JV Giants Topple Marin Catholic

4/18/23  Redwood cruised to an easy victory at Endriss Field on Tuesday afternoon, beating the Marin Catholic Wildcats 7-0.
Right-hander Jack Gurley took the mound for the Giants, and he faced his biggest threat of the day in the first inning.  A single, a stolen base, and a passed ball put a man on third with no outs.  The next batter fouled out to Jordan Kimball at first base, forcing the runner to hold at third.  The three-hitter knocked a comebacker to Gurley, who calmly threw home to catcher Miles Harrison to get the runner charging in from third base.  After another single put two men on with two outs, shortstop Jake Huddleston snared a weak fly ball for the third out, ending the threat.
The Giants plated a pair in the 2nd inning on singles by Harrison, Cole Engstrom, and Huddleston.  After a 1-2-3 inning from Gurley in the 3rd, the Giants came back to bat and dropped four runs on the Wildcats.  The fun started with a double from Carter Capobianco, who was soon driven in with an RBI single from Ryan Scott.  Kimball plated Scott with an infield single, Zach Davis singled, and then Engstrom drove both of them in with his second hit of the game.
The Giants would add one more in the 4th on a walk by Scott and a booming double from Harrison.  The Giants totaled 11 hits on the day.  Marin Catholic scattered six hits against Gurley, but never really threatened after the 1st inning.  Zach Davis came in to the pitch the 7th and made quick work of things with a 1-2-3 inning.
The Giants are now 15-3 on the season, and 7-2 in MCAL play.  They’ll head to Marin Catholic to play the Wildcats again on Friday afternoon.

Redwood JV Sneaks Past St. Ignatius, 7-6

4/12/23  It felt like two different games were played at St. Ignatius on Wednesday, as the first two and a half innings were high-scoring and filled with errors and unlikely plays, while the remainder of the game was a tight, scoreless affair.
Redwood scored a run in the first on a leadoff single by Carter Capobianco and a one-out RBI single from Jordan Kimball.  The fun was short-lived, as Miles Harrison flied out to right field, and Kimball tagged up and was nailed at the plate for a double play.
The Wildcats came right back and scored two unearned runs against Redwood ace Jack Gurley on a couple singles, an error on a fly ball, and an RBI groundout.
In the top of the second, Redwood loaded the bases with no outs on consecutive walks to Cole Engstrom, Zack Davis, and Ryan Sun.  The Giants kept rolling as Jake Huddleston, Jon Kozubik, and Carter Capobianco each hit RBI singles.  Up 4-2 with the bases loaded and no outs, Redwood had to be thinking about a massive inning as S.I. brought in a new pitcher.  But three pitches later, Ryan Scott lined into a 6-4-3 triple play, as both Kozubik and Capobianco were doubled off their respective bags.
The funhouse atmosphere continued in the bottom of the 2nd as St. Ignatius scored four more runs (all unearned, again) on a walk, three consecutive errors – the last of which allowed three runs to score – and a RBI single, putting the Wildcats up 6-4.
In the top of the third, Redwood loaded the bases with one out on a single by Kimball and walks to Miles Harrison and Davis.  Center fielder TJ Beck cleared the bases with a triple to left and suddenly the Giants were back on top, 7-6.  In keeping with the up-and-down nature of the game, however, the Giants ended the inning on a variation of the strike-em-out-throw-em-out double play, as Huddleston was thrown at first on a dropped third strike and Beck was gunned down trying to take home on the throw.
After some tense but cleanly played innings, Cole Engstrom came on in relief of Gurley in the 6th inning, with the Giants still clinging to a 7-6 lead.  Engstrom helped his own cause in the 6th, picking a runner off at second just before giving up a double that could have tied the game.  The Wildcats threatened again in the 7th, putting two on with one out, but Engstrom escaped the jam and earned the save by inducing a liner and a ground ball to Huddleston at short for the last two outs of the game.  The Giants improved to 14-3 overall, 6-2 MCAL with the victory.

Redwood JV Downs San Marin 8-2 In First MCAL Game

3/7/23: Redwood JV continued their early season roll with an 8-2 win over the San Marin Mustangs in their first MCAL game of the year.  Redwood is now 6-0 overall and 1-0 in the MCAL standings.

