5/23: After knocking the Giants out of the MCAL Championship, the Marin Catholic Wildcats completed the ‘One-Two Punch’ and knocked Redwood out of the NCS Baseball Championship with a 5-1 victory in Kentfield.
All-League Honorable Mention pitchers Jack Harris and Michael Benz squared off on the mound with Harris atoning for his early season loss against the Giants, earning the complete game victory while Benz took the loss for Redwood. Harris gave up just one run, scattering seven hits while striking out two. Benz was lifted in the second inning for sophomore Kyle Felder who gave up just one run in four and two-thirds innings of work.
Redwood threatened in the top of the first after Josh Cohen and Nicolas Belgum both singled to set the table for the heart of the order with one out. Cohen was erased at the plate on a grounder to third on a contact play and the inning ended on another ground out to third. “The same dog that’s bitten us for two months, bit us again today. We get runners on second base and we stop hitting, that’s been our problem for about two months. It’s not a lack of hits or a lack of baserunners, we just can’t drive guys in, and that happens sometimes.” Head Coach Mike Firenzi said after the game.
MC scored in the bottom of the first on a balk with a runner on third, and the Giants answered with a run of their own in the top of the second after Aubrey Sine led off the inning with a single to right and later scored when sophomore Jack Morkin ‘bit that dog back’ and singled with a runner in scoring position. The hot hitting Wildcats unleashed in the bottom of the second, scoring three runs on three hits. Benz was lifted for Felder who induced a double play to shortstop Anthony Pomilia who tossed to second baseman Genki LeClair who fired a strike to first to end the inning with the Wildcats up 4-1.
MC scored another run in the bottom of the fifth, but as it turned out they would just need two runs to end the Giants season.
Josh Cohen, Nicolas Belgum, Anthony Pomilia, Aubrey Sine and Genki LeClair all had hits with Jack Morkin adding two to the Giants total. The Giants ended the year with a 16-11 season record and a 12-6 MCAL record, ranking 9th in the NCS Division II Rankings.
Post Script: MC lost to Casa Grande in the next round of the DII Championship. Drake won the DIII Championship. Monte Vista and Casa Grande both lost their DI and DII Championship games. Of the six teams competing in the DI-DIII Championship games, the Giants played three teams and had a 3-1 record against them, beating Monte Vista and losing to Casa Grande in the pre-season while defeating Drake twice during conference play. “We were a legitimate NCS Championship team when we were at full strength, I’m proud of our team and what we accomplished this year,” Firenzi said in conclusion of the year.
5/21: The Giants earned their third straight NCS bid today with the #9 seed in the DII NCS Championship Playoffs and will face off against Marin Catholic on Tuesday at 5pm at MC. Redwood will likely face Jack Harris again who has a 1-1 record against the Giants, losing earlier in the year and winning in the MCAL Playoff game on Thursday night.
Redwood had five players who achieved All-League Honors
Dane Goodman was the only Giant this year to earn First Team All-League honors. Goodman ended the season with a .406 batting average which led the team and ranked #3 in the MCAL. He ranked #7 in the MCAL, boasting a .515 slugging percentage and his 18 runs scored ranked 5th in the league. He ranked 3rd in the league for On-Base-Percentage (.494) while knocking in 18 runs during the MCAL season.
Captain Nicolas Belgum earned Second Team honors for the second year in a row. In 2016 Belgum was a honoree as an outfielder and this year he earned the honor as an infielder, playing the majority of the season at first base and moving to second base later in the year. Belgum boasted a .321 batting average and ranked eleventh in the league with ten RBI’s. He tied for seventh in the league with twelve runs scored and was tenth in the league with a .448 on-base-percentage.
Anthony Pomilia also earned his second All-League award by earning Honorable Mention. Despite a shortened season, Pomilia ended the year with a .375 batting average which ranked ninth in the league. His twelve RBI’s ranked sixth in the MCAL.
Michael Benz earned Honorable Mention as a pitcher. His 1.39 ERA ranked seventh in the league and his two wins ranked twelfth. His thirty-seven strike-outs ranked sixth in the MCAL. He also had a 1.000 fielding percentage.
Trevor Foehr also earned Honorable Mention. Foehr played in the outfield, as a catcher and a pitcher placing him in the ‘Utility’ category. Foehr’s .385 batting average ranked seventh in the league and second on the team. He also boasted a .979 fielding percentage.
5/18: The Giants fell to the Marin Catholic Wildcats in the second round of the MCAL playoffs tonight at Albert Park. Marin Catholic moves on the face round-robin champion Drake on Friday night. The Giants will wait until the completion of the NCS seeding meeting to see if their season will continue or end with this bitter loss.
Blake Cusick took the mound for the Giants and held the Wildcats scoreless through three innings but after a base hit and a walk, he was relieved by Michael Benz. Benz induced a pop-out to Nicolas Belgum to record the first out of the inning. Marin Catholic advanced both runners into scoring position on a passed ball. With the infield drawn in, MC’s pinch-hitter roped a hard grounder to the right side that got through scoring the runner from third. Another run scored on the same play when the batter attempted to advance to second and the relay man sent the ball into centerfield, putting the Wildcats up 2-0. Benz struck out the next batter and the inning ended on a fly out to Belgum.
MC starting pitcher, Jack Harris, and Benz would both face the minimum batters for the next three innings with Harris striking out a total of seven while giving up just four hits in his complete game shut-out of the Giants.
Dane Goodman and Trevor Foehr had hits for Redwood and Anthony Pomilia accounted for half of the Giants hits, banging out two hits under the lights. Marin Catholic recorded five hits and had no errors, Redwood had two errors.
“We got beat tonight but the season but I don’t think the season is over”, Head Coach Mike Firenzi said after the game. “We’ll see what the NCS Seeding Committee says, we beat Drake twice and beat Monte Vista, we should get a seed and play next week.”
5/16: The Redwood Giants punched their ticket into the second round of the MCAL playoffs by beating the San Rafael Bulldogs 5-1 at Moody Field today. Redwood donned their home white uniforms with red sleeves and hats, a look that Head Coach Mike Firenzi has reserved only for the post season. Ironically, it is the same look that the 1977 team sported for their home games during their run to the mythical National Championship forty years ago.
Sophomore Kyle Felder got the start and held the Bulldogs scoreless through four innings, giving up just three hits while striking out three and walking none. Trevor Foehr pitched two innings, giving up an earned run on two hits and a strike out. Zack Tonnerre pitched the final inning, sending the Bulldogs down in order to secure the victory for the Giants.
After eight pitches in the bottom of the first inning, Dane Goodman and Josh Cohen both reached base on back-to-back walks. Nicolas Belgum sent them both into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt. Anthony Pomilia was intentionally walked to load the bases and face Aubrey Sine with one out. Sine blazed an 0-2 fastball into the hole between short and third for a single to put the Giants up 1-0, answering the intentional walk with his bat.
After a quiet second inning and top of the third, Josh Cohen led off the bottom of the inning with a drag bunt single and stole second. Nicolas Belgum dropped another bunt down the third baseline for a hit, advancing Cohen to third. Belgum stole second and after a strike out, Aubrey Sine plated Cohen for his second RBI of the game on a ground out to short to put the Giants up 2-0 after three innings.
Felder’s first pitch of the top of the fourth was sent high into the sky towards the middle of the diamond. Michael Benz called off his pitcher and caught the fly in at the mound. Felder then sent down the next two batters he faced on strike-outs, closing out his day with fifty pitches and setting himself up for the win, while making him eligible to pitch on Friday. Sophomore Jack Morken singled to lead off the bottom of the inning and was lifted for the speedy Drew Jacks. After a strike out, Michael Benz walked after fouling off a 3-2 pitch and was lifted for Riley Marsh. Marsh drew a pick-off attempt at first and the ball sailed over the first baseman’s head, plating Jacks from second and sending Marsh to third. Dane Goodman sent Marsh home on a grounder to short, putting the Giants up 4-0. Josh Cohen then wore a 2-1 curveball and stole second. With two outs, Nicolas Belgum reached on an error, scoring Cohen on the errant throw to put the Giants up 5-0 going into the top of the fifth.
Trevor Foehr came in and gave up a run to the Bulldogs in the fifth, but shut them down in the top of the sixth. Mackie Skall doubled to lead off the bottom of the sixth and was lifted for Genki LeClair. LeClair would be left standing on third with Cohen on first (after he walked) after Nicolas Belgum tested the Bulldogs centerfielder on a bomb that was caught over his shoulder in a full sprint as he was approaching the wall.
Zack Tonnerre closed out the game by striking out the side in the top of the seventh. The Giants fans cheered as their team hustled off of the field and filed into the post-game handshake line at home plate. There was no on-field celebration as this group of young men appears to be on a mission with today’s win getting them one step closer to their penultimate goal of winning their third MCAL Championship a feat they will have to accomplish ‘the hard way’ by sweeping the play-offs from the play-in game.
Kyle Felder earned his first Varsity win. Dane Goodman scored and knocked in a run. Josh Cohen had a hit and scored twice for the Giants. Nicolas Belgum, Jack Morken and Mackie Skall also had hits with Aubrey Sine adding a hit and two RBI’s to the fray.
Redwood will square off with Marin Catholic on Thursday night at 7pm at Albert Park with hopes of redeeming theirselves after their tough home loss to the Wildcats on May 5. The Wildcats are riding a six game winning streak, posting twelve-plus hits in each of their wins during this run.
On the other side of the draw, San Marin upset Tam today and will face Drake on Wednesday with the winner set to battle the victor of the Redwood-MC game for the championship. The Championship is set for Friday night.
5/11: The Varsity Giants closed out their regular season schedule with a win today and are on a two-game winning streak. Redwood needed the win to secure third place in the MCAL and did so in commanding fashion, beating Branson at College of Marin 6-3.
Blake Cusick earned his third win of the year and dropped his MCAL ERA to .78 which ranks third among pitchers in the MCAL, after giving up just one earned run in six innings. Cusick gave up just five hits, struck out five and only walked one. Sophomore Kyle Felder closed out the game, pitching a scoreless seventh inning. Felder was the workhorse on the JV League Champion team, and led the team with twelve appearances while boasting a .70 ERA. Remarkably, in forty-nine innings of work, Felder struck out fifty-seven and walked just five.
The Giants still managed to commit a couple of errors in the field and both of the miscues resulted in runs for the Bulldogs. The Giants offense would do enough to compensate for the blunders, scoring two runs in the second, adding another in the third and fifth innings and posted two more in the sixth for the six run total.
Anthony Pomilia, Gregory Block, and Josh Katz had hits for the Giants with Luke Zlatunich, and Josh Cohen each had two hits. Jack Morkin, another Sophomore call-up added two hits himself to the Giants total. In his first Varsity at-bat, Morkin smoked a grounder to right, for his first hit of his Varsity career and scored later in the inning. Jack hit .350 for the Junior Varsity Giants, with four doubles and four triples. Morkin singled up the middle in his second at-bat, knocking in Luke Zlatunich for his first Varsity RBI. Pomilia and Block also had RBI’s with Josh Katz knocking in two runs for the Giants.
The Giants will need to win three straight in order to win their third MCAL Championship in a row. The journey begins on Tuesday when they will host the San Rafael Bulldogs at Moody Field at 4:30. The Bulldogs handed the Giants a tough loss under the lights in a game that was won in the bottom of the seventh on a walk-off error.
A Giants loss would end their consecutive MCAL Championship streak and the Giants will fight for a bid into the NCS Tournament. If the Giants win, they will play in a rematch battle with Marin Catholic under the lights at Albert Park on Thursday. Marin Catholic earned the #2 seed and the first round bye. Tam hosts San Marin on the other side of the draw on Tuesday with the winner facing the #1 seed, Drake, on Wednesday. The recently installed pitch count limits will be a huge factor for every team who has earned a bid into the MCAL Championship Playoffs.
5/09: After losing two of their three games last week and plummeting to fourth place, the Giants were victorious today against the 2017 Round-Robin MCAL Champion-Drake Pirates. After a rain-shortened victory earlier in the year, many felt that a true victor wasn’t decided in their first match-up as the game ended in the top of the seventh with the bases juiced for Drake, with no outs and the Pirates down by a run. Today, chances of rain were 0%, with the sun shining and barely a breeze blew while the crowd was entertained by a cleverly engineered playlist, before the first pitch and between innings, that included just about every ‘rain’ song ever recorded from “Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head” to “Purple Rain”.
Today Drake and Redwood would more than make up for the lost inning from the game before, as it took nine innings to determine a winner. Michael Benz earned the win, throwing 101 pitches in eight innings of work, giving up a run while walking none and striking out five. “It was a phenomenally well-pitched game when we needed it”‘ Head Coach Mike Firenzi said after the game.
Despite committing two errors in the field, the Giants defense came through, making plays when they needed to, and making big plays when they had to. Benz’s second pitch of his outing resulted in a line drive down the third base line. Luke Zlatunich leaped and snagged the liner for the first out of the inning. Benz also kept Anthony Pomilia busy at short, as Pomilia had seven chances resulting in six assists in the field. Benz, himself, made a diving play on a fisted slow roller that was hit to ‘no-man’s-land’ to his right, he bounced up and fired a strike to Nicolas Belgum at first for an out. Josh Cohen made the ‘Play of the Day’ in left field on a rope down the line. Cohen, in a full sprint, dove and snatched a certain triple for an out.
Genki LeClair walked to start the game and set the table for the Giants. After a quick double-play, Nicolas Belgum was hit by a 2-1 curveball and advanced to second on a passed ball. Anthony Pomilia plated Belgum on a single to right putting the Giants up 1-0, a lead they would hold until the third inning. Drake scored on a shallow sacrifice fly to right. Drake aggressively tagged from third and the throw beat the runner by ten steps but short-hopped catcher Mackie Skall and they knotted the game after the ball bounded off of his chest.
Drake starter Owen Hamilton was relieved by Nick Roth in the third. With the score 1-1, Roth and Benz battled for the next six innings, working out of some tough spots, with Roth tallying strike outs by offsetting his plus fastball with nasty curveballs, a pitch he threw confidently throughout the game and on 3-2 counts. Roth ended the game with eight strike outs.
In the top of the ninth, Redwood dampened the Pirates chances of winning as the Giants scored two runs against the current reigning MCAL Champions. Gregory Block lead off the inning with a single up the middle. Mackie Skall advanced Block and reached base on a sacrifice bunt to the pitcher that was thrown away. Josh Cohen was intentionally walked to load the bases and put the force at the plate in order. After a strike-out, Trevor Foehr sent Block home earning the game-winning RBI by wearing a 1-1 fastball, putting the Giants up 2-1 with one out. Anthony Pomilia took an outside fastball for ball four, plating Cohen, giving the Giants an insurance run.
With the Giants up 3-1, Trevor Foehr came in and closed out the game while keeping the tradition alive of working his shortstop as Pomilia was responsible for two of the outs in the inning, including the final out of the game.
The Giants out-hit Drake, tallying eleven hits to Drake’s six. Genki LeClair, Trevor Foehr, Nicolas Belgum and Gregory Block all had hits, with Aubrey Sine adding a double and Mackie Skall banging two doubles for Redwood. Anthony Pomilia had three hits and was responsible for plating two runs, tallying two RBI’s. Again, Benz earned the win with Foehr earning the save.
The Giants close out the regular season on the road at College of Marin against Branson on Thursday. With a 5-12 record Branson will be playing the spoiler role as they are out of the MCAL playoffs but could send the Giants into a tie with San Marin.
The playoff seeding will not be settled until after games are concluded on Thursday. Drake has earned the #1 seed, but the #2 will be determined as MC squares off against Tam with both teams sharing a 12-5 record. If Redwood wins, they will share a tie with MC or Tam and the MCAL tie-breaker will determine the #3 seed. The following determines the #3 seed according to the MCAL Tie-Break rules: For all spots except for the last spot: 1. Head to head competition (Winning percentage) 2. Record above the tie (Winning percentage) 3. If a tie still exists between any two places. …use numbers drawn for place*
Odds are that the record above the tie will determine the #3 seed and considering Redwood is 2-0 against Drake and split (1-1) with MC and Tam, a .750 winning percentage will be hard to beat. But no matter, they will need to win three games next week to win their third MCAL Championship in a row.
