JV Endure Errors/Adversity to Win in Seventh

The Giants battled errors and bad breaks to come from behind in the seventh inning to beat Casa Grande High School 4 to 3. Jack Hake started on the hill for the Giants, striking out three and conceding one run. Down early, the Giants would tie the game in the third. Jacob Klionsky was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning. Jackson Barry followed with a single to right field, moving Klionsky to third. With runners on the corners, Sam Warren drove the ball to right, scoring Jacob. Warren would steal second and Jack Morken would get hit in the wrist, loading the bases for Kyle Felder. Unfortunately, a double play would end the threat. (1-1, after three.)

In the fourth, first baseman, Ryan Jessen, would lead off the inning with a bomb to left-center field. The Giants, however, could not capitalize on the double. Defensively, the Giants were helped by a tremendous over the shoulder running catch by Sam Warren in the fourth and a strike out/throw down to second base from Catcher, Jake Nordstrom, to end the fifth inning on a double play.

Kyle Felder entered the contest in the fourth in relief of Hake. Jacob Klionsky drew a six pitch walk. Sam Warren stayed hot with a single to right. Jack Morken put Redwood in the lead with a single to center-field, scoring Klionsky from second base. (2-1, Redwood). In the bottom half of the fifth inning, the Giants would give up the lead on a series of errors and confusing calls from the umpires. The combination allowed Casa Grande to retake the lead with unearned runs, 3-2, after five innings of play.

In the sixth inning, the Giants showed promise when Jake Nordstrom doubled to left-center field. Nordstrom would later be caught stealing third, sending Redwood back to the drawing board.

Entering the seventh inning, head coach, Billy Jack Ryan, officially registered a protest of the game after the officiating crew failed to acknowledge the repeated boks by the Casa Grande’s starting pitcher for failing to get set before his delivery. The boys, needless to say, would not get unhinged by the irregularity.

Still in the seventh, with the game in flux, Nick Cook would draw a walk. Jacob Klionsky followed up with a free base. Coach Ryan then showed the sign for a fake bunt/double steal, successfully advancing both runners into scoring position. Jackson Barry then delivered his third hit of the game to center field, scoring Cook and Klionsky to retake the lead. For his efforts, Barry was called out at second after both runs scored-again, prompting some protest from the crowd given the call. (4-3, Redwood).

In the bottom of the seventh, Kyle Felder would retire the home team in order, ringing up the final batter looking. The Giants finished with nine hits on three errors, combining for eight strikeouts. Final Score: 4-3, Redwood

The 6-0 Giants will travel to Danville on Friday the 10th to take on Eastbay powerhouse, Monte Vista High School. First pitch-3:30 p.m. Pictures from today’s game will be available Saturday.

JV Walk Off in the 10th, Remain Perfect

The Giants battled Bishop O’Dowd High School Friday night until the sun set at Moody Field. In a ten inning nail-biter, Redwood stayed perfect on the season with a bench clearing walk off victory in the bottom of the tenth, beating Bishop O’Dowd 3-2.

Kyle Felder started for the Giants, going four innings and striking out five. Redwood showed promise in the second inning, after first baseman, Jack Morken, smoked a fastball back up the middle for a single. Morken would steal second and land on third after a wild pitch to Jacob Klionski. However, the Giants could not capitalize on the opportunity.

Bishop O’Dowd’s starting pitcher kept the Giants off the score board through four innings, getting two runs of support from his team. Redwood kept the game close, however, with some help from center-fielder Jacob Klionski’s diving catch in center. In the bottom half of the fifth, Klionski would hit a lead-off double. A wild pitch moved JK to third. Redwood would finally score after second baseman, Nick Cook, singled up the middle, scoring Klionski. (2-1, O’Dowd, after five)

Maxim Kawashima came in to pitch the fifth, sixth and seventh innings, no hitting his opponent and striking out three. Kawashima added a single to right-field in the bottom of the sixth and promptly stole second. Maxim advanced to third. Sam Warren drew a walk. On a wild pitch, Kawashima alertly crossed home plate to tie the contest at two after six innings.

Jackson Bender, the eventual game winner, pitched the eighth, ninth and tenth innings. The game was nip and tuck for the rest of the evening. In the eighth inning, Nate Charles hit a hard grounder to second which was duffed, landing him safely at first. Charles would steal second but get caught stealing third to end the Redwood threat.

In the ninth, Bender kept the batters baffled, striking out one and inducing a pop-up for the second out. The inning ended after catcher, Jake Nordstrom, threw a seed down to second base for the third out on a steal attempt.

