rubber match of a two-game series against the Cardinal Newman Cardinals of Santa Rosa. Having lost the first game 5-2 with many fresh faces in the lineup, the Giants returned most of their starters to the field – unfortunately with a similar result – falling 7-2.

The Cardinals got on the scoreboard right away. In the top of the first, starting pitcher Cole Engstrom plunked Cardinal center fielder Tanner Bradley, who promptly stole second, advancing to third on a passed ball.  Shortstop Carson Meyer knocked him in with a single to right, making it 1-0.

After Cardinal pitcher Jacob Morena flared a single just inside the right field line, Engstrom hit third baseman Anthony Gonzalez to load the bases.  When Engstrom hit his third batter of the inning (first baseman Mason Farrell) forcing in a run with just one out, fans were checking the skies for locusts or other signs of the apocalypse. But just like that, Cardinal left fielder Isaac Phelps lined a drive to second baseman Max Paul’s glove side. Paul made the play and quickly doubled up Farrell at first, pulling Engstrom and the Giants out of the inning.

Center fielder Jack Corvi started things off for the Giants with a bang, rapping a standup double into the gap in left center, then taking third on a grounder to Meyer by third baseman Quinn Miller.  With the infield in, Corvi made a break for home on a grounder to second baseman Aiden Wedge, but Wedge gunned him down to keep the Giants off the board.

The Cardinals struck again in the top of the second, as Wedge led off by slapping a single over Miller’s head. Wedge then took off running as Cardinal right fielder Jack Pezzollo laid down a textbook bunt to the third base side. Miller raced in to make the play at first, vacating third, which became Wedge’s next target on the basepaths.

Giants’ catcher Ryan Ip hustled up the line to cover third, but first baseman Jordan Kimball threw the ball past him. Left fielder Gavin Soper’s backup throw from the fence in foul ground was not in time at the plate, scoring Wedge and making it 3-0.

After another walk and stolen base put runners on second and third with one out, Engstrom settled down, making Meyer look silly on a wicked curveball. Shortstop Sam Sumski then picked a Morena line drive up off of his shoetops for out number three.

The Giants broke through in their half of the second, as Paul hit a bomb over the head of Phelps, who kicked it around, letting Paul roll into third with no outs. Paul scored when Sumski floated a single into left field, dropping the ball just in front of Phelps.  Sumski and the Giants were robbed, however, when Kimball’s sharp grounder to third was snagged by Gonzalez, who threw wide to Wedge at second. Despite Wedge being at least a foot off the base when handling the throw, the ump called Sumski out, stalling the Giants’ momentum, and holding the score 3-1.

After a welcome 1-2-3 inning by Engstrom, the Giants added another run in the third when Miller’s sharp grounder sizzled under Gonzalez’s glove and off his foot, scoring Corvi and making it 3-2.

In the top of the fourth, Engstrom got two quick outs, but then walked Pezzollo and Bradley, bringing Meyer up to the plate. Meyer bashed a ball through the gap in left center, all the way to the fence, scoring two and making it 5-2.  But when the dust settled and Meyer stood on second, Engstrom raised some eyebrows by tossing the ball from the mound over to Miller at third. To the surprise of many in attendance, the ump raised his right fist for out number three.  Apparently, Bradley had never touched third base while racing around to score, and the sharp-eyed Giants’ challenge was upheld, stripping a run off the board, and keeping the game within reach at 4-2.

The bottom of the fifth was highlighted by the Ryan Ip fan club, a merry handful of student spectators who celebrated Ip’s every move of the day. When Ip blooped a ball just between Moreno and Wedge, and Wedge skipped the ball past Farrell, allowing Ip to race to second, the fan club went wild, only briefly lowering their enthusiasm when Ip was almost immediately picked off.

Sumski came in to pitch for the Giants in the sixth inning, quickly walking his first two batters. Things looked up when Pezzollo lined into an instant replay of Max Paul’s double play in the first, with Paul turning it equally proficiently the second time around.  However, Bradley didn’t get the memo, lifting a monster shot to dead center, all the way over the fence and onto the Redwood track. Corvi could only turn and watch as the ball came to rest near the soccer goal, sending the Cardinals up 6-2.

Redwood fought back in their half of the sixth, hitting the ball hard, and putting runners on first and second, but the Cardinals always seemed to make a play to keep the Giants from scoring. The Ip Fan Club held their collective breath as their hero skied a popup to the right side.  Farrell staggered around, trying to keep a bead on it, and at the last second, lurched and threw out his glove to make the play, retiring the side.

The Cardinals proceeded to tack on another run in the seventh, sweeping the season series, and bringing the Giants to 11-6 on the year (7-1 MCAL). The streaky Giants, now dropping three of four following a seven-game win streak, will come back tomorrow to host the Albany Cougars in another non-league contest.