5/05: After a their twenty-hit, seventeen-run commanding victory over Justin-Siena, the Varsity Giants lost their final home game of the regular season to Marin Catholic on Senior Day at Moody Field. In their last six meetings the Giants were undefeated against their cross-town rival, until today. With their victory over the Giants, Marin Catholic moved into third place with a 10-5 record, and dropped Redwood into fourth place, sending the Giants into a tie with San Marin with a 10-6 record. Drake also took home a victory, clinching the MCAL round-robin title, squandering the hopes of a three-peat MCAL round-robin Championship for the Giants. Redwood will need to win the MCAL playoffs in order to win their third pennant in a row. “It was a disappointing way to close out the year at our yard, but we still have two on the road next week and a shot at the MCAL Title”, Firenzi said after the game.
Zack Tonnerre took the loss, after giving up a run in the second and was pulled after giving up two runs on a Giants error with no outs in the third. Michael Benz would come in with the bases loaded and after a single and another Giants error, all three that were on base would score. Another run would cross the plate, taking the game to the bottom of the third with the Giants down 6-0. With one out, Trevor Foehr and Nicolas Belgum banged out back-to-back hits, but the inning ended after a pop-out and a fly-out.
MC added on, scoring after another Giants error. The Giants would again commit three errors in the field. With the score 7-0 in the bottom of the fourth, Aubrey Sine led off the inning with a double to left, lifting the hopes of the Giants faithful that they could cut into the lead, but the Giants went down in order, forcing the Wildcats defense to make plays. The Giants would leave twelve runners on base.
Benz sent the ‘Cats down in order in the top of the fifth but gave up a run in the sixth after yielding three consecutive hits, taking the game to the bottom of the sixth with the Giants down 8-0. Gregory Block worked a walk on eight pitches, and Jackson Barry reached base on a dropped fly ball to right. Genki LeClair would send Block and Barry home after another Wildcat error, but the inning ended despite another hit by Trevor Foehr. Foehr would end the day with three hits in the Giants losing effort.
Foehr came in to pitch the seventh inning and shut the Wildcats down, taking the game to the bottom of the seventh with the Giants down by six runs, 8-2. Anthony Pomilia led off the inning and smoked a ball to center that was dropped, landing him on first. Luke Zlatunich and Aubrey Sine walked, loading the bases with no outs. A strike-out would follow and Jackson Barry would send Pomilia home on a sacrifice fly. With two outs and the score 8-3, the game ended on a ground out to the cheers of the MC fans as the Wildcat players celebrated on Moody Field.
Genki LeClair, Aubrey Sine and Jackson Barry had hits for the Giants, with Nicolas Belgum collecting two hits and Trevor Foehr adding three to the Giants total. Tonnerre and Foehr had two strike-outs on the mound, with Benz adding three.
The Giants will settle the score on the road with Drake at 4:30 on Tuesday, after their first game was ended in a rain-shortened 1-0 victory, a date that Drake has had circled on their calendar since that day. Redwood is currently ranked #7 in the NCS DII Division while Drake is ranked #2.
Redwood has an outside chance of earning the #2 seed (which comes with a first round bye) in the MCAL play-offs. If Redwood wins their next two games and Tam loses to San Marin and Marin Catholic, San Marin would then need to lose their game to Justin-Siena and Marin Catholic would need to lose one of their next two games against Novato. Simply put, Tam needs to lose their next two games, San Marin needs to lose one, and Marin Catholic needs to lose two while the Giants sweep.
Seedings will all be determined this week and game results on Tuesday will make the muddy play-off picture a bit clearer, but no matter, the Giants need a win at Drake on Tuesday.
5/4: The Giants broke out of their three-game slump in a commanding way with a 17-0 victory over Justin-Siena today at Moody Field. Josh Cohen, Blake Cusick and Noah Arrick combined for the shut out on the mound for the Giants, with Cusick earning the win, pitching 5 2/3 innings while giving up just four hits, striking out five and walking none. Noah Arrick closed out the seventh, sealing the victory for Redwood.
The Giants scored a run in the first, two in the second, and blew the game open with nine runs in the third. Redwood would score two more in the fourth and drop another crooked number, scoring three in the fifth. Despite getting two runners on, the sixth inning would be the only inning the Giants wouldn’t score. In the six innings of offense, Redwood would amass twenty hits, score seventeen runs and strike out only two times. Redwood’s defense stepped up, committing just one error in the field. “We needed this today” Head Coach Mike Firenzi said after the game, “We were good on the mound, Cusick came out and did a hell of a job. The bottom line is that we haven’t been playing up to our potential, hopefully today is a sign of things to come.” Blake Cusick earned his second win of the year and has given up just one earned run in his last ten and a third innings of work.
Luke Zlatunich had one hit on the board, but reached base two other
times on hard hit balls that could have been scored as hits, and scored two Giants runs. Riley Marsh also had a hit, breaking out on a base hit up the middle. Mackie Skall also had a single while adding another RBI on a sacrifice fly. Skall completed his 1-1-1-1 day by scoring. Gregory Block came in to relieve Skall behind the plate, but it was at the plate that Block made the difference with a single and a double, scoring twice while knocking in a run. Drew Jacks got the start in the outfield and banged out two hits, scoring twice, while knocking in three runs. Genki LeClair and Trevor Foehr both had two hits each with Foehr scoring twice while knocking in two runs. Nicolas Belgum, Anthony Pomilia and Aubrey Sine combined for nine hits, each collecting three. Sine knocked in one, Belgum two, with Pomilia plating three. Aubrey Sine has five hits in the last two games.
The Giants are now tied for second place (10-5) with Tam and will host their cross-town rival, Marin Catholic, on Friday at 4:30 at Moody Field. Marin Catholic has a 9-5 record and will likely start their ace, Jack Harris on the mound. Ironically, Harris is a 2016 transfer to MC from Tam. Oddly, the Wildcats still have a rain-out game to make up with Novato, despite the sunny weather we have had in the last two weeks. Drake still stands atop the MCAL Conference after their win today, they boast a 13-2 record with three games to play. With just one more win, Drake will win the round-robin and lock down the #1 seed for the MCAL play-offs. The Giants turn around and play Drake on Tuesday. Friday’s MC vs. Redwood game looms large, as the winner will improve their chances of earning the #2 seed.
5/2: The Giants continued their tailspin, losing on the road in a close battle with the Red-Tailed Hawks. With injuries and battle fatigue plaguing the Giants roster, Coach Firenzi and his coaching staff are filling holes, trying new ideas and losing sleep trying to find the magic formula that will get them back to their winning ways. Of their original 22-man roster, nine players have been taken down to injury or illness, causing them to sit out at least a game. Mononucleosis, a bleeding ulcer, near-concussion, arm injuries (that have spurned MRIs for two separate shoulders and two separate elbows), and a torn up knee-these are just a few of the injuries that have impacted the Varsity squad this year. Not sure if you noticed, but captain Henry Zeisler (presently ranked #2 in the MCAL with a .423 batting average) hasn’t played since March 21. Starting pitcher Oliver Pearson (presently ranked #4 in the MCAL with four wins) hasn’t pitched since April 4. Looking back to their MCAL opener on March 14, only four players who started in the loss against San Marin, started today.
Another void that you won’t see in any stat sheet is that Assistant Coach Joel Russo has departed after the win against Novato. Russo has been a pillar in Firenzi’s coaching staff, coaching first base while working with the the infield and defensive alignments. Russo was a stand-out player for Firenzi when he coached at Marin Catholic. After a professional baseball journey in Italy, he was one of the first to get the call from Firenzi after he was named Head Coach at Redwood. Russo departed to attend the Firefighters Academy, to follow in the footsteps of his father who was a fireman in San Francisco. Since Russo’s departure, Redwood has lost their last three games, committing nine errors in the field.
One of the four players who started in the opener against San Marin is Nicolas Belgum. Belgum is a returning starter and moved to first base from the outfield to fill the void left by Zack Kopstien who graduated and is pitching for MIT this year. With a pitching staff needing rest, Belgum was called on chew up some innings on the mound as he got the start today. After the Giants went down in the top of the first, Tam’s lead-off batter launched the second pitch Belgum threw over the left field wall. After beaning the next batter, catcher Mackie Skall recorded the first out by throwing him out on an attempted steal. Belgum walked the next two batters but was able to work out of the inning with the Giants down 1-0.
Luke Zlatunich doubled to lead off the second, but the top half of inning ended with the tying run in scoring position. Tam kept the pressure on, scoring two more runs in the bottom of the frame taking the game to the top of the third with the Giants down 3-0.
Aubrey Sine led off the inning with a single to left. Mackie Skall followed with a single up the middle and with two runners on, Josh Cohen dropped a drag bunt down the third baseline and beat the throw to load the bases. Jackson Barry scored Sine from third on a ground-out to the right side, cutting into the Hawks lead. Nicolas Belgum then helped his own cause by roping a 3-1 fastball to left, plating Skall. Anthony Pomilia ripped the first pitch he saw up the middle, tying the score 3-3. The Giants threat was stalled on a 6-4-3 double play. After a lead-off single, the Giants defense stepped up with a double-play of their own. Tam attempted a hit-and-run, Trevor Foehr nabbed a sinking liner to right and doubled off the runner at first when he threw a dart to Josh Katz. Belgum would induce another fly out to Foehr to end the inning with the score tied 3-3.
After having a hand in all three outs in the bottom of the third, Trevor Foehr led off the top of the fourth with a drag bunt single, but was quickly erased on an attempted steal. Josh Katz then walked and Aubrey Sine collected his second hit of the day, tomahawking a high fastball down the third baseline. Tam would end the inning on another double-play. After walking the first batter and giving up a hit to the next, Belgum was lifted for Trevor Foehr, sending Drew Jacks to right as Belgum went back to familiar ground at first. A fielder’s choice would send in Tam’s fourth run of the game and after a ground-out to Anthony Pomilia, Foehr struck out the next batter to end the inning with Tam leading 4-3.
The Giants went down quietly in the top of the fifth and Tam scored an insurance run in the bottom half on a single, an error and another fielder’s choice taking the game to the top of the sixth with the score 5-3 in favor of the Red-Tailed Hawks.
After the Giants went down 1-2-3, Foehr sent the Hawks down in the bottom of the sixth despite giving up a walk and a hit.
With two outs in the top of the seventh, Dane Goodman walked but the game ended after pinch-hitter Riley Marsh squared up a 2-2 fastball that landed in the glove of the centerfielder.
Again the Giants would out-hit their opponent 8-7, but would tally two errors in the field while Tam had none. Belgum suffered the loss, giving up four runs while giving up five hits. Josh Cohen, Nicolas Belgum, Anthony Pomilia, Luke Zlatunich, Mackie Skall and Trevor Foehr all had hits with Aubrey Sine breaking out with two hits of his own.
Firenzi and the coaching staff will go back to the drawing board to find the starting line-up that will get the Giants back to their winning ways as they face Justin-Siena at home on Thursday and turn around to play Marin Catholic at home on Friday. Both games are at 4:30. Redwood remains in second place behind Drake, but are in a log-jam as they are tied with several teams. Optimists say that Redwood will earn the second seed for the MCAL play-offs. Super-optimists say that Redwood can still win the round robin as with four games left, they are three games behind Drake who they play next Tuesday. Pessimists say that the Giants won’t make the play-offs, with Branson or Terra Linda somehow winning a tie-breaker. The next four games will settle the dispute.
4/28: This has been a ‘Season of Firsts’ for Head Coach Mike Firenzi and the Varsity Giants. For the first time since taking over the helm at Redwood, his Varsity squad is not sitting atop the MCAL standings in first place, a position they held for two consecutive years. With a 9-3 MCAL record, the Giants sit in second place alone. Today, a career first would haunt Firenzi as his team lost to the Terra Linda Trojans, for the first time, this being his 25th year as a head coach in the MCAL. “I don’t really care about personal records, but I do know that my teams were at least 49-0 against TL until today”, Firenzi said after the game. “They they hit us hard and deserve credit, they are on a roll.”
Another first, the Giants were outhit by their MCAL opponent for the first time this year. Terra Linda amassed a total of fifteen hits, the highest total given up by Giants pitching this year. Redwood answered with nine hits of their own. Ironically, the Trojans didn’t have a field to practice on Thursday, but the word is that instead of taking the day off or watching their underclassmen play on their field, they went to the batting cages at McGinnis Park and hit Thursday afternoon. It would seem that the pitching machines have a “Redwood Pitching” setting as nine Trojans contributed to the hit parade, four of which had multiple hits.
Again, in usual fashion, the Giants took an early lead, scoring three runs in the bottom of the second inning. Luke Zlatunich led off with a walk and stood on second after an errant pick-off attempt. Aubrey Sine bunted him to third and Michael Connors hit a fly to left, deep enough to score Luke. With two outs, Trevor Foehr singled setting the table for newcomer Jackson Barry. Barry was brought up from the JV recently due to injuries to Michael Connors and Pascal Brassey and made his first start today. Barry roped a 1-2 curveball through the hole between first and second for another first, Jackson Barry’s first at-bat at the Varsity level resulted in a hit. Josh Katz went in to run for Barry and Dane Goodman belted the third Giant hit in a row, scoring Foehr and Katz, putting the Giants up 3-1 going into the top of the third.
Terra Linda would score three runs in the top of the third and three more in the top of the fifth while holding the Giants scoreless the rest of the game. Zack Tonnerre pitched two innings, giving up two runs while striking out two. Michael Benz suffered his second loss in a row, giving up three earned runs while striking out six in three and a third innings. Blake Cusick pitched the final inning and two thirds, shutting down the potent TL offense, giving up no runs and no hits while striking out three. The Giants committed three errors in the field.
Dane Goodman, Anthony Pomilia, Luke Zlatunich and Michael Connors had hits for the Giants with Trevor Foehr and Jackson Barry adding two hits each to the team total. Goodman would also knock in two runs on the day.
The Giants are on the road on Tuesday to face Tam at 4:30. The Red-Tailed Hawks are in third place with an 8-5 record, the Giants are in second place with a 9-4 record. In order for the Giants to execute another first (the first time they have come from behind to win the round-robin), they will most likely need to go on a five-game winning streak, starting on Tuesday.
4/25: The Varsity Giants lost a heartbreaker under the lights by way of a seventh inning walk-off sacrifice fly by the San Rafael Bulldogs. Zack Tonnerre got the start for Redwood and gave up just one earned run in 2 2/3 innings of work, on one hit while striking out two. Michael Benz came in with two outs in the bottom of the third and would take a tough loss, after giving up just one earned run on four hits, while striking out six.
In usual fashion, the Giants drew first blood on the top of the first inning when Dane Goodman led off the game with seven pitch walk, Josh Cohen sent Goodman to second on a sacrifice bunt and Nicolas Belgum plated Goodman with a single to left but Belgum was thrown out trying to advance to second. With two outs, Anthony Pomilia doubled to center, Luke Zlatunich walked and Aubrey Sine wore a 3-2 fastball to load the bases. Genki LeClair singled to left, scoring Pomilia. As the left fielder set to throw the ball in, Luke Zlatunich rounded third and headed home. A perfect throw to the plate nabbed Zlatunich at home, ending the top of the inning with the Giants up 2-0.
Tonnerre walked the first batter he faced in the bottom of the third, but battery-mate Mackie Skall sent the pinch runner back to the dugout on a perfect thrown to Anthony Pomilia who dropped a great tag on an attempted steal, After a ground-out and another walk, Tonnerre was lifted for Michael Benz. Benz gave up a single, giving up a run but picked off the runner at second to end the inning with the Giants up 2-1 after three.