The game looked dire in the tenth, after Bishop O’Dowd loaded the bases. Bender hung tough, however, working out of the difficult situation to preserve the 2-2 tie. With the sun going down, in the bottom of the tenth, Jacob Klionski lead off with a double down the third base line. After another wild pitch, Klionski stole third. With the game on the line, Nick Cook took a fast ball back up the middle for the walk-off dugout clearing victory. Final Score: 3-2 Giants.

The JV Giants improve to 5-0 in pre-season play. The highly entertaining, character building, extra-innings walk-off victory motivated the proud parents to celebrate with the team at The Counter. The season is off to a perfect start, both on and off the field. The Giants resume pre-season play next Tuesday, March 7th, when they host Casa Grande High School at Moody Field. First pitch-3:30 p.m.

Photos from tonight’s barn burner can be viewed: http://www.JordanWarren.photography/p251355359

JV Stay Perfect, Shut Out Montgomery 9-0

The 4-0 Giants needed only 1 hour 35 minutes to roll over Montgomery High School from Santa Rosa. Starting pitcher, Jack Hake, gave up a harmless blooper to left field in the first inning before settling into a dominate performance. In the first inning, Hake was helped by a superb play by center-fielder, Jared Robinow, who chased down a shallow ball hit to left-center, then threw across his body to first baseman, Ryan Jessen, catching the runner well off base for the double play. Hake would never look back, striking out five of the next six batters through four shut-out innings of work.

The Giants remained scoreless, however, until the bottom of the third inning. Jared Robinow lead off with a bunt single. He would then steal second. Z Gordon put the ball in play, advancing JR to third. Nate Charles punched the ball to second, scoring Robinow. (1-0 Redwood, after three).

The Giants would add to their lead in the fourth. Jackson Barry started things off with a lead-off walk. Hake followed with a hard hit grounder to short, which was booted, leaving runners at first and second. First baseman, Ryan Jessen, then drove the ball to left-field, loading the bases. Second baseman, Nick Cook, took a wild pitch, allowing Barry to score from third and advancing both runners into scoring position. Cook then laid down a perfect suicide bunt toward first base, scoring two runs in the process on his way to a three RBI day. Remarkably, Nick out ran the phantom tag at first, and should have been called safe but for the mistaken belief of the umpire that the defender had the ball-which he didn’t. Catcher, Jake Nordstrom, didn’t miss a beat, and connected with a shot to left field, landing on second base. A wild pitch would move Nordstrom to third. Shortstop, Z. Gordon, then singled Jake home. Gordon would get picked off at first to end the inning. (5-0 Redwood, after four)

Reliever, Cole Zesiger, would enter the contest in the top of the fifth and maintain the shutout through the next two innings. The Giants added to their lead in the fifth. Maxim Kawashima, singled to left-center. Max then promptly stole second. Jack Morken then connected with a pitch, sending the ball to left field, scoring the speedy Kawashima from second. (6-0). Morken would take second. Barry then hit the ball to short, but an over-thrown attempt to first left him safe at first and Morken scoring from second. (7-0). Cole Zesiger then singled to center, sending Barry to third. Zesiger would steal second, leaving runners in scoring position for Nick Cook. Cook put the ball in play, scoring Barry. Sam Warren entered the game and immediately contributed, punching the ball to center and scoring Zesiger. (9-0 Redwood, after six).

Left-handed reliever, Jeremy Sellier, came in for the save, mopping up the outmatched boys from Montgomery in due course.

Final score: 9-0

JV continues their home stand Friday, March 3rd, when they host Bishop O’Dowd High School at Moody Field. First pitch-3:30 p.m.

Photos from the game can be found at: http://www.jordonwarren.photography/p63030583

Redwood JV Upends Serra 5-2

Redwood’s JV Baseball team scored five runs on seven hits to beat Serra High School Tuesday night at Moody field. Kyle Felder started for the Giants and went three strong innings, striking out two. In a back and forth battle, the Giants got on the board in the first inning. Jackson Bender got on base with a short blooper single to center. Bender would steal second. After a wild pitch, Jackson would take third. Jackson Barry then put the ball in play to the right side of the diamond, scoring Bender from third. First baseman, Jack Morken, kept the inning alive with a hard hit ball to left field. Morken would get caught stealing second to end the inning. (1-0 Redwood).

Serra would tie the game in the top of the second. In response, Sam Warren would lead off the bottom half of the inning with a single to left. Catcher, Jake Nordstrom, would later be caught doubled up after Jacob Klionsky just missed driving the ball down the first base line.