Redwood JV drops first Cardinal Newman matchup, 5-2

The Redwood JV Baseball Giants traveled to Santa Rosa on a beautiful Saturday morning, and handed their hosts the Cardinal Newman Cardinals a 5-2 win, with four of those Cardinal runs unearned. 

Resting several starters following a hard-fought victory over Marin Catholic the previous afternoon, the Giants put forth some new looks, with mixed results.

Julian Kempler drew the starting assignment for Redwood, seeing his first pitching action of the year, and allowed only four hits over three and two-thirds innings, but struggled with his control throughout, issuing eight walks and hitting three batters, while tossing two wild pitches.

Meanwhile, starting Cardinal pitcher Tanner Bradley was on a tear, striking out nine Giants and walking none over four innings, while limiting Redwood to three hits and no runs.

Third baseman Quinn Miller stepped up for the Giants on the day, delivering three hits and an RBI, as well as several sparkling defensive plays at the hot corner.

The tone for Saturday’s contest was set from the start, with the visiting Giants sandwiching a Miller single between two strikeouts, coming up empty when Cardinal third baseman Anthony Gonzalez made a fine play on Sam Sumski’s grounder down the line, nipping Sumski at first with a long throw.

In the Cardinal half of the frame, Kempler rung up two quick outs. Leadoff hitter Bradley crushed Kempler’s first pitch right at Miller, who didn’t even move his feet to corral the rocket. But four walks and a wild pitch later, it was a blessing to escape the inning just one run down, as Jack Corvi tracked down Cardinal right fielder Jack Pezzollo’s bases-loaded fly ball to center.

In the bottom of the second, Miller provided the fans with a memorable sequence to save another run or more. With runners on first and second and one out, Cardinal shortstop Carson Meyer ripped a ball down the third base line.  Miller stepped across his body and dived for the ball, snagging it just inside the line, before hopping up to step on third for the force.

Cardinal second baseman Jacob Morena followed with a looping popup down the left field line, sending Miller back into foul territory for a racing, backhanded grab to retire the side. Miller topped it off the next inning with a single roped just over the head of his counterpart Gonzalez, leading one to wonder if Miller would have made that same play in Gonzalez’s shoes.

The Cardinals added three runs in their half of the third, on three hits, two walks and a hit batsman, leaving the bases loaded again as Giants second baseman Elakai Anela scooped up a grounder from his Cardinal counterpart Jacob Morena, tossing to first for out number three. Anela handled several chances over the course of the game, in his first start of the year.

With the score 5-0 in the bottom of the fifth, the Giants sent outfielder Drew Song to the mound for his first action of the year. Song, featuring an artistic mid-windup toe point, proved surprisingly effective, holding the Cardinals hitless and fanning three over the final two innings.

Meanwhile, the Giants were finally able to break through against Cardinal pitching, as Tanner gave way on the hill to southpaw Pezzolli. In the sixth, Sumski fought off a pitch in on his wrists for a flare to right field, following up Miller’s third hit of the game, and putting runners on first and second with one out.

But it wasn’t until the seventh inning that Redwood made it onto the board. In the feel-good story of the day, erstwhile Giants’ scorekeeper Quinn Newlin led off the inning, striding to the plate for his first at-bat in several years against live pitching – allegedly since third grade!  And after whiffing on Pezzolli’s first two offerings, lo and behold, Newlin spanked a high fastball into the gap in right center for a double – the Giants’ only extra-base hit of the game.

Kempler, now having moved over to first base, followed with a walk, putting runners on first and second with no out, and bringing Tony Metaxas, another new face, to the plate.

Metaxas ripped the first pitch he saw into left field, just over the outstretched glove of Meyer, scoring Newlin, and bringing Kempler to third. Miller, trying for his fourth hit of the game, had to settle for an RBI grounder to Meyer at short, finishing the scoring for the Giants.

Following an outstanding day for Redwood baseball players named Quinn, Newlin now shares the team lead in batting average with Metaxas, both with a perfect 1.000.

Redwood, now 11-5 (7-1 MCAL), will now rest up until facing these same Cardinals again at home on Wednesday, before hosting the Albany Cougars in yet another non-league contest on Thursday.

Redwood JV Baseball gains revenge at MC

Friday Mar 25 – Bishop Thomas A. Daly Field

Redwood Giants @ Marin Catholic (Kentfield) Wildcats

Starting Time: 4:30PM

Starting Temp: 68°F Sunny

Final Score: 1-0 Redwood 

Starting pitcher Chas Veley spun six innings of no-hit ball, and the Redwood JV Baseball Giants hung on for a 1-0 win over the Marin Catholic Wildcats on a sunny Friday afternoon in Kentfield.