The Giants went down in order in the top of the fourth and San Rafael tied the game on two hits and a fielder’s choice taking the game to the top of the fifth, knotted 2-2.
Pascal Brassey led off the top of the fifth with a single and Dane Goodman sent Brassey to third on a single to right. With the Giants threatening, San Rafael came in with their ace, Angelo Zorn. Goodman stole second and Josh Cohen watched a 2-2 curveball bounce to the backstop, scoring Brassey and advancing Goodman to third. Nicolas Belgum walked and with runners on first and third, Anthony Pomilia grounded out and in a bizarre double-play, Dane Goodman was also called out at the plate as the umpire ruled that Pomilia was outside of the baseline, impeding the throw from the first baseman. San Rafael answered with a run in the bottom of the frame after two Giants errors, taking the game to the top of the six with the score 3-3.
Luke Zlatunich led off the sixth with a bomb to center that bounded to home plate of the softball field and stood on third with no outs. Two ground outs and a strike out would follow, leaving Zlatunich stranded at third. Another Giants fielding error put the Bulldogs lead-off batter on first, but Benz sent the next three batters he faced down on strike-outs, taking the game to the top of the seventh tied 3-3.
Pascal Brassey led off the top of the seventh with a double to left but got caught off the bag and Zorn closed out the inning with a strike out and a grounder back to the mound, after Zorn tossed the ball to first for the third out he screamed “Let’s Go!’ as he sprinted back to the dugout. Benz struck out the lead off batter to face Zorn with one out. Angelo laced a double down the line. After an intentional walk to the next batter, both runners stole on a 0-1 pitch, putting them on second and third. With the count 0-2, a short fly ball was caught for the second out of the inning but on the exchange, the ball was dropped and Zorn crossed the plate to the cheers of the San Rafael crowd.
Dane Goodman, Nicolas Belgum and Genki LeClair each had a hit with Pomilia, Zlatunich and Brassey each tallying two hits each for the Giants. The Giants out-hit the Bulldogs nine to five, but the Bulldogs were better in the field as they committed just one error to the Giants four.
The Giants are at home on Friday where they will face the Terra Linda Trojans at 4:30. Terra Linda is riding a three-game winning streak, taking down Branson, Marin Catholic and Novato in their last three games.
4/21: The Varsity Giants put another notch in the win column with a 11-1 victory against the Novato Hornets. Blake Cusick earned his firs win of the season, pitching 4 2/3 innings, giving up the lone Hornet run in the first inning.
In usual fashion, the Giants came out swinging and scored two runs to start the game, highlighted by a one-out single by Josh Cohen that was followed by two consecutive walks to Nicolas Belgum and Anthony Pomilia to load the bases. Luke Zlatunich knocked Cohen home on a sacrifice fly to center. Belgum scored two pitches later on a passed ball and after Novato scored their lone run in the bottom of the inning, the Giants were up 2-1, the closest the game would ever be.
After a quiet second inning, Dane Goodman led off the top of the third with a single to right. Josh Cohen would bang his second hit of the day, putting runners on first and second with no outs. Belgum advanced the runners on a deep drive to center. Anthony Pomilia and Luke Zlatunich belted back-to-back doubles clearing the bases, and Zlatunich would score on a sacrifice fly by Genki LeClair. Aubrey Sine reached base on a fielders choice and scored after Mackie Skall reached base on an error. The inning was punctuated with a single by Pascal Brassey but ended on a line drive to center with the Giants up 7-1. Cusick sent the Hornets down in the bottom of the third, and duplicated the feat in the bottom of the fourth.
Zlatunich led off the top of the fifth with a walk. After a strike out, Genki LeClair walked putting runners on first and second. Both would advance on a wild pitch and advance again on a passed ball. Mackie Skall then ripped a line drive right at the shortstop, a ball that probably should have been caught but was hit so hard it bounded off of his glove and was scored as an error, scoring LeClair, putting the Giants up 9-1. Brassey and Goodman would follow with back-to-back singles, scoring Riley Marsh who relieved Skall as a pinch runner. Brassey scored on an unfortunate balk and the half inning would end with the Giants up 11-1. After getting two quick outs in the bottom of the inning, Cusick gave up a walk and was lifted for Trevor Foehr. Foehr gave up a single but ended the inning with a strike out.
The Giants didn’t threaten in the top of the sixth and Foehr faced just four batters in the bottom of the inning, sending the game to the top of the seventh with the Giants up 11-1.
Gregory Block led off the top of the seventh with a hard ground out to first and Josh Katz smoked the first pitch he saw to left for a single. Andreas Gleckman sent Katz to second on a hard hit grounder to second and the Giants threat ended when Drew Jack roped a ground out to short.
Michael Benz came in to close out the game and stuck out all three batters he faced, needing just thirteen pitches to end the game.
Anthony Pomilia, Luke Zlatunich, and Josh Katz had hits, with Dane Goodman, Josh Cohen, and Pascal Brassey adding two hits each to the Giants nine-hit assault.
The Giants are on the road on Tuesday night, under the lights at Albert Park against San Rafael. San Rafael is riding a three game winning streak and is fighting for a play-off spot with a 5-5 MCAL conference record.
4/20: The Giants came into the game ranked by the San Francisco Chronicle as the tenth best High School Baseball team in the Bay Area, and moved their National Ranking to 1,328. Redwood suffered a black eye when San Marin beat them in the MCAL opener. Since that time, Redwood has won all eight of their contests while San Marin has won just three more games and ranks 5,139 in the Nation.
In usual fashion, the Giants threatened early as Dane Goodman led off the game with a single, but in unusual fashion, the Giants would be sent out to their positions in the field without scoring a run in the first inning.
Redwood starting pitcher Zack Tonnerre held San Marin to just three hits. San Marin starter Jason Franks also held the Giants to three hits. Both pitchers yielded just one earned run between them, but it would be a costly Giants fielding error would send two Mustangs across the plate in the bottom of the second inning, putting them up 3-0. The Giants would end up committing three errors on the day.
Genki LeClair reached on an error to lead off the top of the third inning for Redwood and would advance to second on a sacrifice bunt by Mackie Skall. Skall would end the day with three plate appearances without an at-bat, as he dropped two prefect sacrifice bunts and walked his last time up. Pascal Brassey sent LeClair to third on a ground out to the right side of the infield. Dane Goodman sent LeClair home on a grounder that was misplayed by the shortstop. After two and a half innings, both teams had committed two errors apiece, and Redwood’s lone run came without getting a hit.
With the Mustangs up 3-1, Tonnerre would shut down the Mustangs for the rest of the game. The Giants bats went silent, despite a single to lead off the top of the fifth by Genki LeClair and another single to lead off the top of the seventh by Aubrey Sine.
Tonnerre took a tough loss, striking out three while walking two in six complete innings of work.
The Giants hope to turn the tide and get back to their winning ways as they are on the road again tomorrow, as they face Novato at 4:30.
4/18: The Varsity Giants ended the first half of the MCAL season, earning their eight consecutive win and did it with an epic first inning. Starting Redwood pitcher Zack Tonnerre sent the Bulldogs down in order in the top of the first. Dane Goodman led off the bottom of the inning roping the first pitch he saw up the middle. Josh Cohen would duplicate the feat, lacing the first pitch he saw up the middle, sending Goodman to third. Two pitches, two Redwood hits. Nicolas Belgum worked the count and laced a 3-1 fastball to center, scoring Goodman. Anthony Pomilia then crushed the first pitch he saw, resulting in a double, scoring Cohen and Belgum, putting the Giants up 3-0, after only eight pitches. After a strike out, Aubrey Sine sent Pomilia to third on a deep sacrifice fly to center. Michael Connors sent Pomilia home with a single to left. Mackie Skall then singled, and Pascal Brassey singled, loading the bases while tallying the Giants seventh hit of the inning. A ground-out ended the inning with the Giants leading the Bulldogs 4-0.
The first three Branson batters’ fate in the top of the second would be determined by Tonnerre as he sandwiched a walk between two strike outs. Mackie Skall had a shot at ending the inning on a steal of second, but had to work his throw around the batter who leaned across the plate. After being questioned by Head Coach Mike Firenzi, the plate umpire concluded that the batter did not intentionally get in the way of the throw, putting a runner in scoring position. Tonnerre induced a routine grounder that would seem to end the inning, but an errant throw sent Branson’s first run of the game across the plate. The top of inning would end on a fly-out to Josh Cohen with the Giants up 4-1. After securing the final out of the top of the inning, Cohen led off the bottom of the frame with a double to left. Nicolas Belgum then walked and Anthony Pomilia singled, scoring Cohen for his third RBI of the game. Luke Zlatunich roped a deep drive to center, scoring Belgum, putting the Giants up 6-1 going into the top of the third.
Another Giants blunder in the field put a runner on base and after a walk the runner would be standing on third with one out. Tonnerre was lifted for Trevor Foehr after getting seven outs four on strike-outs. The second Bulldogs run would cross the plate on a fielders choice. Foehr would strike out the last batter of the inning. Mackie Skall led off the bottom of the inning with a walk and was lifted for the speedy Riley Marsh. Marsh advanced to second on a wild pitch and Dane Goodman hit a single to short, sending Marsh home on an errant throw to first that he would have easily beat out. Nicolas Belgum followed with a single but the Giants threat would end there on a line drive to second. After three full innings, the Giants had the lead 7-2, with a goose egg in the hit column for the Bulldogs.
Foehr would need just six pitches to get through the top of the fourth and the Giants went down in order in the bottom of the inning. A lead-off walk would end up scoring for Branson, and after giving two hits, a couple of runs and another walk, Foehr was lifted for Michael Benz with the score 7-3 and the bases loaded. The inning ended on a fly-out to Belgum. Foehr recorded seven outs, striking out one while giving up two earned runs. Redwood threatened but couldn’t capitalize in the bottom of the inning as the inning ended on an unassisted double-play by Branson second baseman Alec Ritch.
Benz worked through the top of the sixth without giving up a run and the Giants added their ninth run of the game in the bottom. With two outs, Aubrey Sine, Michael Connors and Mackie Skall walked, loading the bases. Pascal Brassey singled Sine home, putting the Giants up 9-4.
A fly-out to center was followed by a single. Benz struck out the next batter he faced but planted a 1-2 fastball into the arm of the next batter. The game ended on a fly out to Pomilia, sealing the Giants victory, earning Foehr his first win of the year. Benz earned the save, recording the final seven outs of the game.
Michael Connors and Mackie Skall both had a hit each with Dane Goodman, Josh Cohen, Nicolas Belgum, Pascal Brassey and Anthony Pomilia racking two hits each. Goodman, Connors, Pomilia and Aubrey Sine scored, with Cohen and Belgum each scoring twice. Belgum, Luke Zlatunich and Michael Connors each knocked in a run with Brassey knocking in two and Pomilia plating three.
The Giants face the only team without a losing record against them as they are on the road in San Marin on Thursday.
4/06: With a storm approaching the Bay Area, all MCAL baseball games that were scheduled for Friday were moved to Thursday. The weather report promised a 30% chance of rain at 4pm, moving to 90% at 5pm and staying steady through Friday. It was an obvious formula, once it started to rain, it wasn’t going to stop. The key was to get the game in before the clouds opened up.
For CIF High School Baseball, a game is considered complete after five innings of play (unless the home team is ahead after 4 1/2 innings of play, they would not need to bat in the bottom of the inning and would be declared the winner). If the game is called after five innings, the final score will be determined by the last completed inning of play.
In an effort to get the game in, game time was moved to 4pm and with heavy cloud cover and a strong frigid breeze blowing, Redwood starting pitcher Zach Tonnerre slung the first pitch of the game. Fittingly, Tonnerre opened the game with a strike, and after just seven pitches, he struck out the first two batters he faced. Zach closed out the inning by doing what not many pitchers have been able to do this year, getting Drake superstar Nick Roth out on a grounder to Nicolas Belgum. Nick Roth got the start for Drake, boasting five wins and an ERA below .50, Roth showed why he is on the top five in the MCAL in the three relevant pitching stats-ERA, Wins and Strikeouts and sent the Giants down in order in the bottom of the inning. So, after a quick inning, it became evident that it would be a pitching dual.
Tonnerre would give up just a walk in the top of the second, and Roth would only yield a single to Luke Zlatunich in the bottom of the inning. With winds picking up, an occasional rain drop could be felt as big, dark, ominous clouds loomed in the West, making their way to Moody Field.
Drake would get two runners on in the top of the third but would be sent out to the field with out scoring again. Dane Goodman walked in the bottom of the inning, but that would be the only Redwood threat of the frame. Tonnerre and Roth, Redwood and Drake, continued to square off, but like evenly matched heavyweight fighters, they would throw punches without landing that knock-out punch.
Drake had Redwood on the ropes in the top of the fourth, when they put the first two batters on base on an error and a walk. Tonnerre bounced back by striking out the next batter and ended the inning in a flurry with a double play on a grounder that he fielded cleanly, tossed to Brassey at second who completed the inning ending double-play with a perfect throw to Nicolas Belgum at first. In the bottom of the inning, with two outs, Aubrey Sine roped a single to left, but like Drake just 1/2 inning before, the threat would end with one runner left on base.
Small intermittent rain drops turned to a more steady, heavier rain in the top of the fifth. Tonnerre made quick work of the inning sending Pirates down 1-2-3 in the top and Roth would counter, sending the Giants down 1-2-3 in the bottom. So after five full innings of play, with rains now steady, a complete game could be declared but a winner could not as the score remained knotted at 0-0.
With one out in the top of the sixth, Nick Roth singled to short but would be erased on the Giants second double-play of the game on a grounder to Brassey, who tossed to Anthony Pomilia at second, who bare-handed the ball for a quick toss to Belgum at first. Dane Goodman led off the bottom of the sixth with a walk and was advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Josh Cohen. As the rain continued, Roth kicked the wet clay out of his spikes as he prepared to face Nicolas Belgum. Belgum sent Goodman to third by banging the Giants third hit of the day with a single up the middle. Drake would pitch-out in an attempt take down Goodman at third, but Goodman timed the throw to third perfectly and bolted towards the plate. The Pirates third baseman quickly threw to home and Goodman slid under the tag and was met with a chorus of cheers as the home plate umpire signaled and screamed “Safe!” The inning ended with the Giants up by a run.
As promised, the steady rain continued, wet dirt on the field now glistened as puddles began to form as the ominous black could that once lingered in the West now stood ominously above Moody Field. Tonnerre would walk the lead off batter and would be lifted for reliever Michael Benz. Benz induced a grounder to first, but with slippery conditions, the ball was bobbled and after the mud settled, Drake now had runners on first and second with no outs. Redwood transitioned into their bunt defense and on cue, the Drake batter squared to bunt. A riding inside pitch caught him in the arm which left the bases loaded and no outs. With the rain pounding, the umpires called a quick meeting and pronounced a rain delay. Both teams huddled under the cover of their respective dugouts as fans waited for a break in the weather. Five minutes later the umpires would call the game, erasing what happened in the top half of the seventh, reverting the score to the last completed inning.
“I’m disappointed we couldn’t finish the game. But, there was no guarantee that they would score, there was no guarantee that if they did, we wouldn’t score in the bottom of the seventh”, Head Coach Mike Firenzi said after the game. “We will never know…but Tonnerre threw a hell of a game and I’m happy we got the win.” It may all be settled on May 9th, when Redwood travels to Drake in the second to last game of the season. Redwood is now back in first place in the MCAL, tied with the Pirates with a 7-1 record.
Nicolas Belgum, Luke Zlatnunich and Aubrey Sine had hits for the Giants with Dane Goodman scoring the lone, winning run. Tonnerre earned his fourth win of the year, striking out six in a shut-out effort.
Redwood will come off of the break hosting Branson at Moody Field on Tuesday, April 18 at 4:30.
4/04: The Giants made the short commute to Kentfield to face off against the Wildcats. Both teams share a 5-1 record and are tied for second place. The winner of today’s game would stand alone in second place, just one game behind Drake.