In the top of the third, Serra would take the lead back by one run. Although Redwood committed an error to help the Padres, that was made irrelevant when shortstop, Zachary Gordon, wisely tagged the baserunner caught between second and third, then threw the ball home to secure the third out of the inning and ending the multi-run threat. Starting Pitcher, Kyle Felder, would help his own cause by smashing a double over the center-fielders’ head. Gordon followed up with a nicely hit ball to the right side of the diamond, advancing Felder to third. The giants would tie the game with a Jackson Bender single. (2-2 after three)

Eric Simonson entered the match in the top of the fourth in relief of Felder. Simonson kept the Serra batters off balance, inducing pop-ups. The Top of the fourth ended when catcher, Jake Nordstrom, fired the ball down to first baseman, Jack Morken, who then ran down the unsuspecting baserunner into the eventual tag by Z. Gordon. In the bottom half of the fourth, the Giants would grab the lead back and never look back. Jack Barry hit a single to right field. Jack Morken would follow up with a hard hit ball deep into the hole between short and second, which the shortstop could not handle. Sam Warren then put the ball in play, advancing Barry to third and landing safe at first. Jake Nordstrom gave the Giants the lead with a chopper to second, scoring Barry. (3-2 Redwood).

The Giants would lean on reliever Maxim Kawashima to pitch the fifth and sixth innings, shutting down Serra. Maxim would also draw a lead-off walk in the bottom of the fifth. He then stole second. Zachary Gordon then connected with a single to left field, advancing Maxim to third base. A wild pitch opened the door for the alert Kawashima to sprint home. (4-2). Two more wild pitches allowed Gordon to make his way to third base. Second baseman, Nick Cook, then drove the ball to right field, allowing Gordon to safely slide under the tag at home plate. (5-2 Redwood).

In the top of the sixth inning, the game got a bit testy with the bases loaded and one out. With the game on the line, Maxim Kawashima fielded a come-backer at the mound and wisely threw the ball home to Nordstrom. As Jake forced the second out, the Serra player slid into home with his spikes deliberately aimed at Nordstrom, who absorbed the cheap shot and threw the ball down to Morken, securing the double play and end the inning. For his efforts, the Serra player was ejected for intentionally trying to injure our player. In the bottom half of the sixth, with the Serra dugout in a bit of an uproar, Morken iced the situation with a hard hit troublemaker back up the middle, narrowly missing the jumpy pitcher. Jackson Bender was handed the ball in the seventh for the successful save with the help from some brilliant defensive work by Jackson Barry. Final Score: 5-2 Redwood

Pictures at: http://www.jordanwarren.photography/p724695914

Giants Top Riordan 7-0

Today, the sun was out for Redwood’s Junior Varsity baseball team after a quick turn-around from last night’s extra-inning victory in Petaluma. Taking on Archbishop Riordan High School in San Francisco, the Giants handed the ball to Cole Zesiger for their second pre-season game in as many days. On a day where two out rallies were the norm, the Giants made quick work of their opponent in the first inning after third basemen, Jackson Barry, was hit by a pitch. Jack Hake followed up with a single up the middle. With runners at first and second, first basemen, Jack Morken, turned on a fastball and shot the ball to the hot corner, advancing the runners and outrunning the throw to first. With the bases loaded, catcher Sam Warren stayed hot with a double to left, scoring Barry and Hake. In the bottom half of the first, after giving up an initial walk, Zesiger settled down to retire the next three batters, striking out one. (2-0 Redwood after one).

The Giants conceded one out in the top half of the second inning before they once again generated some offense. Infielder, Zachary Gordon, was hit by a pitch. Gordon then stole second. The upstart, Nate Charles, kept the rally alive with a double to right field, advancing Gordon to third. With runners at second and third, Jackson Bender hit the ball deep enough for Gordon to tag up and score. (3-0 Redwood). With two outs, Jackson Barry followed up with a hard hit ball to the third basemen, under pressure, and scored Charles. (4-0 Redwood). The contest was busted wide open when Jack Hake drilled his second hit of the day to deep center, doubling and scoring Barry. (5-0 Redwood). Starting pitcher, Cole Zesiger, would help his cause by turning a double play (1,4, 3) to end the second inning.

The Giants would once again use a combination of pitchers for the rest of the day to secure the five run lead. Jeremy Sellier returned to the active list in the third inning. The lefty’s 2017 debut was solid, as Sellier baffled the Crusaders with his off-speed stuff. In the fourth inning, the Giants would manufacturer their sixth run when Sam Warren doubled home Jack Morken from first base.