With the Wildcats threatening in the bottom of the seventh, Cole Engstrom arrived on the mound and slammed the door on them, bringing solace to a Giants team which – three days before – had fallen to the Wildcats in an extra-innings nail-biter, squandering numerous scoring opportunities towards their first loss in ten games. 

On Friday, Redwood managed an early run which stood up the entire game, as both pitchers turned in stellar outings. Wildcat Gavin Simurdiak tossed a complete-game two-hitter, issuing only one walk and fanning four on the day.

In the top of the second, Simurdiak doled out his only free pass of the day to Giants’ left fielder Gavin Soper, who took full advantage of the gift. Soper advanced to second on a wild pitch, then stole third as Wildcat catcher Grady Krause threw behind him to second base. Soper appeared picked off, but stayed alive when his slide at third kicked the ball loose from Wildcat third baseman Brody Ransom’s waiting tag.

With two outs, Sam Sumski worked the count full, before delivering a clutch line drive to deep center field.  Wildcat Bennett Hadd was playing Sumski well, but started in on the ball, misjudging the carry, and was forced to turn tail as the ball sailed over his head, scoring Soper and allowing Sumski into third with an easy triple.

The middle innings raced along, as both pitchers settled in, and both teams played error-free defense. Chas Veley’s single up the middle was the only hit by either team until the bottom of the seventh.

Down to their last two outs, the Wildcats finally reached Veley, and stirred up the makings of a rally. First baseman Grant Cooper slapped a single to left – Marin Catholic’s first hit of the game – and went on to steal second.  When Wildcat left fielder Toby Richards lined a Veley fastball into right-center, only an outstanding play by Redwood center fielder Jack Corvi prevented Cooper from racing home with the tying run, as Corvi delivered a bullet home on the fly, just up the third base side, which would have meant certain doom for Cooper’s scoring hopes.  

With runners on second and third now, and still only one out, tension was mounting, and the raucous chatter on the Wildcat home side grew louder to greet relief pitcher Cole Engstrom. When Redwood coaches decided to intentionally walk shortstop Carson Davis to load the bases, goose bumps were flaring among fans on both sides.

Engstrom however, would have none of it – blowing three straight fastballs pastthe pinch hitter Noah DiRienzo for out number two, then two straight past Wildcat catcher Grady Krause.  With two outs, two strikes, the bases loaded and up by a single run, Engstrom then snapped off a curveball that froze Krause solid at the plate for out number three, and the shutout win.  

The Giants, now 11-4 on the year (7-1 MCAL), travel to Santa Rosa to take on Cardinal Newman in the first of a two-game set, returning to host the Cardinals in Larkspur on Wednesday.

Redwood Giants JV Falls to Marin Catholic Wildcats JV After Eighth Inning Score

3/22:

Redwood Giants JV lost the lead late in a 4-3 defeat to Marin Catholic Wildcats JV on Tuesday.  The game was tied at three with Marin Catholic Wildcats JV batting in the top of the eighth when Gaetano Polizzotti’s sac fly scored one run for Marin Catholic Wildcats JV.

The Redwood Giants  lost despite out-hitting the Marin Catholic Wildcats 12 to eight.

Redwood Giants JV opened up scoring in the first inning when Chas Veley grounded into a double play, but still managed to score one run.

In the bottom of the fifth inning, Redwood Giants JV tied things up at three.  Harrison Lapic singled on a 3-2 count, scoring one run.

Grady Krause was on the mound for Marin Catholic Wildcats JV. The hurler lasted four innings, allowing six hits and three runs while striking out one.

Max Paul toed the rubber for Redwood Giants JV. The bulldog allowed six hits and three runs over three innings, striking out one and walking zero.  Cole Engstrom and Sam Sumski entered the game from the bullpen, throwing four and a third innings and two-thirds of an inning respectively.

Redwood Giants JV racked up 12 hits.  Veley, Engstrom, J Corvi, and Quinn Miller each racked up multiple hits for Redwood Giants JV.  Veley led Redwood Giants JV with three hits in five at bats.

Marin Catholic Wildcats JV racked up eight hits on the day.  Gavin Simurdiak and Polizzotti each collected multiple hits for the Marin Catholic Wildcats.

Redwood Giants JV’s Early Lead Over San Rafael Junior Varsity Bulldogs Sets Stage For Victory

3/18:  An early lead helped Redwood Giants JV defeat San Rafael Junior Varsity Bulldogs 13-2 on Friday.

Redwood Giants JV secured the victory thanks to seven runs in the sixth inning.  J Corvi, Eschliman Theo, Wyatt Turkington, Elakai Anela, and Cole Engstrom all drove in runs in the frame.