Redwood came into the game riding a five game winning streak and would keep the streak alive with a 4-2 victory over their cross-town rival. Oliver Pearson gave up just one hit on his way to his fourth victory of the year with Michael Benz closing out the game to earn the save, without yielding a hit.
The Giants drew first blood in the top of the first inning after Dane Goodman led off by reaching on an error and was quickly advanced to second on a single by Josh Cohen. Nicolas Belgum followed with another single, loading the bases with no outs. In his season debut, Anthony Pomilia started his Redwood career with a RBI, knocking in Goodman on a ground-out to second. With two outs, Luke Zlatnich banged a single to left, driving in Cohen and Belgum. Michael Connors singled up the middle, but a fly out would end the inning with the Giants up 3-0 going into the bottom of the first. “It was a great way to start the game, Pomilia did his job by hitting the ball to the right side and Luke had that clutch hit with two outs. It’s always good to get on top early, it takes some of the pressure away”, Head Coach Mike Firenzi said after the game. In the bottom of the first, with a runner on and two outs, Pascal Brassey stole a hit with his glove, leaping high for a liner that was roped over his head, ending the inning to a chorus of Giants cheers.
The hit parade continued for the Giants in the second inning when Mackie Skall singled to left and Dane Goodman singled to center. Goodman’s single would be Redwood’s sixth hit in their first ten at-bats of the game. Skall and Goodman would be the third and fourth runners left on base for the Giants, as the inning ended with the next three batters going down in order. Pearson answered, sending the Wildcats down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the second taking the game to the third inning with the score Giants 3, Wildcats 0.
The third inning only saw one base-runner, and the Giants again went down in order in the top of the fourth. MC led off the bottom of the fourth with two consecutive walks, but Pearson would erase the next two batters. With runners on second and third, MC third baseman Tom Jacobson sent the first pitch he saw to the right center alley scoring both runners. Michael Benz was called in from the bullpen and after walking the first batter he faced he ended the inning with a strike-out, taking the game to the top of the fifth with the score Giants 3, Wildcats 2.
After two quiet innings at the plate, the Giants bats came alive in the top of the fifth. Josh Cohen led off the inning with a drag bunt for a single and stole second. Nicolas Belgum knocked Cohen home with a single to right but was erased on an attempted swipe of second base. Anthony Pomilia logged his first hit as a Giant with a single to right. Pomilia would be left on the bases after MC pitcher Jack Harris struck out the next three batters he faced. In the bottom of the inning the Giants relied on their sturdy defense as the Wildcats went down in order on ground-outs to Brassey, Pomilia and Belgum taking the game to the top of the sixth with the score Giants 4, Wildcats 2.
Both teams went down in order in the sixth and Dane Goodman broke the silence by leading off the top of the seventh with a single to left. Josh Cohen advanced Goodman into scoring position on a ground-out to the right side, but the Giants half inning would end without scoring a run taking the game to the bottom of the seventh with the score still 4-2. Benz struck out the first batter he faced in the bottom of the inning. Anthony Pomilia would have a say in the final two outs of the game, snagging a fly ball and fielding a grounder to end the game. “I’m most proud of our defense today”, Firenzi said after the game. “We made the plays we needed to in the field at their yard.”
Pearson earned the win, yielding just two runs on one hit while striking out three. Benz earned the save, yielding no runs, no hits while striking out three. Anthony Pomilia, Luke Zlatnich, Michael Connors and Mackie Skall all had hits for the Giants with Dane Goodman, Josh Cohen, and Nicolas Belgum adding two hits each to Redwood’s ten hit assault. Belgum and Pomilia each knocked in a run with Zlatnich banging in two RBI’s.
Redwood now stands alone in second place with a 6-1 record and will square off against the undefeated Drake Pirates at home. The game has been moved to Thursday with a 4:00 start due to another storm that is expected to dump several inches of rain in the Bay Area.
3/31: The Giants pitching staff combined for another shut-out, blanking the Justin-Siena Braves 4-0 on the road on a windy day in Napa. “Today is going to be one of those days when it’s hard to hit. The grass is tall and slow and the wind is swirling but mostly blowing in” Head Coach Mike Firenzi said before the game. “But, it’s the same for both teams.” True to Firenzi’s prediction, each team only tallied four hits, but Redwood was able capitalize on theirs while the Braves were only able to get two runners past second base.
Coming off of a six inning shut-out performance against Novato last week, Zack Tonnerre got the start for the Giants, pitching five and a third innings, striking out nine. Zack had just one walk and gave up only three hits. Noah Arrick closed out the game while keeping the shut-out intact and adding to the strike-out total, striking out one. Tonnerre now boasts a 2-1 league record and a 3-1 overall record.
In usual fashion, the Giants drew first blood when they scored three runs in the top of the third inning. Mackie Skall led off the inning with a single off of the pitchers glove. Drew Jacks dropped a perfect bunt to send Skall to second and Skall was relieved by the speedy Josh Katz. Dane Goodman followed with a single to second and Katz later crossed the plate when Goodman stole second and the catcher’s throw bounded into centerfield. Nicolas Belgum knocked in Goodman on a single to left. Belgum would score with two outs on a balk by the Braves pitcher, putting the Giants up 3-0. The Giants would turn their first double-play of the game to end the third inning on a grounder to Belgum at first, to Brassey, to the pitcher, Tonnerre, covering first, taking the game to the top of the fourth with Redwood leading, 3-0.
Luke Zlatnich led off the inning with a walk and Pascal Brassey reached base on an error putting runners on first and second with no outs. Mackie Skall put both runners in scoring position by laying down a sacrifice bunt. Zlatnich was cut down at the plate on a botched squeeze-play but with two outs, Dane Goodman would knock in the Giants fourth and final run of the day with a single to left. In the bottom of the fourth, the Giants would turn their second double-play of the game 4-6-3, on a grounder to Zlatnich, to Brassey, to Belgum.
The Giants went down quietly in the top of the fifth and the Justin-Siena threatened in the bottom of the frame. Two consecutive base-hits were followed by a strike-out and a walk to load the bases. A grounder to Tonnerre ended in the glove of catcher Mackie Skall at the plate, cutting down the run and leaving the bases loaded with two outs. Tonnerre erased the threat by inducing a soft liner back to the box taking the game to the top of the sixth with the score Giants 4, Braves 0.
Redwood went down in order in the top of the sixth. Tonnerre logged his ninth strike-out of the day to start the bottom of the inning, but reached his 110 pitch limit and was relieved by Noah Arrick. After giving up a hit that left the runner on second, Luke Zlatnich snagged what looked like a sure hit to the right side and dove, glove first, beating the runner back to the bag to end the inning and tally the Giants third double-play of the day.
The Giants were again sent down in order in the top of the seventh and Noah Arrick sealed the Giants victory despite another error in the field. Redwood committed a total of four errors on defense in their winning effort.
Nicolas Belgum and Mackie Skall both had hits for the Giants. Dane Goodman was responsible for half of the Giants hits, banging out two of their four hits. Goodman and Belgum also had an RBI each.
The Giants now stand at tied in second place in the MCAL and will be in Kentfield on Tuesday to face-off against the Marin Catholic Wildcats in a rivalry game that highlights the two MCAL second place teams, both with 5-1 conference records. Redwood will end the week facing off against the undefeated Drake Pitates on Friday. “We have a tough week ahead, but we are going to take it one game at a time, we need to take care of business against Marin Catholic”, Firenzi said when asked about the upcoming week and match-up against the Pirates.
3/29: The Giants won ‘Ugly’ today in their make-up game against Terra Linda. The game boasted eight errors (four by each team), base-running blunders, ten walks, and took an extra frame to determine a winner, as the teams were deadlocked, 5-5, after seven complete innings. Redwood took home the victory 7-5, but it would be a costly Terra Linda throwing error that lead them to the winner’s circle.
The Giants jumped out on top early, scoring a run in the first on a Genki LeClair double and Michael Connors knocked him home with a single to right. The Trojans scored two quick runs of their own in the bottom of the first on three walks, a hit batsmen, and a single, ending the day for starter Josh Cohen. Michael Benz came in relief and gave up a run on a fielder’s choice and ended the inning by snagging a hard hit liner back to the mound.
Drew Jacks took advantage of his first start of the year by leading off the top of the second with a single. Riley Marsh sent him to second on a perfect sacrifice bunt and one of yesterday’s heroes, Dane Goodman, knocked him home on a double to right and would follow Jacks across the plate as an errant Trojan throw ended up some netting on the sideline tying the game 3-3. Benz would face the minimum in the bottom of the second when, with a runner on first and one out, Aubrey Sine made a spectacular catch on a drive to center and doubled the runner off on a one-hop throw to Nicolas Belgum.
With two outs in the top of the third, Pascal Brassey smoked a double to center, but the inning ended on a hard hit grounder to short. Benz gave up consecutive hits to the Trojans #3 and #4 hitters to lead off the inning. Terra Linda scored later in the inning on a grounder to short taking the game to the top of the fourth with the Giants trailing 4-3.
The score remained 4-3 until the top of the fifth. Genki LeClair led off the inning with a walk and Nicolas Belgum took a free base after wearing a 1-0 fastball, putting runners on first and second. Michael Connors dropped a perfect bunt, resulting in his second hit of the day and loading the bases for the Giants. An infield fly left the Giants with one out and the hot-hitting Pascal Brassey at the plate. Brassey dropped a perfect bunt to score LeClair from third, tying the game and with the bases loaded, Trevor Foehr knocked in the go-ahead run by belting a grounder to second, putting the Giants up 5-4. Foehr got the start behind the plate today and was stellar on defense, making three spectacular catches on crazy, wind-blown pop-ups. Benz relied on his defense in the bottom of the fifth, inducing a pop-out to Foehr, a line-out to Brassey and a fly-out to Aubrey Sine in center.
After going down in the top of the sixth, the Giants remained up 5-4 in the bottom of the frame, but the Trojans started the inning with two consecutive hits, and after a Giants error they would tie the game on a grounder to third.
With two outs in the top of the seventh, Brassey singled to right and would be lifted for the speedy Josh Katz. Katz would be left on the bases taking the game to the bottom of the seventh, still tied 5-5. Benz sent the Trojans down in order in the bottom of the seventh taking the game into extra innings.
Drew Jacks led off the eigth with a single and after a Riley Marsh sacrifice bunt, stood on second with one out. It took just eight more pitches (all balls) for the Giants to load the bases after Dane Goodman and Genki LeClair both walked. After a force play at the plate, Dane Goodman drew a throw from the Trojans catcher at third. The throw skipped in front of the third baseman and travelled down the third-baseline, sending Goodman and LeClair home, putting the Giants up 7-5 going into the bottom of the eighth. After giving up a single and another Giants error, with two-outs Benz fielded a grounder and tossed to first to end the game, sealing the Giants fourth consecutive win and his second win on the season.
Dane Goodman and Genki LeClair both had hits for the Giants with Michael Connors, Pascal Brassey and Drew Jacks each notching a multi-hit game for Redwood.
The Giants are now tied with Marin Catholic with a 4-1 record in second place in the MCAL. They are on the road on Friday in Napa against Justin-Siena at 4:30. Justin is due for a win as they have dropped their last seven games and are 0-5 in conference play.
3/28: Legend has it that in May 2016, Tamalpais’ Sophomore pitcher Jackson Loder told his coach he wanted the ball against Redwood, telling his coach he would get him the win. Loder backed up his words when he held the Giants potent line-up to two runs on six hits and Tamalpais defeated the Giants 5-2 at Moody Field.
Barely less than a year later, Loder would get the start today at Moody Field to defend his undefeated record against the Varsity Giants. Junior right-hander Oliver Pearson took the mound for Redwood. “He (Loder) pitched a great game against us last year, but Ollie pitched a gem for us today”, Redwood Head Coach Mike Firenzi said after the game. The ‘Battle of the Southern Marin Top-Flight Juniors’ would be settled with a 3-2 victory for the Giants for Pearson’s third win of the season.
Dane Goodman lead off the bottom of the first with a single up the middle, stole second and advanced to third on a passed ball. Genki LeClair singled to right knocking in Goodman . Michael Connors roped a single down the right-field line and LeClair scored when the ball was miss-played by the right fielder, scoring LeClair, notching an RBI for Connors as he slid safely into third. Before all of the Giants home faithful had taken their seats, they were already up 2-0.
Pearson sent the Red-Tailed-Hawks down in order in the top of the second and a Mackie Skall single would be the only threat in the bottom of the frame. Pearson answered again holding the Hawks scoreless through three innings. The Giants would go up 3-0 after Dane Goodman blasted a 0-2 triple to left. LeClair would follow with a four-pitch walk and Goodman would score on ball four, a wild pitch, sliding away from the tag. Considering today was Goodman’s birthday, he gave his team presents, scoring two of the Giants three runs. Nicolas Belgum followed with a single to second but the inning ended on a double-play.
Pearson again sent the Hawks down in order in the top of the fourth and had a no-hit shut-out with just three innings to play. The no-hit bid was broken up in the top of the fifth on a bloop, off-the-end-of-the-bat, single over Nicolas Belgum’s outstretched glove. After a strike-out to the next batter, catcher Mackie Skall would erase the runner on on attempted steal. The inning ended on a pop-fly to Belgum. Loder sent the Giants down in order in the bottom of the fifth, and Pearson answered, sending the Hawks down in order in the top of the sixth. Loder again sent the Giants down in order in the bottom of the frame, sending the Giants defense and Pearson out to the field needing just three outs to seal the victory.
After getting a quick out, Pearson would give up his just his second hit of the game, which was promptly followed by a double, putting two runners in scoring position and sending the tying run to the plate. Firenzi went to the bullpen and called on Michael Benz to close out the game. Benz struck out the first batter he faced. With two-outs and the game on the line, a hard grounder went through the wickets (between the legs) of a Giants infielder, sending in two unearned runs for Tam. With the score 3-2 in favor of the Giants, Benz notched the save, inducing a pop-out to Nicolas Belgum, sealing the Giants victory.
The Giants pitching staff has now gone three consecutive games without giving up an earned run. Genki LeClair, Nicolas Belgum, Michael Connors, Josh Cohen and Mackie Skall all had hit for the Giants with ‘Birthday Boy’ Dane Goodman blasting two hits while scoring two runs. LeClair scored the other Giants run. Pearson struck out five, giving up just three hits in his winning effort.
The Giants face Terra Linda on the road on Wednesday at 4:30 in a game that was rescheduled due to a rain-out last week. Terra Linda is coming off of a victory, beating San Marin 5-2 today.
The Giants remain in second place in the MCAL with a 3-1 record, chasing Drake who remain undefeated in the MCAL (5-0) and on the year (10-0).
3/21: After a night of continuous showers that dumped nearly two inches of rain overnight in the Bay Area and left almost every baseball field unplayable, Mike Firenzi started in the wee hours of the morning and spent the day pumping hundreds of gallons of water off of Moody Field to ensure the Giants would play today. “It took twenty-one bags of Diamond Dry but we got the field ready so we could get the game in.”, Firenzi said. A small respite between storms allowed the game between the San Rafael Bulldogs and Redwood Giants to be settled on their scheduled day. San Rafael came into the game tied with Drake and Tam for first place, the only three teams in the conference to win both games last week. Only one other game would be played in the MCAL today, as Drake notched their third MCAL victory, defeating Tam on their all-turf field to remain on top, with a 3-0 MCAL record.
For the first time this year, the Giants will go to sleep tonight resting on a winning record, sitting in second place in the MCAL with a 2-1 record and a 5-4 overall record. Oliver Pearson dropped his season ERA to 1.59 with a complete-game two-hit shut out, striking out ten in a 12-0 victory. Pearson didn’t walk a single batter in game. While yielding two hits, the Bulldogs never put a runner in scoring position.