Coach Billy Jack Ryan also used Ryan Jessen on the hill. Jessen maintained the shut out for an inning and two thirds. In his 2017 debut, Maxim Kawashima returned to the hill with an impressive show of straight up power. Maxim threw twenty pitches, gave up no hits and struck out two.

The Giants offense managed a seventh and final run in the sixth inning. Jackson Bender started things off with a lead-off single. Jacob Klionsky followed up with a single to right field. Maxim Kawashima connected with a pitch to deep center, allowing Bender to smartly tag-up at second base and move to third. After, the Giants were the beneficiaries of their opponent’s relation to Johaan Sebastian Bach, earning Bender a free trot to home plate. (7-0 Redwood). Jack Hake came in for the save, striking out three batters and preserving the shut-out win for Zesiger.

The JV Giants will be hosting powerhouse Junipero Serra High School next Tuesday, February 28th, at Moody Field. First pitch 3:30 p.m. Go Giants!

Images can be accessed via:  http://www.jordanwarren.photography/p694955538

JV Bests Petaluma in Home Opener

The Redwood High School Junior Varsity baseball team kicked off their 2017 season tonight with a 3-2 eighth inning win over the Trojans of Petaluma High School. Kyle Felder started on the hill for the Giants, pitching three strong shut-out innings. Felder was efficient, delivering consistent first pitch strikes without conceding a walk. Eric Simonson took over for Felder in the fourth inning and threw two scoreless innings of no-hit baseball, going a perfect seven for seven on first pitch strikes, needing only twenty-one total pitches to blank seven batters. The contest, however, remained scoreless through five innings. Redwood hit the ball hard, with only shortstop Zachary Gordon and left-fielder Sam Warren finding daylight through five.

The Giants finally got on the board in the sixth inning. Jacob Klionsky drew a lead-off walk. Jared Robinow laid down a sacrifice bunt, advancing Klionsky to second base. A wild pitch landed Jacob on third for the sure-handed Jackson Barry, who drove the ball deep into left center, scoring Klionsky. Sam Warren drilled his second hit of the day into right field, moving Barry to third. Jack Morken was issued a four pitch walk, loading the bases for Giants starter, Kyle Felder. Felder drove the ball to center field, scoring Barry from third. The inning ended with Warren getting narrowly tagged out trying to score from second. 2-0 Giants. Haiden Jones came in to pitch the bottom of the sixth, quickly dispatching the first two Petaluma batters. The Giants would get into trouble after a routine hit to left field lead to too many extra and, as it turned out, ill-advised throws around the Diamond. Despite the parade errors, Jones hung tough and got his team off the field with more consistent pitching. 2-2 after six.

After being away from the game and not pitching for nearly two years, newcomer Jackson Bender, was handed the ball by head coach Billy Jack Ryan to close out the game for the Giants. Bender delivered, getting the Giants into the eighth inning with the help of his Giant teammates.

Nate Charles entered the game in the top of the eighth with a leadoff single. He then stole second. First baseman, Ryan Jessen, stepped up and drilled the ball to left, scoring the speedy Charles from second base (3-2 Giants). In a moment of some confusion, the umpire thought there were two outs, when in fact there was only one. His repetitive assurances duped the Giants into believing the same. The eighth inning rally was cut short when the runners were going on another hard hit ball by Sam Warren that turned into a surprise double play.

Jackson Bender once again made the long trot to the mound for the save. With the game on the line, the Petaluma batter hit the ball to short left-center. Putting his mark on this game, left-fielder Kyle Felder ran hard to his left and laid out to make a miraculous catch and important second out. The final out was equally entertaining, when Felder tracked down a hard hit ball to left and threw a seed to cut-off man Jackson Barry, who pivoted and threw to catcher, Jake Nordstrom, who applied the final game winning out. Final score: 3-2 Giants.

The Giants travel to San Francisco tomorrow (2/25) to take on Archbishop Riordan High School at 10:00 a.m. The JV side is hoping to see the return of the walking Wounded-Nick Cook, Robbie Wilson, Maxim Kawashima and Jeremy Sellier-for tomorrow’s game. The Giants are expected to throw Cole Zesiger, Ryan Jessen and Jack Morken after using four pitchers in tonight’s contest. All hands will be on deck as the boys work out the rain-soaked pre-season kinks. Go Giants!