Redwood Giants JV tallied seven runs in the sixth inning.  Corvi, Theo, Turkington, Anela, and Engstrom powered the big inning with RBIs.

Max Paul led things off on the mound for Redwood Giants JV. The hurler went one inning, allowing one run on three hits, striking out one and walking zero.

Gio Brovelli started the game for San Rafael Junior Varsity Bulldogs. The lefthander lasted five innings, allowing six hits and six runs while striking out six and walking one.  Quinn Madden threw two-thirds of an inning in relief out of the bullpen.

Redwood Giants JV racked up nine hits on the day.  Corvi and Quinn Miller all managed multiple hits for Redwood Giants JV.  Miller and Corvi each managed two hits to lead Redwood Giants JV.  Redwood Giants JV didn’t commit a single error in the field. Ryan Ip had  four chances in the field, the most on the team.

AJ Mazurette led San Rafael Junior Varsity Bulldogs with two hits in three at bats.

Redwood JV hands Livermore Pokes their first loss of the year – 12-2

Redwood’s JV Baseball Giants racked up yet another impressive win on Thursday afternoon, thumping the visiting Livermore Pokes 12-2 over five innings. Livermore came into the contest undefeated at 6-0, never having scored fewer than six runs in a game on the season so far.

Starting pitcher Chas Veley allowed just one hit over four innings, relying on a stout, error-free Redwood defense to hold the Pokes scoreless. Six Redwood batters combined for eight hits on the day, as the Giants also took advantage of four Livermore errors.

The Pokes made some noise in the top of the first. Center fielder Blake Bystrom powered a ball into the gap in right center, only to see Giants’ right fielder Cole Engstrom dash onto the scene for a fine running catch. After a walk to shortstop Andrew Navarro, Pokes’ first baseman Dominic Shepherd sizzled a shot down to first base, kicking off of Giants’ first baseman Jordan Kimball’s glove, and rolling towards opportunistic second baseman Max Paul, who gathered it up and tossed back to Kimball for the second out of the inning. 

Navarro advanced to second base on the play, but was promptly picked off on a spin move by Veley, and remained on the ground for an extra few seconds after the tag, seemingly disconsolate, with his outstretched hand resting on the ground a good nine inches short of the bag.

Redwood wasted no time getting things started in their half of the first. Leadoff hitter Jack Corvi sent a pitch from Livermore southpaw Nicolai Mirra high into center field, where Bystrom whiffed on the catch, putting Corvi on base.  Corvi, as he tends to do, immediately stole second.

Giants’ second baseman Max Paul tapped a dying chopper up the first base line, running right past Shepherd, who had come in to attempt the play, and setting up runners at first and third with no out. Third baseman Harrison Lapic followed with a rocket up the middle which sent Mirra diving for his life, and scoring Corvi to put Redwood on the board.

After a dribbler to third by Veley advanced the runners to second and third, left fielder Gavin Soper smacked a single to right over Shepherd’s head, scoring both Paul and Lapic, and making the score 3-0.

Redwood continued hitting the ball hard in the inning.  After Soper stole second, Second baseman Sam Sumski scorched a liner to Navarro’s glove side. Navarro snagged the ball and chased Soper back to second, making it two outs, and bringing catcher Kyle Brooks to the plate.

Brooks, called up from the Freshman team on the day  to replace the injured Ryan Ip, watched Soper steal third, then smacked a ball off of Pokes’ third baseman Braden McRae’s glove, which looked certain to score Soper.  Unfortunately for the Giants, though, the stealthy Navarro had moved over and was able to pounce on the ricochet, throwing Brooks out by half a step, and retiring the side.

In the top of the second, a hit batsman and a walk led to runners on first and second with one out.  McRae ripped Veley’s offering on the ground to third, but Lapic made it look easy, stepping on third for the force, and firing across the diamond for the 5-3 double play to end the inning.

Redwood caught a few breaks to add two more runs in the bottom of the second. Kimball singled to centered, but then looked to be out stealing second, as he ran into the tag instead of sliding under it; the umpire called him safe anyway. Engstrom’s sinking liner was robbed by left fielder Will Fuller’s diving shoestring catch, but Fuller must have been shaken up on the play, as the next batter Jack Corvi lofted a much easier ball out to left center, which Fuller sized up, and let clank off of his glove for an E-7, scoring Kimball to make it 4-0. It was Corvi’s second routine fly ball off of a fielders glove in two appearances on the day.

With Corvi on second, Paul walked, and then the two of them took turns stealing bases to bring up Lapic with men on second and third and one out. Lapic’s sharp grounder to Navarro was enough to score Corvi, making it 5-0.

Redwood added four more in the bottom of the third, highlighted by a bases-loaded single into left field by Kimball, scoring two and bringing the score to 7-0. Engstrom and Paul also batted in runs in the inning.