Redwood scored early when in the bottom of the first, lead-off hitter Josh Cohen reached first on dropped third strike, and Henry Zeisler reached first after getting hit by the second pitch he saw. Cohen and Zeisler collaborated on a double steal and Nicolas Belgum walked to load the bases. Dane Goodman followed with a hard hit single up the middle, plating Cohen, putting the Giants up 1-0 with the bases loaded and no outs. The Giants would threat no more, as they went down, leaving three runners stranded in the inning. The Giants would strand eleven runners on base despite scoring twelve runs.
The game remained 1-0 until the bottom of the fifth, when the Giants batted around the order and scored seven runs. Henry Zeisler had two hits in the inning with Dane Goodman, Michael Connors, Aubrey Sine and Mackie Skall all adding hits to the Redwood fifth inning assault. Redwood scored another four runs in the bottom of the sixth after Gregory Block lead off the inning with a double to center and after a walk to Aubrey Sine, Trevor Foehr singled to right. Andreas Gleckman knocked in another run and reached base on a fielders choice. Another Zeisler single would plate Gleckman. Nicolas Belgum went back to his hitting ways by belting the longest single in Moody Field history, nearly reaching the left field wall on a fly, but with the score 11-0, runners were held as the Bulldogs hustled the ball into the infield. Dane Goodman would knock in his third RBI on the day with a sacrifice fly right, putting the Giants up 12-0 going into the top of the seventh.
Pearson only gave up his second hit in the top of the seventh, but sent the Bulldogs heart of their order down on two ground-outs and a strike out to seal the Giants victory and notch the Bulldogs first loss of the MCAL season. Redwood is now tied with San Rafael and Tam for second place with a 2-1 record.
Redwood amassed thirteen hits, Zeisler had three, Goodman had two, and Genki LeClair, Trevor Foehr, Mackie Skall, Aubrey Sine, Gregory Block, Pascal Brassey, Michael Connors, and Nicolas Belgum all adding hits to the total. Josh Cohen, Nicolas Belgum, Aubrey Sine, Mackie Skall and Andreas Gleckman all knocked in runs. Henry Zeisler knocked in two and Dane Goodman had three RBI’s on the day.
The Giants are on the road on Friday vs. the Terra Linda Trojans but with another atmospheric river on the way, the expectation is that the game will need to be rescheduled. “We are putting in our game plan this week with the expectation that we will play against TL on Friday, but we have the pitching depth to take us through a three or four game week if that’s what happens.” Firenzi said after the game.
3/17 (St. Patrick’s Day): The Giants went back to their winning ways, and evened their MCAL record to 1-1 while evening their season record to 4-4 after beating the Novato Hornets 7-0 at Moody Field today.
Zack Tonnerre earned his first MCAL victory, throwing six shut-out innings, striking out six and giving up just two hits. Oliver Pearson needed just twelve pitches to close out the game and secure the victory for Redwood.
The Giants banged nine hits on offense and were flawless in the field, committing no errors on the day. Henry Zeisler and Dane Goodman combined for almost half of the Giants hits with two hits each, and scored more than half of the Giants runs, each scoring twice. Zeisler had two stolen bases while Goodman had one. Riley Marsh added the fourth Giants stolen base.
Redwood hosts San Rafael on Tuesday at Moody Field at 4:30 (weather permitting).
3/14: Some of your favorite days might be Christmas, the eight days of Chanukah, New Years, or your Birthday. If you are a baseball fan, one of your favorite days has to be Opening Day. It marks the day of a new beginning for your team, a chance to go undefeated, set new records, and win a Championship. On Opening Day, every team starts in first place. Since Mike Firenzi took the helm of the Redwood Giants Baseball Program, his Varsity team has never been out of first place in the MCAL. Today, that would change.
A last minute schedule change moved the Giants MCAL opener against the San Marin Mustangs to Moody Field. Contrary to their phenomenal 2015 season when the Giants never lost at home, the 2017 squad came into the game with a losing home record (1-2). Firenzi called on his ace, Zack Tonnerre to start on the mound to turn the tide for the Giants and keep the first place streak alive.
Tonnerre was dominant in his last start, striking out five in five innings while yielding just one hit in a shut-out performance to earn his first win of the season. Today, the Mustangs would load the bases without swinging the bat after two consecutive walks and a hit batter. They scored their first run after another walk on a 3-2 fastball that was called a ball. Mustang fan cheers were barely heard over the Giants fans jeers as many in the stands thought the pitch was a strike, similar to many of the balls that were called in the inning. Zack struck out the next batter on three pitches, and with an out and the bases loaded, Giants faithful hoped that they would get out of the inning giving up just one run.
San Marin quelled the Giants hopes by following with two consecutive hits, putting them up 3-0 with one out. Michael Benz was called on to relieve Tonnerre and gave up two more hits, sending the Giants into the bottom of the first down 6-0.
Genki LeClair led off the bottom of the inning with a walk and was sent to third on a double by Henry Zeisler. Nicolas Belgum kept his consecutive hitting streak alive with a single to left, knocking in LeClair and cutting the Mustang lead to five runs. Zeisler would score on a passed ball and after Aubrey Sine advanced Belgum to third, Belgum would keep his run scoring streak alive after scoring on a sacrifice fly by Michael Connors. Dane Goodman would open his MCAL season with a double over the center fielder’s head, but would be left stranded on the bases. After one inning of play, the Giants were down 6-3.
The Giants didn’t mount a threat while Benz held the Mustangs scoreless through five innings. Redwood cut the lead to 6-4 in the bottom of the fifth after base hits by Josh Cohen and LeClair and a sacrifice fly by Zeisler. With two outs in the bottom of the of the sixth, Goodman would bang his second hit of the game but the Giants ended the inning hustling out to their positions, still down 6-4.
Firenzi went to the bullpen in the top of the seventh, calling on Oliver Pearson. Benz jogged off of the field to a home field ovation after giving up no runs through six and a third innings, striking out five and walking one after throwing ninety-seven pitches Another Mustang run would score after Pascal Brassey fielded a ball in the hole and caught the runner off of third, but an errant throw to the plate put the Mustangs up 7-4 going into the bottom of the seventh. Pearson closed the inning with a strike out.
Genki LeClair and Henry Zeisler walked in the bottom of the inning, but with the tying run at the plate and two outs, the game ended with a swinging strike-out, clearing the Mustang dugout for their game-winning celebration on Moody Field. The Mustangs are now the only team in the MCAL to have a winning record against the Giants since 2015 (3-2).
Tonnerre would get the loss for the Giants. Genki LeClair, Henry Zeisler, Nicolas Belgum and Josh Cohen all had hits for the Giants while Dane Goodman added two hits to the Giants total. Novato matched the Giants with six hits.
For the first time in three years, the Giants are in last place in the MCAL in a tie with four other teams. The Giants plan to start to turn their home losing record around and hope to unseat the first place Novato Hornets (1-0) at Moody Field on Friday at 4:30.
3/10: Senior Trevor Foehr gave the Giants a present on his 18th birthday today with a pinch-hit walk-off RBI single up the middle in the bottom the seventh inning. With the score tied 2-2, Firenzi called on Foehr after Dane Goodman led off the inning by working the count to 3-1 and then took a curveball off of his sleeve. With one out, Goodman stole second. Pascal Brassey roped a liner to center, putting runners on second and third, forcing Monte Vista to bring the infield in to try to hold Goodman at third. Foehr worked the count to 2-2, and then roped the next pitch up the middle to plate Goodman. Redwood’s bench cleared and Foehr was mobbed on the field. “It was a curve ball right over the middle of the plate” Foehr said after the game. When asked how it felt to get the game winning hit on his birthday, “I honestly didn’t think about it until after the ‘storm the field thing’…but it was a great birthday present.”
Monte Vista crushed the Giants 7-0 at their yard last year and came into the game with a 5-0 preseason record; one of their wins was an 11-2 drubbing of College Park. In their five pre-season games leading up to this one, the Mustangs had scored 43 runs (8.6 per game).
Oliver Pearson held Monte Vista to just two runs, one of which was unearned as the Redwood defense committed two errors in the top of the second, giving the Mustangs a 1-0 lead. Redwood tied the score 1-1 in the bottom of the fourth when Nicolas Belgum lead off the inning with a single to center. After stealing second, Belgum was knocked in on a one-out liner up the middle by Aubrey Sine. Belgum has had at least one hit and scored one or more runs in the last five consecutive games.
The Mustangs would score after a couple of hits in the top of the fifth to take the lead 2-1. Luke Zlatnich lead off the bottom of the inning with a triple to the right-center gap, barely beating the tag on a head-first slide at third. Luke was erased at the plate on a pitch-out on an attempted squeeze play. Pascal Brassey then roped a single and was lifted for pinch runner Riley Marsh. Marsh stole second and Mackie Skall moved Marsh to third on a well executed sacrifice bunt, setting the table for DH Genki LeClair. LeClair watched a 1-2 curveball bounce into the dirt and to the backstop, scoring Marsh from third and tying the game 2-2 going into the top of the sixth.
Pearson sent the Mustangs number two, three and four hitters down in order. The Giants’ heart of the order threatened with a walk by Nicolas Belgum, but couldn’t score taking the game to the seventh tied 2-2.
Michael Benz came in for the Giants in the top of the seventh and sent Monte Vista down in order, striking out one. Benz earned his first win of the season after the Giants scored their walk-off run in the bottom of the frame. Pearson ended the day pitching six innings, giving up one earned run, four hits and striking out four.
Henry Zeisler, Nicolas Belgum, Aubrey Sine, Luke Zlatnich, and Trevor Foehr had a hit apiece for the Giants. Pascal Brassy had a single and a double. Sine and Foehr both had an RBI, knocking in two of the Giants runs.
The Giants hope to tally back-to-back Mustang victories as they open the MCAL season on Tuesday on the road at San Marin. The Mustangs come into the game with a 2-3 preseason record. With a 2-2 record against the Giants in the last two years, the Mustangs are the only MCAL team that doesn’t have a losing record against the Giants since Firenzi took over the team in 2015.
Update: The game has been moved to Moody Field as the field at San Marin is unplayable. As a result, the game on April 20th (Firenzi’s birthday) will be played at San Marin.
3/7: The Giants two game winning streak came to an abrupt halt today in a hard fought loss to the Casa Grande Gauchos. The game was originally scheduled to be played in Petaluma but the insentient rain that has soaked the Bay Area rendered the Gauchos field unplayable this week. The partially turfed and well manicured Moody Field became the venue for the Giants penultimate preseason game.
Senior Zack Tonnerre got the nod for the start, coming off of his five inning shut-out of Montgomery last week. Tonnerre gave up his first run of the season in the first inning after giving up a lead off single. The Gauchos mounted a three hit attack to start the game. Redwood’s defense stepped up in the inning with a double play on a soft liner to Henry Zeisler who flipped to shortstop Pascal Brassey. But with two outs and a runner on thrid, a single to left field sent the Giants into their dugout down 1-0. Nicolas Belgum kept his hit streak alive in the bottom of the first with a single to left but the inning ended with Belgum left on the bases.
Casa again lead off the inning with a hit and after a walk and a couple of stolen bases, a hard grounder to second sent home the Gaucho’s second and third runs. Tonnerre then gave up back-to-back hits but pitched out of the jam, striking out the next batter with the bases loaded. The Giants went down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the second and headed into the top of the third down 3-0.
The Gauchos again set the table as their lead-off hitter strolled to first after wearing a 2-1 pitch. Tonnerre shut down the threat by striking out the next three batters in a row. The bottom of the third was highlighted by a Genki LeClair two-out double to the gap in right-center, but didn’t score.
Tonnerre got two quick outs in the top of the fourth, but gave his fourth earned run after a Gauchos single was followed by a double. Oliver Pearson was called out of the bullpen and struck out the last batter of the inning. Nicolas Belgum lead off the bottom of the inning with a single, his second hit of the day. Belgum advanced to second on a great read on a pitched ball in the dirt. With one out, Michael Connors singled to center, scoring Belgum and cutting the lead to three runs. Dane Goodman then singled to center and pinch-runner Riley Marsh scored. Luke Zlatnich kept his consecutive game hitting streak alive by roping an 0-2 single to center. Pascal Brassey then singled, loading the bases. Coach Firenzi called on Junior Josh Cohen to pitch hit and he answered with an RBI single, bringing the Giants to within striking distance, 3-4. Unfortunately, with one out and the bases loaded, Redwood couldn’t plate another run.
Pearson shut down the Gauchos, giving up just one hit and striking out two in his two and one third innings of work. The Giants were only able to muster one baserunner in the next two innings, taking the game to the top of the seventh with the score 4-3.
Pearson was relieved by Michael Benz in the top of the seventh. Benz gave up a two consecutive hits and after a balk sent runners to second and third, a sacrifice fly to center sent home Casa’s fifth run of the game. Pascal Brassey accounted for two outs in the inning, highlighted by a play in the hole to his right. Brassey was flawless in his five attempts in the field, as were the Giants as they committed no errors on the day.
With one out in the top of the seventh, LeClair singled and Zeisler followed by taking a curve-ball off of the leg sending the hot-hitting Nicolas Belgum to the plate and the tying run on first. After working the count to 3-2, Belgum roped a seed to second. But with the runners going on the pitch, Zeisler was doubled off of first, ending the game.
Zack Tonnerre took his first loss of the season and is now 1-1. Michael Connors, Dane Goodman, Josh Cohen and Pascal Brassey each had a hit while Genki LeClair and Nicolas Belgum added two hits apiece to the Giants nine hit total. Belgum and Zlatnich are on a four game hitting streak. This is the third game in a row that the Giants have accumulated eight or more hits.
The Giants host Monte Vista from Danville at Moody Field on Friday at 3:30.
3/3: After opening the season with two straight losses the Giants have turned the tide and are riding the wave of a two game winning streak after beating Bishop O’Dowd 8-2 on the road.
The Dragons entered the game with their two best pitchers on the DL and Redwood took advantage early, scoring six runs in the top of the first. Genki LeClair and Henry Zeisler both walked to start the game, setting the table for Nicloas Belgum. Belgum showed how he ranked #2 in batting average in the MCAL in 2016 by roping a single to the right side, scoring LeClair and Zeisler. Aubrey Sine followed with a double and Michael Connors then singled, scoring Belgum. Dane Goodman laced a double over the center fielders head, putting runners on second and third for Pascal Brassey. Brassey ripped a single to left, scoring Connors. Genki LeClair singled to right, scoring Goodman and before they could catch their breath, Bishop O’Dowd was down 6-0 going into the bottom of the first.
Pearson was efficient and effective striking out five and holding the Dragons to two runs in his five and a third innings of work while the Giants bats went silent until the seventh when they scored two insurance runs on a double by Zeisler and a single by Sine.
Michael Benz closed out the game, giving up a hit and striking out two in the last one and two thirds innings.
Pearson earned his first win of the year, evening his season record to 1-1.
LeClair, Sine and Goodman all had two hits for the Giants while Zeisler, Belgam, Connors, Zlatnich and Brassey each had hits. This is the second game in a row that the Giants had ten or more hits (11) and scored eight or more runs.
Luke Zlatnich, Aubrey Sine, Nicolas Belgum and Henry Zeisler are all riding a three game hitting streak.
The Giants will host Casa on Tuesday at Redwood at 3:30, a game that was originally scheduled to be played in Petaluma, but due to field conditions, the game has been moved to Moody.
3/2: After being outscored 17-5 in their first two games of the season, the Varsity Giants evened the score, scoring twelve and giving up no runs in their non-conference game against Montgomery in Santa Rosa today. “It’s nice to put one in the win column” Head Coach Mike Firenzi said after the game, “We hit, we didn’t kick a ball on defense, and our pitchers threw strikes.”
While pitching has been a bit problematic in their first two games, the staff came through as the Giants used three pitchers to combine for the shut out. Zack Tonnerre earned the win, pitching five innings, striking out five while giving up just one hit. Josh Cohen pitched a scoreless sixth inning and Michael Benz closed out the game, striking out two of the last three batters he faced.