Game images can be viewed at: http://www.jordanwarren.photography/p861289948

2017 Redwood JV Baseball Team

Jackson Barry

Jackson Bender

Nate Charles

Nick Cook

Kyle Felder

Zachary Gordon

Jack Hake

Ryan Jessen

Haiden Jones

Maxim Kawashima

Jacob Klionsky

Jack Morken

Jake Nordstrom

Jared Robinow

Jeremy Sellier

Erik Simonson

Sam Warren

Robbie Wilson

Cole Zesiger

Redwood Ace is USA Strikeout King for 2016

At this point in mid-June, all the statistics are in, so it is time to report some great news of which Redwood Baseball should be extremely proud —

Redwood v Marin Catholic, 1-2, 5-6-16

Oliver Pearson, ’18 – USA Strikeout Leader for JV Baseball with 87K

Oliver Pearson, ’18, led the country – yes, really (and this author did the painstaking state-by-state check on MaxPreps to be sure) in JV strikeouts for all of 2016. Pearson, a rising junior, struck out 87 batters during 63.1 innings pitched this year. His next three closest competitors, all from California schools, notched just 80, 76 and 72 Ks. After that, Virginia (71), Alabama (64), Oregon (56) and Texas (54) trailed behind.  This author thinks it is safe to say that Redwood fans have some fun to look forward to with Ollie in the next two years (and with his teammate, Blake Cusick, who had a 0.94 ERA this year)!

Huge congratulations to Oliver Pearson, the Redwood Baseball fan base is so proud and grateful to you!

JV Keeps Rolling Against Novato 6-5

At home on Tuesday, April 26 against Novato, Redwood JV won its seventh game in a row; the last six of which have been decided by less than three runs. There were many déjà vu moments for the fans, including a nail-biting finish, strong pitching, contributions from many team members, key steals, and much advantage taken of the opposition’s mistakes.

Dane Goodman leads off the game with a triple

Dane Goodman leads off the game with a triple

The Giants came out of the gate looking strong, with starting pitcher Oliver Pearson and the Redwood defense shutting down the Hornet batters in the first two innings and Dane Goodman crushing the first Novato pitch of the game for a triple. Goodman then scored on a wild pitch. Mackie Skall started off the Giants’ effort in the second by working a walk. Josh Katz and Nick Paoli-Khadjenouri added singles and both came around to score with the help of stolen bases and Hornet errors.

Novato threatened in the third inning, scoring on a Redwood error. With a man on third and just one out, Pearson came through with two strikeouts to end the threat. In the home half of the inning, Redwood failed to capitalize on hits by Pearson and Drew Jacks and could not build on their 3-1 cushion.

Nicolas Paoli-Khadjenouri at third base

Nicolas Paoli-Khadjenouri at third base

James Thompson came on to pitch in the fourth inning and he quickly dispatched the first three batters he faced with two strikeouts and a fly-out. The Giants’ batters battled in the fourth, with Goodman reaching second on a single and a Hornet error. Noah Arrick then walked and took second base, while Goodman reached third, on a wild pitch. But the inning ended before either could score.

In the fifth inning, Novato tied the score 3-3. Defense on both sides prevailed until the bottom of the sixth, when Sean McKenna walked, Thompson advanced him with a sacrifice bunt and Michael Connors hit a ground ball moving McKenna to third. With the go-ahead run on third, two outs and Goodman (and his .480 batting average) at the plate, the Hornets chickened out and intentionally walked Goodman (his third intentional pass of the season). Goodman then promptly stole second base. McKenna scored on another wild pitch and Goodman scored when Noah Arrick singled. 5-3 Giants’ lead.

The team awaits a post-victory talk with coaches

The team awaits a post-victory talk with coaches

Novato rallied again in the top of the seventh, managing two more runs to tie things up.  Jacks battled for a walk to start off the Giants, and advanced to second when Luke Zlatunich pulled back from a bunt when he recognized a ball. Jacks quickly sped on to third base when the Hornets overthrew second. With a full count and a the winning run 90 feet away, Zlatunich came through with a walk-off single to score Jacks and end the game with another heart-stopping Giants victory.

The team heads to Terra Linda this Friday, April 29, to keep its mojo going. Fans, come out and cheer but bring along that blood pressure medication, just in case!

JV Offense Leads 7-6 Win Over San Rafael

James Thompson launches one from left field

James Thompson launches one from left field

After a rain out last Friday, the San Rafael Bulldogs visited Moody Field on Monday, April 25 for a make-up game. They came in barking loudly but went home with their tails between their legs. The JV offense, somewhat quiet of late, came alive against SR with a total of 11 hits, 3 walks, 4 stolen bases and 7 runs.