With the score still 9-0 heading into the fifth, Redwood brought in Wyatt Turkington to pitch.  They hoped to stop the Pokes quickly, and follow with another run to bring the score to 10-0, which would invoke the ‘mercy rule’ and end the game.

However, the Giants were forced to wait a hot minute, as Turkington plunked his first batter in the back of the helmet (fortunately not hurt), then mixing a strikeout with a single and firing a wild pitch to put runners on second and third with one out. Livermore right fielder Grant Scharnhorst then drove a ball deep into the left field corner, scoring the runners and rolling into second base with a stand-up double, making the score 9-2.

Fortunately, Turkington recovered, snagging a comeback line drive, and nearly doubling up Scharnhorst at second for out number two.  The Pokes’ best hitter Navarro then worked Turkington to a full count, fouling off three more pitches before smashing a grounder to third, which Lapic handled deftly, with a strong throw to retire the side.

The Giants were able to put the game away in their half of the fifth, as Scharnhorst came in to pitch for Livermore, and walked his first four batters to make the score 10-2. After Sumski slapped a single up the middle to score Elakai Anela and make it 11-2, young Danny Lim came to the plate with one out and the bases loaded.

Lim’s chopper to first was handled by Shepherd, who applied the tag, but meanwhile, Lapic was scoring the Giants’ 12th run, which triggered the ‘Mercy Rule,’ with Lim credited with the game-winning RBI.

The Giants, now 7-3 on the year (3-0 MCAL), are riding a 6-game winning streak, during which time they have outscored their opponents 63-4. Redwood returns tomorrow to host the young Terra Linda squad they blew out on Tuesday, before starting a home and away series with the San Rafael HS Bulldogs next week.

Redwood JV Baseball Giants Top Terra Linda 13-0

Redwood bats finally showed up – early and often – as the JV Baseball Giants shellacked the host Terra Linda Trojans 13-0, over five innings on a sunny Tuesday afternoon in San Rafael.  Center fielder Jack Corvi led the way for the Giants with four hits in four at-bats, including two triples and four RBIs, while starting pitcher Sam Sumski held the Trojans to four hits over four innings.

Redwood’s defense continued to shine, with just one error on the day to the Trojans’ seven.  Redwood’s thirteen runs came on eleven hits by eight different batters, a welcome sign of depth in the Giants’ lineup after some sparse showings recently.

Corvi got things going in the first, beating out a grounder to Trojan shortstop Nate Combrink, and advancing to second on a wild pickoff attempt. Giants shortstop Quinn Miller followed with a single to right-center, moving Corvi to third. With one out, catcher Chas Veley proceeded to drive them both in with a soaring fly ball over the head of Trojan center fielder Eli Larsen, whose throw was too late to catch Veley sliding head-first into third base.  Left fielder Gavin Soper then scored Veley with a grounder off his fists to second baseman Brody Dagemais, bringing the score to 3-0.

The Trojans briefly threatened in their half of the first, with starting pitcher Hayden Biesiadecki blasting a two-out double off of the fence in right center. First baseman Ben Butler followed with a single up the middle, but Corvi’s strong throw and Sumski’s relay combined to nail Biesiadecki at the plate, with Veley applying the tag in plenty of time to retire the side.

In the top of the second, Corvi struck again. With runners on second and third, the Redwood center fielder drilled a ball through the gap in left-center, sliding into third to make the score 5-0. Miller’s subsequent  fly ball to center glanced off of the center fielders glove, scoring Corvi, with Miller advancing to second on the throw home.  Biesiadecki then sent Miller to third on a wild pitch, before firing the very next pitch in the dirt past his catcher Oliver Doxon, causing an eager Miller to start towards the plate. Doxon recovered the ball quickly and flipped to Biesiadecki, but Miller, now steaming down the line, was not turning back, and somehow slid in under the tag, bringing the score to 7-0.

In the top of the third, Giants’ left fielder Wyatt Turkington singled under the fielders glove, scoring when Corvi smoked yet another ball through the gap in left-center. Corvi rolled into third with a standup triple – his second of the day – making it 8-0.

The Trojans had their best chance in the bottom of the third. Right fielder Cal Albrecht started off the inning by blooping a single over the head of third baseman Harrison Lapic. Davis followed with what looked to be a double-play ball to short, but instead resulted in an error, leaving runners at first and second. Combrink followed with a sharp grounder up the middle, offering the shortstop redemption, as the nimble shortstop dived to his left to smother the ball, quickly hopping up and firing to first for the first out of the inning.