Redwood’s bats also came alive, achieving their first double-digit hit game racking up eleven hits on the day. Aubrey Sine and Pascal Brassey both had a hit. Nicolas Belgum doubled and Henry Zeisler banged a triple. Michael Connors had his first multi-hit game with a double and a single and Mackie Skall also had two hits. Luke Zlatnich started the hit parade in the second inning and ended the day with three hits, scoring two of the Giants runs. Every starting Giants player crossed the dish at least one time (Genki LeClair-1, Zeisler-2, Belgum-2, Sine-1, Dane Goodman-1, Connors-1, Brassey-1, Zlatnich-2, Brassey-1).
The Giants are on the road on Friday, heading to the East Bay to play Bishop O’Dowd at 3:30.
2/28: The Varsity Giants took their second loss of the season, ending their streak of losses followed by wins dating back to 2014 when they also started the season 0-2 (Redwood ended that season with a 14-11 record).
The Giants came out swinging, scoring three runs in the top of the first after Nicolas Belgum lead off with a walk and Henry Zeisler sent him to third on a single to center. Aubrey Sine knocked in Belgum with a bingo to left. Dane Goodman cleared the bases with his second double of the year, putting the Giants up 3-0 going into the bottom of the first.
Josh Cohen held the Padres scoreless in the bottom of the first, but after walking the first two batters in the bottom of the second, he was relieved by Blake Cusick. Cusick beaned the first two batters he faced, sending in Serra’s first run on no hits. After striking out the next batter, Jake Damelio laced a double to left, tying the score 3-3. Patrick Caulfield followed up with a single, plating Nick Garcia, Padres 4, Giants 3. After striking out the next batter, the Giants committed a rare fielding error, scoring Damelio, Serra 5, Redwood 3. Caulfield caught the sleepy Giants and stole home on a throw back to the pitcher. Padres 6, Giants…still 3. Two more walks loaded the bases, and the next batter took one for the team, the hit-by-pitch sent another Serra run home taking the tally up to seven. Michael Benz came in to relieve Cusick, and gave up a single to right. Benz was able to end the “Inning that would never end” with a ground out to Henry Zeisler.
With the Giants down 8-3, Zeisler lead off the top of the third with a single to left, but was promptly erased on a 6-4-3 double play and the inning ended on a fly-out to center.
Benz sent the Padres down in order in the bottom of the third, but after a Luke Zlatnich single they were unable to score in the top of the fourth. Benz again shut down the Serra bats in the bottom of the frame, yielding only a single. After the Giants went down 1-2-3 in the top of the fifth, Benz gave up a double on a high fly ball to left that was followed by a first pitch dinger over the right field wall by pinch hitter Ryan Matoso. Serra 10, Redwood 3.
Aubrey Sine lead off the top of the sixth with a scorching double to left and was sent to third on a ball hit to the right side by Michael Connors. Dane Goodman knocked him home on a grounder to short, cutting the lead to six runs.
Oliver Pearson sent the Padres down in order in the bottom of the sixth on a five pitch outing. The Giants mounted a threat with one out, when Nicolas Belgum singled with one out. Belgum and the threat were erased on a game ending double-play.
“I’m not pressing the panic button yet. They had seven hits. We had seven hits. We went up early but couldn’t hold the lead. We definitely have some work to do, but we know what we need to work on”, Firenzi said after the game.
Nicolas Belgum and Luke Zlatnich had a hit each. Dane Goodman had a double and Aubrey Sine also doubled in a multi-hit game as he and Henry Zeisler had two hits apiece. Blake Cusick took the loss on the mound.
The Giants will be on the road again on Thursday, at Montgomery High School in Santa Rosa.
2/24: If you enjoy the game of baseball you have most likely logged a few hours at your local Little League field. If you are a fan of Little League Baseball, you have watched the Little League World Series on TV. If you watched in 2012 when Petaluma National made their amazing run to the US Championship game in Williamsport, the name Danny Marzo should be a familiar name to you. Marzo had the 2nd most strikeouts in the tournament (17) in 7.2 innings with a win and an ERA of 2.34. Marzo may be best remembered for his walk-off homer in the bottom of the 8th inning against New Jersey in an elimination game.
Just a little less than five years later, Marzo took the mound at Moody Field hoping to end Redwood’s two game winning streak against his Trojans. He did so in dominating fashion. Striking out four Giants while giving up just one hit.
Oliver Pearson got the start for the Giants on the mound and held the Trojans scoreless through two, but gave up a run in the top of the third. Redwood tied the score in the bottom of the frame when Dane Goodman lead off the inning with a 0-2 double in the right-center alley. Pascal Brassey sent him to third on a grounder to the right side and Trevor Foehr dropped a perfect bunt down the third base line, scoring Goodman.
With the score tied 1-1 in the top of the fourth Petaluma unleashed on Giants pitching scoring three runs on four hits. After giving up a run on two hits and a walk, Pearson was relieved by Josh Cohen, who also gave up two hits and two runs. Cohen struck out Marzo to end the inning with two runners on.
Petaluma scored another three runs in the fifth and sixth inning, but were sent down 1-2-3 on the top of the seventh by reliever Michael Benz. With the score 7-1 in the bottom of the seventh, Danny Marzo earned his first win of the season by striking out the first two batters of the inning and after walking Micheal Connors, ended the game on a ground-out to the shortstop.
This is the first time that Redwood has had a losing record since Mike Firenzi has been Head Coach. “I’m not worried”, Coach Firenzi said after the game when asked how he felt about taking his first loss against Petaluma since he’s been at Redwood. “We are still figuring things out, we’ve got a lot of young talent and of our returning starters, only three are playing positions they played last year. We’ll be fine.”
Dane Goodman had the only hit for the Giants, a double. Oliver Pearson took the loss.
The Giants are on the road against Serra on Tuesday at 3:30.
5/27: The Giants had their season come to abrupt close with a loss in the quarterfinal game of the NCS Championship Series against the Livermore Cowboys, the same team that Redwood beat a year earlier in 11 innings for the NCS Championship.
Zach Kopstein held the potent Cowboys line-up scoreless in the first, but the Cowboys scored two runs on four hits in the top of the second. “They came out swinging, they didn’t take any at-bats for granted-that’s for sure”, Assistant Coach Joel Russo said after the game. The Cowboys went up 3-0 in the top of the third after the Giants committed a rare two-out error that was followed by a Livermore single, sending the runner home for an unearned run.
Redwood waited until the bottom of the fourth to get on the board. Zack Cohen led off the inning with a drag bunt single and the speedy Genki LeClair took his spot on the bases as a pinch runner. Henry Zeisler followed with a single and Zach Kopstein helped his own cause with a single to left, scoring LeClair. The heads-up future MIT graduate Kopstein, advanced to second on the throw home, putting the tying run on second. The injured Aubrey Sine came in to pinch hit and launched a deep sacrifice fly, scoring Zeisler from third, advancing Kopstein from second. Nic Gillies dropped a safety squeeze bunt, resulting in a single for Gillies but Kopstein couldn’t score from third. With runners on first and third and only one out, the Giants seemed poised to tie the score or take the lead. Instead they ended the inning down a run (3-2) after a strike-out and ground-out ended the Giants threat.
Kopstein and the Giants defense held strong until the top of the sixth, when with the score still 3-2, the Cowboys scored four runs in the frame. Zach Cohen came in to shut down the inning after Kopstien’s 104th pitch resulted in a single to center. Cohen gave up a run, on a sacrifice fly and the Giants entered the bottom of the inning with their back against the wall, down 7-2 with just six outs left.
Redwood went down in the bottom of the sixth, leaving Nic Gillies on base, saddling the Giants with the tall task of holding the Cowboys scoreless to give the Giants an outside shot of scoring five runs to extend the game. Instead, the Cowboys unleashed twelve months of frustration by scoring eight runs in an inning that seemed like it would never end, an inning that can best be described by the photo below, taking the Giants into the bottom of the seventh down 15-2.
Firenzi opted to pay homage to his seniors in the bottom of the inning. Senior Trevor Ryan barreled a 1-2 fastball and roped a hard liner to center for the first out of the inning. Senior Garret Aubert followed with a hard grounder in the hole at short, but the Cowboys shortstop made a play deep in the hole, stealing a hit from Aubert. Senior Erik Doctor singled to right and Senior J.D. Mancini closed out his Redwood baseball career in stylish fashion with a single to right. The threat ended on a ground ball to short, igniting a Livermore celebration on Moody Field and ending the Giants season. The loss will stand as the largest margin (thirteen runs) in Firenzi’s two-year career as Head Coach of the Giants.
“It’s not the way you want to end the season (the Giants lost three of their last four games) but I told the boys they have nothing to be ashamed of and to hold their heads high”, Firenzi said after the game. “Any season that you can win twenty games is a good one, I’m proud of them.” Firenzi will sit on 400 wins going into the 2017 season. Odds-makers in Vegas are saying that Firenzi will post his 500th win in 2021, based on the talent coming up in the program.
Congratulations to the following players that were honored on the 2016 All-MCAL Baseball Team:
Pitcher of the Year | Zachary Kopstein
First Team | Nic Gillies
Second Team | Erik Doctor and Nicolas Belgum
Honorable Mention | Aubrey Sine
5/25: A twenty win season is a successful season by any measure in high school baseball. For the Varsity Giants, a twenty win season this year would lock down 400 victories for their head coach. Redwood would need to win today vs. Concord in the first round of the NCS DII playoffs to reach twenty for the season and 400 for Head Coach Mike Firenzi. “At least we don’t need to wait until next year to see if it will happen”, Firenzi said after the Giants defeated the Concord Minutemen 4-2, on a sunny day at Moody Field.
Starting pitcher Zach Cohen welcomed the Minutemen to Moody Field by sending their lead-off hitter to the bench on a blazing 2-2 fastball on the outside corner for a called strike three. After Parker Bartlett took care of the second out of the inning on a grounder to his left, Concord tried to mount a two-out rally as their next hitter was awarded first base on a swing that missed the ball but made solid contact with catcher Trevor Foehr’s glove. It was an unusual swing that sent Foehr’s catcher’s mitt flying and left Foehr shaking his hand in pain. Cohen capped the inning with another strike-out.
Redwood was sent down in order in the bottom of the first, second and third innings, setting up a perfect game for the Concord pitcher through three innings. Cohen answered, holding the Minutemen scoreless through four innings.
The Giants scored in the bottom of the fourth after Nicolas Belgum lead off the inning with a single, stole second and was sacrificed to third on a bunt by Henry Zeisler. Erik Doctor sent Belgum home with a RBI single to right taking Redwood to the top of the fifth leading 1-0.
Concord scored two runs in the top of the inning after a one-out single was followed by a four pitch walk and then the second catcher’s interference call (from the same batter as before) loaded the bases. With two-outs and the bases loaded, a 1-0 fastball was driven to center, scoring two and putting the Minutemen up 2-1 going into the bottom of the fifth.
Trevor Foehr reached base on a swinging strike three that got by the catcher and the hustling Foehr was called safe at first after the throw from the Concord backstop sailed over the first baseman’s head. Trevor stole second and with two outs, Firenzi broke all of the conventional rules of baseball as he dropped the steal sign on a 0-2 count to Nic Gillies. Firenzi called it right, as the 0-2 breaking ball was out of the zone and the catcher’s throw to third sailed down the third baseline, scoring Foehr and tying the score 2-2.
Josh Cohen came in with his brothers’ pitch count mounting, and shut down Concord in the top of the sixth. Ashton Finegold led off the Giants sixth with a drag bunt-single down the third baseline. Nicolas Belgum logged his second hit on the day and scored Finegold, putting the Giants up 3-2. Belgum advanced to third on an error, setting the table for Henry Zeisler. Zeisler plated Belgum on a suicide squeeze and both Belgum and Zeisler were greeted with high-fives from their teammates after they hustled to the Giants dugout.
Redwood Ace Zach Kopstein came in to close out the top of the seventh and after giving up a lead-off single he sent the Minutemen down 1-2-3 for his first save of the season, notching the Giants twentieth win and Firenzi’s 400th career victory.
Josh Cohen earned the win for the Giants. Nicolas Belgum had two hits, Erik Doctor, Nic Gillies and Ashton Finegold also added hits to the Redwood total.
The win advances the Giants to a quarter-final match-up against the Livermore Cowboys who drew a #7 seed in the NCS tournament. Redwood faced off against Livermore in the NCS Championship last year. The Cowboys hope to avenge their 11-inning NCS Championship game loss and will likely send the crafty left-hander, Clayton Westrope to the mound. If they start Westrope, it will be the third left-handed pitcher the Giants have faced in a row. Redwood will answer with their ace, Zach Kopstein who will be challenged to hold the Cowboys bats at bay, as they have tallied fourteen home runs on the season.
“I’d love for this team to play in the semi’s, we’ve worked hard and we are ready. But, we have a tough task ahead of us, I expect Livermore to come out swinging”, Firenzi said. When asked about how he felt about victory 400, Firenzi said “It takes good players and a good coaching staff to get there. I have been fortunate to have had both. I’ve had the honor of having (assistant coach) Tim Grayson there for about half of those wins. But right now, all I care about is getting the next one and I really don’t want to wait a year to get it.”
The winner of the game set for Moody Field on Friday at 4pm will face of in the semi-finals against the winner of the Marin Catholic vs. Montgomery game.
5/19: Redwood had a chance to defend their outright MCAL title by sweeping the playoffs. When #6 seed Justin-Siena beat San Marin, statisticians pencilled the Giants into the Championship Game on Saturday night. But the old saying “Anyone can beat anyone on any given day.” came to life as the Braves upset the Giants in a hard-fought game under the lights at Albert Park.
Redwood started their ace, Zack Kopstein, who shut out Justin in their last match-up, pitching a complete-game shut-out and had a perfect game with only seven outs left in the game. The Braves came out swinging, and dropped three runs onto the board, highlighted by a bomb off of the base of the center-field wall by Cameron Michael.
Nicolas Belgum led off the bottom of the first with a walk, and later stole third. Erik Doctor walked but both runners would be left stranded on base. Justin again added three runs in the top of the second, plating all of their runs with two outs.
Justin piled on in the top of the third, scoring on an error, putting the Giants down 7-0 going into the top of the fourth. The Giants answered with a run when Dane Goodman led off the inning by hitting a hard grounder to third and crossed the bag safely as the throw sailed over the first baseman’s head and advanced to second on the errant throw. Goodman advanced to third on a wild pitch and slid in safely at home after another wild pitch, putting the Giants down 7-1 going into the top of the fourth.
Kopstein shut down the Braves in the top of the frame, and Trevor Foehr doubled in the bottom of the inning but the Giants didn’t deliver and went into the fifth inning still down 7-1. Justin scored again in the top of the fifth, taking their lead to 8-1 and leaving the Giants with nine outs needing seven runs to tie and eight runs to take the lead.
Henry Zeilser took a fastball in the back, setting the table in the bottom of the fifth, but that would be the only baserunner for the Giants in the inning. Josh Cohen came in to close out the game for Redwood and the sophomore struck out the first batter he faced, Catcher Trevor Foehr erased a Justin single, gunning the runner down on an attempted steal. Prompting cat calls from the Giants fans as Justin broke an unwritten baseball rule “Don’t run when you are up by more than six runs”.
Redwood made the game interesting in the bottom of the sixth and kept the crowd glued to their seats. Kopstein led off the inning with a single. After a fly out to center, Foehr was hit by a pitch. Ashton Finegold dropped a perfect drag bunt, loading the bases with one out. Nicolas Belgum (AKA ‘Nickie Clutch”) singled to left, scoring Kopstein and Foehr. After a pop-out, Henry Zeisler walked and was lifted for the speedy Genki LeClair. Erik Doctor singled, scoring two more, putting the Giants within striking distance, 8-5. LeClair crossed the plate on a wild pitch, and the inning ended on a drive to center. Justin 8, Redwood 6.