At first, the Giants were sluggish, as only Oliver Pearson produced a single in the first inning, and they allowed the Bulldogs one run in the top of the second. But in the bottom half of the frame, Sean McKenna, Josh Katz, Luke Zlatunich and James Thompson all had singles, with McKenna and Zlatunich also stealing bases, to give the Giants their first two runs.

Noah Arrick steals second

Noah Arrick steals second

San Rafael collected a couple of hits in the third inning, putting men at first and second. But, as has been its habit, the JV coaching staff called a pick-off play and it was executed perfectly, erasing the lead runner. The Giants followed that up with two more outs and then returned to the plate for more hits and stolen bases: In the third, Noah Arrick singled and stole second, Sean McKenna singled and stole second, and Josh Katz singled. McKenna eventually scored on a Bulldog error.

In the fourth, San Rafael attempted a comeback with three hits and a run to start things off, and then attempted to steal third, an endeavor thwarted by a collective Redwood infield effort. Blake Cusick then crushed the rally, striking out the next batter and inducing a fly out to centerfielder Tyler Warren. In the bottom of the fourth, Zlatunich walked and stole second base, Thompson singled, Warren singled scoring Zlatunich, Arrick took first on a hit-by-pitch, Pearson singled scoring Warren and Wyatt McCullough (pinch running for Thompson), and Pearson stole second before the inning ended.

Josh Katz slides into third

Josh Katz slides into third

With the Giants up 7-2, the Bulldogs dug in, plating three runs in the fifth and another in the sixth to make the game close in the seventh. Fortunately, it wasn’t enough, as Oliver Pearson came on for the save and quickly closed out the three Bulldog batters in the seventh inning, preserving the Giants’ win.

There were a lot of notable stats in this game, with many players stepping up to contribute. A great team effort! — Pearson (2 hits, 2 RBIs, 2 SB), Thompson (2 hits, 1 RBI), Katz (2 hits, 1 RBI, 1 run), Warren (1 hit, 1 RBI, 1 run), McKenna (1 hit, 1 RBI, 2 runs), Zlatunich (1 hit, 1 run, 1 SB) and Arrick (1 hit, 1 run, 1 SB) led the offense. And, of course, the pitching team of starter/winning pitcher Blake Cusick (4.1 IP), Tyler Warren (1.2 IP) and Oliver Pearson (1 IP, save) were terrific, combining for 10 Ks with just 5 hits allowed.

JV Sinks Pirates 1-0 in a Thrilling Pitcher’s Duel

Riley Marsh stares down the Drake pitcher

Riley Marsh stares down the Drake pitcher

April 21. For the fourth game in a row, Redwood JV kept its fans on edge while winning with a margin of less than three runs. Giants’ ace Oliver Pearson was nearly perfect on the mound, pitching a complete game one hitter, striking out ten (seven looking) and walking none to pick up his fifth win of the season. In the fourth inning, he struck out the side on just eleven pitches. Only two Drake players reached base the entire game, one on a Redwood error. One was left stranded during the second inning, and the other was gunned down by catcher Mackie Skall and second baseman Michael Connors while trying to steal second base in the sixth inning.

Despite Pearson’s pitching and the solid defense behind him, the game was scoreless through 6, thanks to an almost-as-good performance by Drake’s pitchers. Redwood accumulated just four hits during the first six innings (a double and a single by Dane Goodman, and singles by Luke Zlatunich and Pearson).

Then, in the top of the seventh, the Redwood offense rallied. Sean

Oliver Pearson safely dives back to first base after a sixth inning single

Oliver Pearson safely dives back to first base after a sixth inning single

McKenna and Riley Marsh each singled, and then Dane Goodman added a third single which was poorly fielded by Drake, allowing Sean McKenna to score the go-ahead (and eventual winning) run from second. Oliver Pearson looked as though he was about to widen the lead when he smashed a line drive up the middle, but Drake’s pitcher snagged the blistering shot to end the inning, leaving men on second and third. While it would have been nice to have some breathing room with the extra runs, Pearson did not need them. In the bottom of the 7th, Drake was retired in order, with the last out being a pop up to catcher Mackie Skall. The Giants had their second victory of the season over Drake.

JV and coaches enjoy a post-game discussion of their victory

JV and coaches enjoy a post-game discussion of their victory

Redwood is now 8-1 in the conference (11-3 overall). Come out and cheer them on at home tomorrow, Friday April 22, when they take on the San Rafael Bulldogs (weather permitting).