A walk to Biesiadecki loaded the bases, bringing first baseman Ben Butler to the plate. Butler ripped a liner to center, but Corvi ran in to make the catch, leisurely waiting to lob the ball to first baseman Jordan Kimball, who – ambling back to the bag from his cutoff position – doubling up the wandering baserunner to retire the side.

Redwood batted around in the top of the fifth inning, layering on five additional runs to top off their scoring for the day. The frame was highlighted by contributions from a mix of regulars and some fresh Redwood faces. Julian Kempler got things going with a sharp single to left, followed by an RBI single by Theo Eschliman, scoring Sumski, who had reached on Davis’s fifth error of the game. Kempler scored on Corvi’s fourth hit of the day, a line drive single to left. Corvi, freshly arrived from the Redwood soccer team, now leads all Redwood hitters with an average of .571.

Substitute right fielder Danny Lim reached base for the first time this year, credited with an RBI upon being hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. And soon thereafter, Elakai Anela lined a ball up the middle for a single, driving in Miller. Anela now stands as the third-leading hitter on the team at .333, boasting the one hit for his three at-bats on the year.

Cole Engstrom made a ruthlessly efficient appearance to close things out in the bottom of the fifth, blowing the ball past the Trojans and striking out the side on just eleven pitches.  With a 13-0 lead after five innings, Redwood earned the benefit of MCAL’s ‘Mercy Rule,’ officially ending the game. 

With no confirmation of any official protest from the San Marin Mustangs following last Friday’s pitch count controversy, the Giants are now riding a five-game win streak, during which they’ve outscored their opponents 51-2.  Redwood stands 6-3 on the year (3-0 in MCAL play).

It should be kept in mind that Terra Linda’s baseball program was reported barely to have survived the past off-season, due to shrinking participation and a lack of coaches. As a result, and after much recruiting and booster work in San Rafael over the winter, this year’s Trojan JV team is composed entirely of freshmen.

Redwood returns home on Thursday to host the Livermore JV Pokes (Livermore’s varsity nickname is ‘Cowboys’), before hosting this same young Terra Linda team on Friday afternoon at Moody Field.

Redwood overcomes wind, cold, to top San Marin 8-1 in Novato

The March weather came in like a lion, but it was the San Marin Mustangs who went out like lambs, falling to the Redwood JV Baseball Giants by a score of 8-1, and spoiling one of the first-ever games at their brand-new stadium in Novato.

With winds at the recently-constructed Mark Whitburn Field gusting as high as 50 mph, and temperatures falling as low as 46°F, Redwood fashioned a groundhog-day repeat of Tuesday’s home performance against the Mustangs. Like Tuesday, the Giants were no-hit by starting pitching, but erupted against Mustang relief in the sixth inning to leap ahead 6-1. On the road today, the Giants took the extra step of adding two runs in the seventh, bringing the final score to 8-1.

Starting pitcher Chas Veley worked six strong innings, scattering five hits and five walks, and repeatedly got himself out of jams with key strikeouts and clutch fielding plays. Veley fanned six on the day.

Redwood struck first to start the game. Giants’ new center fielder Jack Corvi (fresh off the Redwood Boys Soccer MCAL and NorCal-championship campaign) landed in the leadoff spot, and was immediately grazed by Mustang pitcher Jack Osberg on the first pitch. Osberg, battling the gusting wind, then uncorked two wild pitches to third baseman Quinn Miller, (another recent arrival – off the injury list), allowing Corvi to advance to second and then third. Miller grounded back to Osberg, who looked Corvi back and tossed to first, bringing left fielder Harrison Lapic to the plate with one out.

Lapic lofted a ball into right field, where the wind and sun combined to baffle the Mustang right fielder, who dropped the ball, scoring Corvi to put Redwood on the board, 1-0.

The Giants caught a break in the bottom of the first, as Veley returned the favor of hitting San Marin’s leadoff hitter, center fielder Joe Alessandria. The speedy Alessandria then took second on a hit-and-run grounder to Giants’ second baseman Max Paul.  When Osberg’s single to right was booted by a charging Gavin Soper, Alessandria was inexplicably held at third, depriving the Mustangs of a certain run. A walk to Mustang first baseman Teddy Krajeski then loaded the bases with just one out.

Veley responded by striking out the Mustang catcher on a wicked curveball, then getting shortstop Lars Rau on a liner to Paul at second to retire the side.

Giant bats then fell silent, seemingly hibernating from the cold, as the Mustangs stayed awake to threaten inning after inning. In the bottom of the second, a single by third baseman Gino Ravina and a walk to Alessandria put runners on first and second with two outs. Mustang second baseman Jack Goodwin singled up the middle, setting up a play at the plate. Corvi’s strong throw to Giants’ catcher Ryan Ip arrived slightly to the first base side, and Ravina slid in just under Ip’s diving tag, knotting the score at 1-1.