Cohen held the Braves scoreless in the top of the seventh and the crowd noise swelled as the Giants came to bat needing two runs with just three outs left. Nic Gillies took a one-out walk, and after a ground out, Aubrey Sine came in to pitch-hit. Sine battled and took a walk, putting the tying run at first and the winning run at the plate. A hard ground ball to short and a close play at first ended the Giants threat and their hopes to defend their outright title.
“They (Justin-Siena) came out and played like they had nothing to lose and put us in a hole we couldn’t dig out of. I’m proud of our boys, they didn’t lay down after we were down. They fought to the end and we had a chance. If we had a few more innings…”, Firenzi said after the game.
The Giants take their 16-2 league record and 19-6 season record to the NCS Seeding Committee with hopes for a high seed and the chance to host their NCS games at Moody Field. Firenzi will need to wait until the NCS tournament to reach that (what now seems to be) elusive 400th win.
5/14: The battered Giants travelled to Danville to face DI powerhouse Monte Vista on a sunny day in Danville. Redwood added four players to their roster for the play-offs and the upcoming NCS tournament. “Our outfield is beat up, so we added Dane Goodman from the JV, I like to add to the catching core so we added Luke Zlatnich and Mackie Skall (also from the JV team) and we needed some speed on the bases so we added Genki LeClair from the Freshman team.” Goodman hit .479 on the season and led the JV team with 35 hits, two of which were home runs. LeClair had 14 stolen bases during his Freshman campaign.
Redwood could only muster three hits (from Zach Kopstein, Erik Doctor and Trevor Foehr) and gave up seven runs on three errors in the field. Zach Tonnerre took the loss, but only gave up two earned runs in his 4 1/3 inning of work. Nicolas Belgum struck out one in is 1 2/3 innings of relief.
“We stayed with them through three innings (the score was 0-0 through three), but we got a little sloppy and they hit the ball.” Firenzi said after the game. “We just need to get healthy and ready for the playoffs.”
Redwood will host the winner of the San Marin vs. Justin-Siena playoff game on Thursday night at Albert Park.
5/12: With a 3-0 victory over Justin-Siena, the Varsity Giants have won their second MCAL title in two years while notching Coach Firenzi’s 399th win. They will have an opportunity to defend their “Outright MCAL Title” next week, earning the #1 seed in the MCAL Playoffs.
Redwood drew early blood, scoring in the top of the first. Nicolas Belgum led of the game with a single and promptly stole second and third. Henry Zeisler rapped him home with a grounder to the right side. Justin came out swinging but the Giants defense answered, with Parker Bartlett taking care of the first two outs at short and Zeisler making a play to end the shut down inning for starting pitcher Zach Kopstein. Bartlett again had several dazzling plays at short on the day.
The Giants scored again in the third, and again, Nicolas Belgum started the rally with a single. Erik Doctor laced a double to the right side, putting runners on second and third for clean-up hitter Aubrey Sine. Sine roped a grounder to short and hustled down the line as Belgum headed for home. Justin’s shortstop opted for the out at first but as Sine’s foot pounded the bag, we heard the ‘pop’ of the ball hitting the first basemen’s glove. Aubrey went down in a heap as the umpire signaled “Out!” as Belgum crossed the plate for the Giants second run of the game. A questionable call turned jeering fans into concern as Sine didn’t get up, and pounded the ground in frustration as the trainers rushed out to his aid. Sine would need to be helped off of the field, ending his day with the Giants up 2-0.
After mowing through the Justin line-up for the first three innings, Zach Kopstien helped his own cause and led off the top of the fourth with a double. Josh Cohen then dropped a bunt single, advancing Kosptein to third. After Cohen stole second, Nic Gillies dropped a perfect squeeze bunt, scoring Kopstein from third, putting the Giants up 3-0 going into the bottom of the fourth.
Kopstein faced the minimum through 5 1/3 innings. Zach didn’t only hold the Braves scoreless, he held them hitless through 5 1/3 innings. In fact, Kopstein had a perfect game going until Senior Gavin Orr broke it up with a single up the middle with one out in the bottom of the fifth. Zach ended his MCAL regular season pitching career with a complete-game shut-out, yielding just four hits with four strike outs and a walk. A fitting end to a remarkable 7-0 regular season, with two of his victories coming against Marin Catholic.
Nicolas Belgum went 3-4 and took the MCAL batting crown with an impressive .408 average. The ‘Brothers Cohen’ each added hits with Erik Doctor, and Trevor Foehr adding to the Giants eight-hit onslaught. Henry Zeisler, Aubrey Sine and Nic Gillies knocked in the three Redwood runs.
The Giants have a quick turnaround and will face DI powerhouse Monte Vista on the road in a make-up non-conference game on Saturday.
5/10: The San Marin Mustangs handed the Giants their first league loss right before the team set out on their spring break in early April. The Mustangs are the only MCAL team with a winning record against Redwood in the last two years, with a 2-1 record against the Giants. Redwood came out with plans to even the score.
As expected, Nicholas Corbani took the hill for the Mustangs. Corbani held the Giants to two runs in their first match-up, earning the win. The crafty lefty held the Giants at bay again, holding them scoreless until the third inning. But the Giants equaled their first game run total in the top of the third. Zach Kopstein led off the inning with a bunt single. Josh Cohen advanced reached base on an error. With runners on first and second, Trevor Foehr dropped a bunt advancing Kopstein and Cohen to second and third with one out. Nicolas Belgum followed with a bunt single, loading the bases. The hot-hitting Henry Zeisler plated the first Giants run with a single to the right side, scoring Kopstein and putting runners on first and third for Erik Doctor. Doctor banged a hard grounder to short, scoring Cohen from third, putting the Giants up 2-0 going to the bottom of the third.
Starting pitcher Zach Cohen held the Mustangs scoreless until the bottom of the fourth inning. The Mustangs took the lead, scoring three runs (two earned) after a few hits and an error left the Giants down 4-2 going into the top of the fifth, leaving them with just nine outs to score two runs to extend the game.
Josh Cohen led off the top of the fifth with a double and advanced to third on another sacrifice by Foehr, but the inning ended with Cohen standing on third and the Giants down 4-2 going into the bottom of the fifth. Zach Cohen again shut the Mustangs down in the bottom of the inning and Corbani answered, yielding only a single to Aubrey Sine in the top of the sixth.
With his pitch count nearing the century mark, Zach Cohen was relieved by his brother, Josh, in the bottom of the sixth. Since Josh was the designated hitter, hitting for the slick fielding shortstop Parker Bartlett, Sophomore Pascal Brassey took the helm at short. Cohen was able to work out of the inning, taking the Giants into the top of the seventh down by two runs.
Zack Kopstein led off the inning by getting hit by a 0-1 fastball. Josh Cohen then walked and Trevor Foehr dropped a sacrifice bunt, putting the tying run on second base with one out and turning the Giants line-up over for the lead-off hitter Nicolas Belgum. “Nickie-Clutch” tied the score with a rocket through the hole between first and second but would be erased on an inning-ending double play.
Cohen held the Mustangs scoreless in the bottom of the seventh, taking the game into extra innings. Corbani was pulled and the Mustangs reliever walked the first two he saw, giving free passes to Erik Doctor and Aubrey Sine. Pascal Brassey dropped a two-strike bunt, advancing both runners. Nic Gillies was intentionally walked to put the double-play in order, loading the bases for Zack Kopstein. Fortunately for the Giants, the San Marin reliever couldn’t find the plate and Kopstein walked on four pitches, putting Redwood up 5-4. He was able to work out of the inning, striking out the next batter and inducing a ground-out to third.
Josh Cohen struck out the first batter he saw in the bottom of the eighth but gave up a single to the next batter. Pascal Brassey took care of the second out of the inning, fielding a tough grounder and firing across the diamond for the second out. Zack Kopstein then used his height to grab a pop foul high up the visitors screen to end the game. “It was an amazing catch, the wind is crazy up here”, Firenzi said after the game, “I told Kop, don’t give up on fly balls, make sure you find the screen because the balls will get blown back into play.”
Kopstein, Josh Cohen and Aubrey Sine each had hits for the Giants while Nicolas Belgum added two hits, the biggest coming in the top of the seventh to tie the score. Henry Zeisler and Zack Kopstein also had RBI’s on the day. Josh Cohen earned his first win of the season.
With the win, the Giants secure their second MCAL title in two years as they will take the tie-break vs. Marin Catholic if they lose on Thursday against Justin Siena. The win also leaves Firenzi with just two wins away from 400 as they travel to Napa for their last conference game of the season.
5/06: The Redwood Giants took sole possession of first place with a victory against their cross-town rival, Marin Catholic at Moody Field by their largest margin in their last five games, 4-1. This was the fifth time Coach Firenzi has faced off against the program where he spent his first twenty years as a Head Coach, and the Giants walked away with their fifth straight win. “It was a good win, they are a good team” Firenzi said after the game. When reminded that this is his fifth consecutive win he said, “I’m happy every time we win, but each one puts the odds in their favor for the next one.”
The Wildcats came out swinging and scored a run in the top of the first after starting pitcher Zack Kopstein recorded two quick outs but walked the Wildcats third hitter. The two-out walk was followed by back-to-back singles that put MC up 1-0 going into the bottom of the first. “Two-out walks”, Assistant Coach Tim Grayson said, shaking his head.
The Giants answered in the bottom of the inning after Henry Zeisler doubled and Erik Doctor knocked him in on a hard grounder to the right side.The score remained 1-1 until the bottom of the third inning when the Wildcat defense unraveled as they did in their first match-up of the year, giving up a three-run rally that was sparked by Nicolas Belgum who reached first on an error by the second baseman. Belgum promptly stole second and advanced to third when Henry Zeisler hit a grounder to short that was bobbled, recording the second Wildcat error of the inning. Erik Doctor walked, loading the bases with just one out for clean-up hitter Aubrey Sine. Sine watched a 2-0 curveball travel to the backstop and Belgum crossed the plate. An errant throw from the catcher to starting pitcher Brandon Buckley, covering the plate, sent the ball to the middle of the infield and a hustling Henry Zeisler scored from second, putting the Giants up 3-1. Buckley came back strong and struck out Sine but Zach Cohen picked up his teammate , sending a 0-1 fastball to left, scoring Erik Doctor and putting the Giants up for good, 4-1.
Zach Kopstein earned his third complete-game victory of the year, taking his season record to 8-1 and his MCAL record to a League Leading 6-0. Kopstein struck out five while yielding just one run, dropping his league ERA to 1.14.
Kopstein helped his own cause, adding a hit to the Giants total, with Zeisler, Doctor, Nic Gillies, Zach Cohen, and Josh Cohen adding to the fray. Zach Cohen and Erik Doctor had the lone RBI’s on the day.
The Giants travel to San Marin on Tuesday with hopes to avenge their loss earlier in the year and hold on to first place in the MCAL race. Zach Cohen will get the start for Redwood and San Marin will likely answer with Nicholas Corbani, the left-hander who earned the victory in their first match-up.
5/05: Redwood stayed atop the MCAL standings with a win at home against Branson. Starting pitcher Josh Cohen held Branson in check, striking out three and leaving the game with two outs in the fifth inning with the score tied 3-3.
The Giants scored two runs in the bottom of the second after Henry Zeisler led off the inning with a walk and Aubrey Sine singled to left. After a double steal, Zach Cohen was able to knock Zeisler in from third on a grounder to short that resulted in an error. Zack Kopstein sacrificed Sine from third and the Giants were up 2-0.
After Branson scored in the top of the fourth, the Giants scored again in the bottom of the inning, after Josh Cohen led off with a walk and stole second. Nicolas Belgum singled to left advancing Cohen to third. Henry Zeisler knocked Cohen in with a single to right, putting Redwood ahead 3-1 going into the top of the fifth.
Branson tied the score 3-3 after a walk, a single and a double scored the lead off walk. The Giants couldn’t answer in the bottom of the inning. After a lead-off walk to start the top of the sixth, starting catcher Trevor Foehr gunned the runner out on an attempted steal. Josh Cohen was lifted for Zach Tonnerre with two outs in the top of the sixth, with the score tied 3-3 and the go-ahead run on first. Tonnerre induced a fly-out to Aubrey Sine in center to end the inning.
Garrett Aubert led off the bottom of the sixth with a walk. Nicolas Belgum dropped a perfect bunt advancing the runner. The hot hitting Henry Zeisler then singled to left. A wild pitch to Erik Doctor scored a run and advanced Henry to second, and Doctor launched a 2-1 fastball over the left fielders head for a RBI double, putting the Giants up 5-3. After Aubrey Sine drew a walk, Zach Cohen drove in Doctor on a single to left. Cohen would later score on an error and Nic Gillies knocked in the Giants fifth run of the inning on a single to left, scoring Zack Kopstein from second base, putting the Giants up 8-3 going into the top of the seventh. “It was nice to see a little rally today…” Assistant Coach Joel Russo said after the game, “…we haven’t had one of those in a while.”
Tonnerre shut down Branson in the top of the seventh striking out one and earning his second win of the year. The Giants tallied ten hits on the day. Aubrey Sine had a single and Erik Doctor had a RBI double. Nicolas Belgum, Henry Zeisler, Zach Cohen and Nic Gillies all had two hits with four RBI’s spread out between them.
The Giants host Marin Catholic in a rivalry game at Moody Field on Friday. Both teams are tied for first with a 13-2 league record and the winner will head into the last week of league play sitting in first place with just two games left. Senior Zack Kopstein will get the nod on the mound and he will face last years’ “MCAL Pitcher of the Year” Brandon Buckley.
5/03: In what statisticians would consider their second upset loss of the season, the Giants went down 5-2 on the road against Tamalpais. The Red-Tailed Hawks jumped out to an early lead, scoring two runs in the bottom of the second. It could have had an even bigger inning, but Zack Kopstein caught a sleeping runner taking too big of a turn at third and fired a strike from first to Erik Doctor at third, and after a brief rundown, the inning was over, Tam 2, Redwood 0.
After a 1-2-3 top of inning, Tam added on in the bottom of the third on a single to center that took a terrible hop and bounced over Aubrey Sine’s head, turning a single into a triple. The third pitch to the next batter ended up bouncing off of the backstop for a wild pitch, scoring the Hawks third run, putting them up 3-0 going into the top of the fourth.
Parker Laret led off the inning with a missile to center for a single. Erik Doctor hit a liner to center for a single, putting runners on first and second for Aubrey Sine. A wild pitch put both runners in scoring position with no outs. Sine rocked a 2-0 fastball to center but Tam’s centerfielder was playing in the 94920 zip code and chased it down. The ball was hit deep enough to score Laret from third and advance Doctor from second. Unfortunately, the Giants would leave Doctor stranded at third after popping out to the catcher on an attempted squeeze and a fly out to center. Of their twenty-one outs, Redwood tallied thirteen line-drive/fly-ball/pop/outs on the day.
Staring pitcher Zach Cohen sent the Hawks down in order in the bottom of the fourth and the Giants scored again in the top of the fifth. Zack Kopstein and Nic Gillies led off the inning with back-to-back singles. Parker Bartlett advanced them to scoring position on a sacrifice bunt. Kopstein scored on a hard grounder to third hit by Nicolas Belgum. With the tying run on third and two outs, Parker Laret hit a ball harder than the one he hit in the top of the fourth down the third baseline, but it landed in the third baseman’s glove, ending the Giant threat.
Tam widened the gap in the bottom of the frame, scoring two runs on a two-out double to left-center putting them up 5-2 going into the top of the sixth. Henry Zeisler singled and stole second for his third stolen base of the day, but was left stranded in scoring position. Josh Cohen shut down the Hawks in the bottom of the frame, taking the Giants into the top of the seventh needing three runs to extend the game. Redwood went down quietly, 1-2-3, to end the game and dropping the Giants into a tie for first place in the MCAL standings with Marin Catholic (12-2).
“We got beat today, there’s not much more to say than that.”, Head Coach Mike Firenzi said after the game. “We’ve got two more games this week. We just need to get ready for Branson on Thursday.”