San Marin came out swinging in the first inning.  With one out, the Mustangs used an infield hit and a booming double to go up 1-0.  After a Redwood error, San Marin had two on with only one out and looked ready to add to their lead.  But Redwood’s ace Jack Gurley, having just allowed his first earned run of the year, shut the door with back-to-back strikeouts.

The Giants came alive in the bottom of the second thanks to some strategic at-bats and plenty of San Marin miscues.  After Miles Harrison was plunked on the helmet to open the frame and then stole second on the ensuing pitch, Cole Engstrom dropped a bunt directly in front of the plate.  A throwing error by the Mustang catcher scored Harrison and allowed Engstrom to race all the way to third. Jordan Kimball drove Engstrom in with an infield single and moved to second on another throwing error.  After a Kiran Murray single moved Kimball to third, Kaelin Chrisman picked up an RBI with a sacrifice bunt to the pitcher.  Speedster Conall Bourke came in to run for Murray at second and quickly came in to score with a head-first dive after the left fielder for San Marin misplayed Eric Mittelman’s line drive.  TJ Beck eventually drove Mittelman in with a hard single up the middle, putting Redwood up 5-1.

Redwood faced down another threat in the top of the third, as San Marin loaded the bases with no outs on two singles and a walk.  Gurley struck out the next batter, and catcher Miles Harrison nabbed a runner at the plate on a failed suicide squeeze for the second out.  An error allowed a run to score before a groundout ended the frame and limited the damage.

The Giants plated three runs in the fifth on RBI singles by Ryan Scott and Harrison.  Kimball tripled in Engstrom for his second hit of the day, and that closed the scoring for the game.  

Ryan Scott made his first appearance of the year on the mound when he came in from right field to pitch in the 6th.  After he walked the first batter, he induced a 6-4-3 double play on the next pitch to clear the bases.  Scott settled in after that and finished the game, going two innings and giving up no runs on a couple hits and a walk.

If weather permits, the back half of this home-and-away series against the Mustangs will take place on Friday in Novato, as Redwood looks to continue its early-season run.

Redwood JV takes down Case Grande in Petaluma, 6-2

3/03/23:  Cole Engstrom pitched a gem, earning the victory on the mound for Redwood JV.  Cole went five and two-thirds innings, allowing no runs on three hits, striking out four.  Zach Davis came in to finish off the win, striking out the last two batters in the 7th inning.  Along with pitching, Redwood’s defense was almost flawless, making just one error.

Redwood got on the scoreboard in the 3rd inning as Carter Capobianco scored from 2B on a single up the middle by TJ Beck.  Redwood up 1-0.

In the 5th inning, Redwood struck again with a two out rally.  Carter Capobianco singled to center, stole second, and with an infield single by TJ Beck and a Casa Grande error, scored Redwood’s 2nd run.  Ryan Scott followed with a single, scoring TJ Beck.  Redwood up 3-0.

The next inning, Miles Harrison reached 1B on an infield single, and later in the inning, Kiran Murray put the ball in play, allowing Miles Harrison to score.  Redwood up 4-0.

In the 7th inning, Carter Capobianco and TJ Beck again found themselves on base due to a single and bunt single by TJ Beck.  Ryan Scott drove both base runners in with a single to center field.  Redwood up 6-0.

Casa Grande attempted a comeback in the seventh inning, scoring two runs.  But Redwood’s Zach Davis shut them down, striking out the last two batters. 

Five Redwood players recorded multi-hit games, Carter Capobianco 2-4, Ryan Scott 2-4, Miles Harrison 2-4, Jordan Kimball 2-3, and TJ Beck 4-4.  Ryan Scott recorded 3 RBIs, and TJ Beck 1 RBI.

JV Pushes Past Petaluma

3/02/23:  Jack Gurley continued his early-season dominance on the mound in Redwood’s 3-0 victory over the visiting Petaluma Trojans.  Gurley was highly efficient, tossing a complete game two-hitter on just 73 pitches.