In the bottom of the third, with runners at first and second and one out, Veley came off the mound to field a dribbler from Rau, setting his feet and wheeling to third to catch the lead runner for the second out. After a walk loaded the bases, Veley gloved another comebacker from left fielder Maddox Fortune, tossing over to Giant first baseman Jordan Kimball to retire the side.

The bottom of the fourth was a near replay of the third. With runners on first and third and one out, pinch hitter Jake Simpson slapped a ball back to Veley, who turned and ran at the lead runner off of third, picking him off for out number two. Veley then went on to glove yet another comebacker, tossing to Kimball for out number three.

With Simpson staying in the game to pitch, the Giants went quietly in the top of the fifth, though Kimball did leg out a soft grounder to third, just beating Ravina’s throw, and breaking up the Mustangs’ no-hitter on the day. 

With the Mustang pitching spell broken, Redwood’s luck took a sharp turn for the better in the top of the sixth. The speedy Corvi led things off with a grounder to the right side, drawing Krajeski off the bag and forcing a wild throw to Simpson, who was scrambling to cover. Corvi took second easily on the play. Miller followed with a grounder to Ravina, whose strong throw to first flew past  Krajeski, who, blinded by the sun, bent over and covered his head with his arms instead of fielding the ball. Corvi now stood on third and Miller on second with no outs, bringing Lapic to the plate.

Lapic slapped a single up the middle under the glove of a diving Jensen, scoring Corvi to break the tie, and sending Miller racing around third. As Alessandria’s throw was on its way home, Miller lost his balance, staggering into an outstretched dive a full two feet short of the plate. Fortunately for the Giants, Jensen bobbled the throw at home, just missing the tag on Miller, who crawled across the plate to make the score 3-1. 

With Lapic at first and still no outs, Veley smashed a topspin liner to short, which Jensen handled on the high hop and threw to Goodwin, forcing Lapic at second. Lapic, though, broke up the double play, forcing Goodwin to throw wildly to first, which allowed Veley to take second base.  Soper followed with a line drive to right, making it first and third with just one out, and bringing Paul to the plate.

Paul lofted a ball high above right field, where it caught the wind and carried over the head of Hubbs and to the wall for a triple, scoring Veley and Soper, and making it 5-1. Giants’ shortstop Sam Sumski then walked and stole second, before a bewildered Kimball struck out looking at a pitch six inches or more off the plate. Up next, Ip assumed his stance with his toes nearly touching the plate, in hopes of being able to reach this new outside zone.

Dancing off of third, Paul started to break for home on a wild pitch, but stopped when Jensen quickly recovered the ball and fired to Ravina at third, catching Paul in no-man’s land. As luck would have it though, as Paul broke for home a second time, Ravina botched his throw back to Jensen – the fourth Mustang error in the inning – scoring Paul to make it 6-1.

Veley, taking the mound in the bottom of the sixth with a pitch count of 84, had another strong inning. One highlight was a curveball which bore down on the batter, causing him to hit the deck, before breaking sharply across the plate for a strike.  The Mustang hitter picked himself up and slapped a grounder deep in the hole, just beating out Sumski’s throw for an infield single.

After Goodwin stole second, Miller made a diving stop on a Simpson grounder to his left, hopping up and feinting towards first, successfully luring the aggressive Goodwin into breaking for third. Well and truly trapped, Goodwin didn’t go quietly, juking up and down the base path as if a backyard game of tag had broken out, until Miller finally chased him down for out number three.

The Giants tacked on two more runs in the top of the seventh, as Miller drew yet another throwing error from Ravina, taking second on the play, and scoring on Veley’s sharp single to right, with Veley advancing to second on the throw home. Soper followed with a walk, putting runners on first and second with two out, and bringing Paul to the plate.

Paul lofted yet another ball into right towards Hubbs, who battled with the wind before diving and ultimately dropping the ball. It was the Mustangs’ seventh error on the day, scoring Veley to make it 8-1.  Hubbs achieved a small measure of redemption by racing over to corral Sumski’s well-hit drive to right center for Redwood’s final out of the day.

As the Mustangs came up to bat in the bottom of the seventh, with the score 8-1 and temperatures down to the upper forties, the shivering crowd hoped for a quick resolution. However, as Veley took the mound, a series of conferences between the umpire and coaches delayed play for a good ten minutes, ending in a San Marin protest – namely, that Veley had exceeded MCAL’s 90-pitch daily limitation for JV baseball.

The MCAL adheres to the national (NFHS), state (CIF) and Regional (NCS) rules on pitching limitation, which are identical at every level.  Daily pitch count limits depend on the number of days a pitcher has rested, with the maximum for JV and Freshman pitchers being 90, assuming they’ve had at least four days of rest (as Veley had). For comparison, three days prior, Cole Engstrom threw 92 pitches in his complete game shutout of the Mustangs, but he passed the limit on his final batter, which is within the rules.  Veley had continued to pitch to two more batters after reaching 90 pitches.