JV Win in a Close Game

April 19. Going into Spring Break, this author expressed hope that the JV squad would use its chance for rest and relaxation to stop unnecessarily increasing the blood pressure of its fans with extra-inning/close games. The bad news – nope, that didn’t happen; the good news – they won a close, extra-inning conference game again Justin Siena in Napa on Tuesday night.

Although Redwood uncharacteristically allowed 11 hits and committed a couple of errors, they did employ a “bend don’t break” defense that held Justin Siena to a total of 3 runs in 9 innings. On the season, the team boasts a 1.38 ERA, having allowed more than 3 runs in a game just twice.

Redwood’s leadoff hitter, Dane Goodman, started things off with a triple on the first pitch he saw in the top of the first inning, taking home when the Justin Sienna right fielder missed his cut-off man. Giants starting pitcher Blake Cusick, as he has all season, kept the JS hitters guessing with a baffling mix of off-speed pitches and well-located fastballs. Cusick whiffed 3 Braves in the first 2 innings, assisted by a nice inning-ending double play (turned by Josh Katz and Michael Connors) in the second. Unfortunately, JS plated two unearned runs in the third inning and loaded the bases with no outs in the fifth. Cusick was able to limit the damage, holding JS to just one more run after he induced two weak ground balls that were turned into force outs to catcher Luke Zlatunich and struck out his 5th batter of the game to end the threat.

Down 3-1, the Giants went into rally mode. In the top of the sixth, Oliver Pearson singled to center and Mackie Skall followed that by drawing a walk. Riley Marsh ran for Skall and Coach Epidendio signaled for a double steal, which the Giants executed perfectly, placing runners on second and third with only one out. The decision to advance the runners paid immediate dividends, as a wild pitch allowed Pearson to score and Marsh to advance to third. After Sean McKenna walked, Michael Connors hit what looked like a rally-killing 6-4-3 double play ball. But the feisty Connors hustled down the line to beat out the throw to first, allowing Marsh to score and tie the game!

Tyler Warren came on in relief in the bottom of the sixth and pounded the strike zone early and often, retiring the Braves in order and sending the game to extra innings.

There was no further scoring until the top of the ninth, when Josh Katz led off with a single. Dane Goodman then hit a hard ground ball that the Brave’s third baseman could not handle. With Drew Jacks at the plate, both runners advanced on a wild pitch, at which point the

Braves intentionally walked Jacks to load the bases. Oliver Pearson then smashed a 4-foot single (which is only fair, given how many times Pearson has hit the ball hard this year to no avail) that rolled up the third base line just far enough for Josh Katz to sprint home and avoid the sweep tag by the catcher. James Thompson then smacked a fly ball to centerfield, easily scoring the speedy Goodman with a nice insurance run. Warren had little trouble locking down the victory. After a lead off-walk in the home half of the ninth, he retired the side on a soft grounder, a strikeout and a fly ball to right that Jacks squeezed to clinch the 5-3 victory.

Game notes include Blake Cusick’s one earned run and 5 K’s in 5 innings and Tyler Warren picking up his first win of the season, pitching 4 innings of shut-out relief. Goodman, Pearson and Katz led Redwood with 2 hits each and scored 4 of the 5 Redwood runs.

The Redwood JV Giants remain atop the MCAL standings with a 7-1 league record (10-3 overall). But there are some very big rivalry games coming up. With just three weeks to go, every game counts, so come on out and root, root, root for the Giants! Next game is Thursday, April 21 at Drake, followed by San Rafael on Friday, April 22 at Moody.

JV Corrals Mustangs

On April 8, the Redwood JV entered Spring Break by running its MCAL record to 6-1 with a thrilling 3-1 extra-inning win on the road against a feisty San Marin squad. Oliver Pearson pitched brilliantly, earning the win with 7 innings of 1 run ball, scattering 5 hits and whiffing 11 while only walking 2. The San Marin pitcher was almost as good, though the Redwood hitters were making loud contact, shutting out the Giants until the 6th inning, when Dane Goodman scored from second on a Noah Arrick single.

The large Redwood contingent that made the Friday afternoon trip to Novato were hopeful that one run would be sufficient, given Pearson’s dominating performance. However, San Marin would not quit and evened the score in the bottom half of the 6th on a 2-out single. The damage could have been worse, as the RBI single was followed by a walk and another single, but Redwood came up with a huge play when shortstop Riley Marsh tagged out the potential go-ahead run at the plate after a rundown.