Redwood was able to push 3 runs across the plate with a combination of small-ball tactics and speed on the basepaths.  In the first inning, Carter Capobianco reached on an infield single to shortstop, and stole second on the next pitch.  TJ Beck singled sharply to left to drive Capobianco in and put Redwood on the board.

The second inning for Redwood started up a similar path, as Jordan Kimball reached on an infield single to short and immediately stole second base.  Kimball was running again on the next pitch and never slowed down – Kiran Murray dropped a sacrifice bunt to the pitcher, and Kimball scored all the way from second when Petaluma opted for the out at first and was unable to relay to home in time to get the speedy Kimball.  

In the fifth inning, Cabobianco hit another infield single, and advanced to second on a wild pitch.  TJ Beck dropped a bunt down the third base line and reached on a error, Petaluma’s only miscue of the day.  Capobianco came in to score on the errant throw, closing out the scoring for the day.

But this was Gurley’s game.  The tall right-hander is 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA this season, having thrown 15 innings across three starts while allowing just three hits and two walks.  His next opportunity should come next week as Redwood JV starts their MCAL slate with a home-and-away against San Marin.

Redwood JV edges out Sacred Heart 1 – 0

2/25/23:  Jack Gurley started the game on the mound, going 5 innings with 6 Ks, no hits, and one walk.  Zach Davis took the ball in the 6th inning and closed out Sacred Heart, striking out one and giving up a single to left field, Sacred Heart’s only hit.

Sacred Heart threatened in the top of the 5th inning with a runner on 3rd base after a well placed sacrifice bunt.  A shoe string catch by center fielder TJ Beck, and Jack Gurley’s last batter faced, struck out to end the inning.

In the bottom of the 6th inning, the Giants finally broke through with Zach Davis earning a walk and scoring on a game winning single up the middle by Eric Mittleman.

The 7th inning proved suspenseful, as Sacred Heart’s leadoff batter hit a single to left field and stole second base with just one out. But the Giant’s outfield proved to be unforgiving as left fielder Carter Capobianco made another shoe string catch on the left field foul line to end the game and put Redwood Giants JV at 3 – 0 for the year.

TJ Beck, Miles Harrison (2), Cole Engstrom and Eric Mittleman all collected singles.  Jordan Kimball had one multi base hit, a double.


Redwood JV Defeats Rancho Cotate 3-1 

2/23/23:  Both teams were strong on the pitcher’s mound on Thursday, with Cole Engstrom taking the mound for Redwood and pitched a gem,  allowing only one run on six hits, striking out five and walking zero while pitching a complete game for the win.

Redwood fired up the offense in the second inning and then pulled away for good in the third inning. Ryan Scott went 2 for 3 at the plate to lead in hits.

There were good defensive plays all around with many Redwood players flashing the leather.


Two Pitchers Team Up as Redwood JV Defeats Montgomery in Shut-Out

2/21/23:  Redwood Giants JV defeated Montgomery 26-0 on Tuesday as two pitchers combined to throw a shut-out.  Jack Gurley got the start and lasted three innings, allowing one hit and zero runs while striking out six and walking one. Cole Engstrom entered the game in relief and pitched two innings ending the game with a fly-out to center fielder TJ Beck.

Redwood racked up 17 hits on the day. Kaelin Chrisman, Miles Harrison, Zach Davis, Kiran Murray, Cole Engstrom and Ryan Scott each managed multiple hits for Redwood. Chrisman went 3-3 at the plate to lead the team in hits.


Redwood Giants JV Take the Lead in Fifth Inning to Defeat Analy in Scrimmage

In their first outing of the season, the Redwood Giants JV took the lead late in the game in a 5-3 victory over Analy on Saturday, February 11. In the top of the fifth, the game was tied at two with Redwood batting.  Zach Davis singled on a 0-1 count, scoring two runs to push Redwood ahead.

Earlier in the game in the second inning, Redwood opened up scoring when Jake Huddleston doubled on a 0-2 count, scoring one run. Analy tied the game at two in the bottom of the fourth inning with a double. Carter Capobianco, TJ Beck, Jake Huddleston, Zach Davis and Kiran Murray each collected one hit for Redwood.  

Jack Gurley got the start for Redwood. He went two innings allowing zero runs on one hit, striking out one and walking zero.

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.