Despite the Giants’ 6-1 lead before Veley broached the 90-pitch limit, San Marin lodged a formal protest with the umpire, at which point Redwood brought in Max Paul to pitch, sending Veley to shortstop and Sumski to second.

Paul made short work of the Mustangs, allowing Krajeski to drop a single just inside the left field line, before striking out the side to end the game. 

The Giants, now 5-3 on the year (2-0 MCAL), hit the road again on Tuesday to play the Terra Linda Trojans in San Rafael, before hosting the Livermore JV Pokes at Endriss Field on Thursday.

Redwood JV shuts down San Marin on Engstrom’s gem

Returning to the mound on just two days’ rest, pitcher Cole Engstrom tossed a three-hit shutout to lead the Redwood JV Baseball Giants to a 7-0 win over the San Marin Mustangs at Moody Field, opening MCAL play for the 2022 season.  Redwood, despite being no-hit through five innings, exploded for six runs in the bottom of the sixth to put the game away.

The Mustangs threatened in the top of the first, as Engstrom recorded two quick outs, then drilled center fielder Noah Ratto in the shin. Ratto promptly stole second, advancing to third on left fielder Ryan Burke’s single to left.  With runners on first and third, Mustang first baseman Teddy Krajeski powered a ball deep into the gap in right center, but speedy Giants center fielder Gavin Soper raced over for the grab, bridling Mustang momentum and retiring the side.

Redwood responded in the bottom of the first, as second baseman Max Paul slapped what looked to be a single under the glove of Mustang shortstop Jake Simpson, who was called for an error on the play. The call was significant, as Mustang starting pitcher Ryan Jensen and reliever Lars Rau went on to take a no-hitter into the sixth inning.

Paul stole second and advanced to third on a passed ball. Giants third baseman Harrison Lapic followed by tapping a grounder to third, reaching base and scoring Paul, as Krajeski mishandled the throw at first. That was to be the only run of the game through five innings, as both teams settled in for what looked to be a classic pitchers’ duel.

Redwood’s defense was solid throughout the game, with only one error on the day. In the top of the fourth, Paul gloved Krajeski’s sharp grounder up the middle, narrowly missing him at first in what would have been a spectacular play. Simpson followed with a grounder to Giants shortstop Sam Sumski, who shoveled the ball to Paul to start a 6-4-3 double play. As Krajeski barreled into second, Paul’s wild throw to first sailed to the fence, but the umpire upheld the double play, calling Krajeski for interference.

With the score still 1-0, Redwood finally broke through in the bottom of the sixth. Sumski led things off by taking a nasty Rau fastball in the ribs, advancing to second on Lapic’s emphatic single to left – the Giants’ first hit of the game. Catcher Ryan Ip followed with a walk, loading the bases with no outs, and bringing Soper to the plate.

Soper, who had been mired in a bit of a slump, proceeded to smash the ball over Ratto’s head in center field. Ratto, racing back, nearly came up with a Willie Mays-style circus catch, forcing the runners to tag, and holding Soper to a very long single.

But the seal had been broken, as Sumski scored on the play, giving the Giants a much-needed insurance run.

With the bases still loaded and no outs, Engstrom rapped a grounder to Simpson, who airmailed his throw to the plate, scoring Lapic, and leaving the bases loaded yet again. A rattled Simpson chose to go to first with Giants’ left fielder Wyatt Turkington’s subsequent grounder, scoring Ip to bring the score to 4-0.

With runners on second and third, Redwood first baseman Jordan Kimball lined a pitch into right center for the Giants’ third and final hit of the game, scoring two and advancing to second on the Mustangs’ wild throw home. Kimball then tagged and went to third on Giants’ right fielder Drew Song’s fly ball to center, scoring on a wild pitch. Having been no-hit for most of the day, the Giants found themselves coming out of the inning up 7-0.

In the top of the seventh, with San Marin down to their last at-bat, Paul and Sumski turned a handsome double play, aided by Kimball’s deft scoop of Sumski’s throw.  Engstrom, not showing any signs of fatigue, then got Mustang J. Fortune on a grounder to Paul to close out the game.

Engstrom finished his strong outing with eight strikeouts on the day, allowing just three hits and one walk. The Giants also had only three hits, but took advantage of three Mustang errors as they fashioned their seven runs. Now 4-3 on the year (1-0 in MCAL play), Redwood will get another crack at Mustang pitching on Friday, as they travel to Novato in the rubber match of this home-away series. The Giants then square off next week against the Trojans of Terra Linda.