Redwood threatened again in the top of the 7th, when San Marin to decided to load the bases, and put a potential insurance run in scoring position, by intentionally walking center fielder Goodman. Unfortunately, the strategy worked, as Noah Arrick, who had a nice day at the plate (2-4 with a double and an RBI), just got under one and lofted a harmless fly ball to right for the third out, stranding the go-ahead run.

In the bottom of the 7th, things looked dire for the boys from Larkspur. A pinch hit, lead-off double to left (the first Pearson pitch that San Marin had pulled all day) put the winning run on second with no outs. Everyone expected San Marin to bunt the runner to third to set up an easy walk off on a fly ball or a grounder through a drawn-in infield. But the grizzled Redwood coaching staff had other ideas. Dusting off a Dean Kristy travel ball play from the hard streets of Tiburon, Riley Marsh decoyed the runner on second to follow him toward third while second baseman Michael Connors sneaked in behind the runner. Person wheeled and threw a perfect pick off to second, erasing the likely winning run. It was a huge momentum shift; the Mustangs were visibly (and audibly) deflated. The next two hitters went quietly and the game headed for extra innings. In the top of the 8th, right fielder Drew Jacks smacked a huge 1-out triple. That was immediately followed by a double by Michael Connors, with Jacks jogging home with the go-ahead run. Connors was then plated by a Mackie Skall single, putting the Giants up 3-1. Blake Cusick came on in the bottom of the 8th to close out San Marin and earn the save by retiring all three batters he faced.

At the end of the day, Redwood had 3 runs on nine hits and logged their 9th win of the season. At the break, the Giants have the best record in MCAL play. However, as the late, great, Yogi Berra said, it ain’t over until the fat lady sings and the young Redwood squad has a lot of work to do to maintain its position at the top of the standings. Hopefully, the team will maintain its stellar pitching and solid defense and the bats will more consistently produce runs so the fans do not have to go through the stress of extra-inning and one-run games. Redwood’s next game is at Justin-Siena on April 19. See you there!

JV Wins a Blowout and Then a Squeaker at Home

On Saturday, April 2, Redwood JV hosted Montgomery High of Santa Rosa, and came away with an 11-1 victory in five innings. Winning pitcher Blake Cusick faced just sixteen batters in four innings, allowing only two hits and one run while striking out four. Closer Tyler Warren shut the door, striking out two of three batters that he faced. The Redwood batters were unstoppable, racking up 11 hits and seven walks on their way to 11 runs. Of particular note were Mackie Skall with two hits and two RBIs, Luke Zlatunich with a double, a run and two RBIs, and Nicolas Paoli-Khadjenouri with a double, a run and an RBI.

Sean McKenna on base after driving Connors in for the win

Sean McKenna on base after driving Connors in for the win

JV’s record improved to 8-3 (5-1 in conference play) on Tuesday, April 5 with a 2-1 home win against Marin Catholic. The game featured an intensive pitcher’s duel, as Redwood’s Blake Cusick logged another strong performance, allowing just one run on two hits. Redwood’s defense had a number of important plays to keep the Wildcats off the board, including a key double play in the third, Dane Goodman’s lunge for the final out in the fourth and Drew Jacks’ timely grab in right field in the fifth. MC’s defense was also strong, and the sixth inning started with a 0-0 score. MC managed a run in the top of the sixth, and the pressure was on the Giants’ defense, with no outs and two runners on base. Ollie Pearson came on in relief to try to stem the rally and ended up with the win. When the Wildcat on second attempted to steal third, catcher Luke Zlatunich threw to shortstop Riley Marsh, who whipped the ball to third baseman Sean McKenna for the out. Pearson and the defense then got the next two outs to get out of the inning with no further damage. Redwood’s offense then cobbled together two runs in the bottom of the sixth to take the lead. Jacks led off the inning and reached second base on a couple of MC errors. Michael Connors moved Jacks to third with a single, and stole second. Zlatunich smacked a sacrifice fly, allowing Jacks to score Redwood’s first run. Junior Sean McKenna then came through with a huge single, allowing Connors to score the go-ahead run. In their final at bat, the Wildcats were unable to get past Pearson’s pitching, and the Giants were victorious. The boys travel to San Marin before heading into Spring Break and hope to keep their MCAL-leading record intact before hitting the slopes/beaches for some much deserved R&R.


Coach Rich Epidendio celebrates as Michael Connors scores the winning run against MC