Zach Cohen took his third loss of the year but remains in the top ten in the MCAL with a 1.20 ERA. Parker Laret, Eric Doctor, Zack Kopstein and Nic Gillies each had hits while Henry Zeisler added two hits to the Giants total. Parker Bartlett flashed his glove at short, making every play and taking away a hit on a ball up the middle.
The Giants host Branson on Thursday and have a quick turnaround as they will host Marin Catholic on Friday in a game that will result in either MC or Redwood sitting atop the MCAL standings going into the final week of play.
4/29: The Varsity Giants improved their league record to 12-1 and remain one win ahead of Marin Catholic with a home win against the Terra Linda Trojans. The last time Redwood scored more than four runs was the last time they played the Trojans one month ago on March 29. Today the Giants scored eleven runs, on twelve hits, while striking out only two times.
Parker Laret earned his second win of the season as he held the Trojans scoreless through four innings while striking out six. Josh Cohen gave up three runs and struck out four in his three innings of work, taking the Giants to a 11-3 victory.
The Giants scored a run in the bottom of the first after Nicolas Belgum led off the game with a double and Parker Laret helped his own cause with a single, scoring Belgum. Redwood scored three more times in the bottom of the second. Henry Zeisler led off the inning with a single and Zach Cohen followed with a hard grounder to the second baseman that was too hot to handle, putting runners on first and second. Zack Kopstein was then drilled by a 1-1 fastball, loading the bases for Gregory Block. Block hit a sacrifice fly, deep enough to advance all three runners one base. Nic Gillies hit a fly ball to left that was dropped, scoring Cohen. With runners on first and third, Coach Firenzi sent Gillies on a steal and as the throw sailed to second base, Zach Kopstein scored from third, putting the Giants up 4-0.
The Trojans came within striking distance, scoring two runs in the top of the fifth after a two-out walk was followed by back-to-back doubles, making the score 4-2. But the Giants answered, scoring two runs in the bottom of the frame as Eric Doctor singled, Aubry Sine walked, and Doctor was knocked in on a single by Henry Zeisler. Zach Cohen plated Sine on a single to the right side, putting the Giants up 6-2 heading into the top of the sixth.
Cohen held the Trojans scoreless in the top of the inning and the Giants exploded for five runs in the bottom of the frame. Trevor Foehr started the rally with a single to right. Nic Gillies singled to left and Nicolas Belgum singled to center, loading the bases. Josh Cohen singled to left, moving the line, scoring Foehr. Eric Doctor banged a 1-0 fastball to center, scoring two runs, putting the Giants up 9-2. Aubry Sine moved the line, scoring Cohen from third on a ground out. Henry Zeisler logged his second RBI on the day, scoring Doctor from third on a hard grounder to the right side. The inning ended with the Giants up 11-2 going into the top of the seventh.
After the bats came alive in the bottom of the sixth, the Giants defense sparkled in the top of the seventh. The Trojans would not go out easy. They led off the inning with a single to center and their next batter rocked a two-hop grounder down the third baseline. Michael Benz made a diving play and erased the Trojan runner on a strong throw across the diamond to first, stealing what looked like a double. The next batter singled to right, putting runners on first and third with one out. Parker Bartlett then stole another Trojan hit as he fielded a hard hit grounder up the middle, fielding it to the right side of second base and fired a strike to Kopstein for the second out of the inning while the runner on third scored. Trojans 3, Giants 11. Josh Cohen ended the threat, striking out the next batter on five pitches.
Trevor Foehr, Josh Cohen, Nic Gillies, Zack Kopstein, Zach Cohen and Parker Laret all had hits while Nicolas Belgum, Eric Doctor and Henry Zeisler added two hits apiece to the Giants total. Zeisler and Doctor each had two RBI’s.
The Giants face Tam on the road on Tuesday.
4/26: Zack Kopstein earned his seventh win of the year and his fifth win of the MCAL season while hitting double-digits in the strike-out column (striking out ten), walking two, and yielding just two runs in a strong outing on another windy day on the road in Novato.
The quick turn-around game had the Giants again scoring four runs on six hits which would be enough to send the Hornets record to 2-10 while Redwood (11-1) sits atop the MCAL standings just one game ahead of Marin Catholic (9-2).
Redwood came out swinging, as they dropped a crooked number (three runs) in the top of the first. Nicolas Belgum led off with a walk, Eric Doctor singled and after Aubrey Sine advanced Doctor to Belgum to second and third on a sacrifice, the hot-hitting Henry Zeisler rocked a 2-1 fastball to left for an RBI double putting the Giants up 2-0. Zach Cohen knocked Zeisler in with a single and the Giants headed into the bottom of the first up 3-0.
Novato sparked a two-out rally in the bottom of the third after back-to-back hits but the rally ended on a hard ground ball to Henry Zeisler at first. Novato scored again in the bottom of the third after a lead off single, a sacrifice bunt and a double to right put the Hornets in striking distance, 3-2.
After Firenzi pulled the Giants from the dugout and held an impromptu ‘team meeting’ outside of their dugout in the top of the fifth, Redwood was able to muster another run. Parker Bartlett led off the inning with a walk, working back from an 0-2 count. Belgum sacrificed Bartlett to second on a bunt setting the table for Parker Laret. With one out and a runner in scoring position, the All-League catcher/pitcher doubled to left, scoring Bartlett easily from second.
Laret came in to relieve Kopstein on the mound and earned his second save of the year, relying of the Giant defense to close out the game as Parker Bartlett made a play from short and Eric Doctor made a phenomenal play at third on a high hopper that he grabbed and tagged the runner advancing from second, spun, and fired a perfect strike to second forcing the runner out. However, a tagged runner is not considered an out unless the umpire sees it, and the call on the field was a controversial ‘missed tag’. Laret would just fire one more pitch as his fastball landed in the glove of right-fielder Ashton Finegold in right.
Parket Laret, Eric Doctor, Henry Zeisler, and Nic Gillies had a hit each while Zach Cohen added two hits. Laret, Cohen and Zeisler were responsible for knocking in the Giants runs.
The Giants face the Terra Linda Trojans on the road on Friday. Redwood has scored four runs in each of their last three games. Terra Linda is in the midst of their best season in years with a 4-8 record and fighting for a play-off spot.
4/25: In the make-up of the Friday rainout, the Varsity Giants blanked the San Rafael Bulldogs on the road on a windy day on Monday in San Rafael. Zach Cohen fired his second complete-game shut out in seven days. “If they don’t score, they can’t beat you, this is our second shut-out in a row. The best thing is that we have three games this week. We didn’t have to go to the bullpen and keep their arms fresh with Cohen taking all seven innings today,” Coach Firenzi said after the game. Cohen now has four shut-outs on the year and has dropped his ERA to a MCAL league leading 0.74. Cohen fanned nine Bulldog hitters while just walking two.
The Giants didn’t see a run cross the plate themselves until the top of the fourth inning when Eric Doctor hit a bomb to right field that may have been held up by the wind, but ended bouncing off of the bottom of the wall and landing Doctor on third. Clean-up hitter Aubrey Sine belted a grounder to third that was too hot to handle, scoring Doctor. Henry Zeilser followed with a single to right and Zach Cohen singled to center loading the bases. Zach Kopstein singled to right, moving the line, scoring Sine from third for their second run of the inning. Josh Cohen then kept the rally going by hitting a sacrifice fly to right, scoring Zeisler from third putting the Giants up 3-0.
After the long awaited rally inning in the top of the fourth, Redwood scored again in the top of the fifth after Eric Doctor reached first on a mis-played wind-blown fly ball to right. Henry Zeisler followed with a line drive down the third baseline that travelled over the corner of the bag but landed three feet foul due to the side-spin the left-handed hitter put on the outside pitch, scoring Doctor.
Cohen worked through the last three innings, relying on his solid defense highlighted by two inning-ending double plays. The first was initiated in the fifth inning by Zack Kopstein who tagged his bag on a grounder down the line and fired a perfect strike to shortstop Pascal Brassey who dropped the tag to log the ‘twin killing’. The game ended on tailor-made Nic Gillies to Brassey to Kopstein (6-4-3) double play.
Nicolas Belgum, Eric Doctor and Zack Kopstein had a hit each while the “hot-hitting left-handers” Hank Zeisler and Zach Cohen added two hits apiece to the Giants seven hit total. Aubrey Sine, Josh Cohen, Zeisler, and Kopstein were responsible for knocking in the Giants four runs.
Redwood has a quick turn-around as they are on the road tomorrow against the Novato Hornets.
4/21: For the second game in a row, a Giant starting pitcher fired a complete-game shut out of their opponent. Today the victim was the Pirates from Drake High School. Redwood was victorious in the season opener against Drake in a sloppy game chock full of fielding errors and base-running mistakes. Today the Giants seemed to have righted their ship, committing no errors in the field or on the bases.
Kopstein struck out six and gave up six hits in his ninety-nine pitch outing that earned him his sixth victory on the year and his fourth in MCAL. The shut-out dropped his ERA to 1.74. “He (Kopstien) looked good today. He worked out of some trouble and finished strong. It was a good win for him.”, Assistant Coach Tim Grayson said after the game.
Nicolas Belgum was 3-3 at the plate, bolstering his batting average to a whopping .474, which leads all MCAL players. The “Other Nic”, Nic Gillies added a double and ended the day with a .414 average, and is now ranked #4 in the MCAL Batting Average Rankings. The “Two Nics” hold two of the top five spots in the MCAL Batting Average Race. Eric Doctor added two hits and Parker Laret also singled, bringing the Giants total to seven hits.
The Giants went up 2-0 in the bottom of the first with the bases loaded. Drake attempted to pick off Eric Doctor at second on a throw from the catcher. Parker Laret read the throw from the catcher perfectly, taking home on the throw, and after an errant throw, Doctor also scored.
The Giants scored again in the bottom of the second when Pascal Brassey dropped a squeeze bunt that scored Nic Gillies from third after Nic doubled and ended on third after a passed ball with one out. Redwood wouldn’t score again until the bottom of the fifth. Nicolas Belgum led off the inning with seed to center. He promptly stole second and scored on a base hit to left by Eric Doctor,
The Giants play San Rafael (4-6), on the road, hoping to defend their #1 MCAL ranking and take their MCAL win total to double digits. Redwood stands in first place by a slight margin with a record of 9-1. Marin Catholic is hot on their heels with an 8-2 MCAL record.
4/20: Redwood Head Coach Mike Firenzi Celebrated his 51st birthday today getting his team ready to face the Drake Pirates tomorrow. Firenzi has never been one who enjoys the spotlight and typically will defer to his players and assistants when asked about his teams’ success. But on your birthday, it’s hard to hide. The Giants ended their practice session singing on off-key and near-pathetic rendition of the “Happy Birthday Song”. What many people don’t know is that Firenzi could reach 400 wins this season.
In his typical modest fashion, Firenzi has only mentioned the 400 win plateau once to his team on a sunny warm day in February right after the team was selected. “We have a chance to get to 400 wins this year. There is only one other coach who has ever coached at Redwood who has done that, and he’s a darn good one”. That coach happens to be his mentor, Al Endriss..
Firenzi ended the 2015 campaign with 380 wins in his coaching career, the bulk of his victories coming from his years coaching at Marin Catholic where he started as a young man in his early 20’s. “I go to the MCAL coaches meeting and I’m the old man in the room now.”, Firenzi said at the beginning of the season. I look around the room and the guys I’m coaching with are guys that were players when I was coaching.”
“I don’t think about it much, I think more about what we need to do to get ready and be better every day, but I have to admit, it will be pretty cool if we get there.”
Cool indeed, with just nine wins to go, the countdown begins.
4/19: After suffering a deflating loss against San Marin before spring break (giving up only one earned run) Senior Zach Cohen came back strong, pitching a complete game shut-out against Justing Sienna. “This is by far the best game he has pitched all year”, Coach Firenzi said after the game, “He was efficient with his pitches and pitched ahead in the count the whole game.” Cohen threw only eighty pitches in seven innings and faced only twenty-three Justin batters. Of the twenty-three he faced, he started nineteen with a first-pitch strike.
The Giants scored two runs in support of Cohen and were near-perfect in the field, committing only one inconsequential error. After not seeing live (game) pitching for a week, the Giants bats were a bit quiet, as they combined for three hits (Nicolas Belgum, Zach Cohen and a double by Henry Zeisler). As a result, the game was over in one hour and fifteen minutes, barely enough time for Redwood fans to settle into their seats.
The Giants scored their first run in the third inning, after Nicolas Belgum singled and advanced to second on a sacrifice by Parker Laret. With two outs and Belgum on second, a crazy wild-pitch bounced high off of the plate and when the Justin catcher couldn’t find the ball, Firenzi waived Belgum home. The feed from the backstop was perfect and Belgum slid safely under the tag on a very close play at home. It was a fortunate bounce and the aggressive base-running move paid off, as the Giant batter at the plate when the run scored, ended up flying out to center field to end the inning.
The Giants scored an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth. Henry Zeisler reached base on an error and Zach Kopstein dropped a bunt that was fielded by the pitcher who sent the ball down the right field line. Henry scored all the way from first and Kopstein advanced to third on the throw home putting the Giants up 2-0 going into the top of the seventh. Redwood would, again, leave a runner in scoring position on an attempted drag bunt that ended the inning. “I wouldn’t say we are slumping at the plate…yet…this happens after the break sometimes. But we are leaving too many runners on base and in scoring position. I’m not worried, but check back after Friday. I’m confident we’ll break out this week.”, Firenzi said.
Cohen ended the game with a 1-2-3 inning, striking out the last batter he faced. Zach had six strike-outs on the day and dropped his ERA to .87 and upped his record to 4-2.
The Giants host Drake at home on Thursday. Drake gave Redwood a tough game in their MCAL opener and will likely send their Senior Ace, Randall Thornton to the mound to avenge his opening game loss. Redwood will counter with Senior Zack Kopstein who boasts a 5-1 season record.
4/08: The Giants had hoped to head into spring break with an undefeated MCAL record with only two losses on the year. The San Marin Mustangs had other plans. San Marin handed Redwood one of their three losses last year and now is the only team in the MCAL to have a winning record against Redwood (2-1) in Mike Firenzi’s reign as Head Coach after defeating the Giants at Moody Field, 3-2 on Friday.
San Marin came out swinging, scoring two runs in the top of the first after a couple of Giants errors, a base hit, and a botched double-play. However, with runners on first and third and two outs, the Mustangs attempted to steal second but catcher Parker Laret ended the San Marin assault by firing a laser to Pascal Brassey who dropped the tag to record the final out of an ugly inning, leaving the Giants down 2-0. Both of San Marin’s runs were unearned.
Aubrey Sine led off the bottom of the second inning with a deep fly to left that planted the San Marin left fielder into one of the banners that hang from the outfield walls at Moody. Henry Zeisler sent Sine to third with a hard grounder through the hole between first and second. With runners on first and third, Zach Cohen squared to bunt and with Zeisler running from first on the pitch, San Marin was out of position and Sine scored from third when the throw from the Mustang catcher sailed into center field, putting the Giants in striking distance, 2-1 after two innings.
After starting pitcher Zach Cohen shut down San Marin in the top of the third, Zack Kopstein led off the bottom of the inning with a single to left. Josh Cohen bunted him to second, setting the table for Nicolas Belgum. “Nickie Clutch” singled singled to center, scoring Kopstein and tying the score 2-2.
The score remained the same until the top of the sixth when San Marin duplicated the Giants efforts from the third inning. A base hit, followed by a sacrifice bunt that was followed by a single to center that scored the runner from second put the Mustangs up, 3-2. Aubrey Sine led off the bottom of the inning with a single. Zeisler ended his at-bat at second base after an errant throw on a double-play attempt. After a passed ball sent Zeisler to third, the tying run would walk into the Giants dugout after a ground ball to first ended the inning. The Giants left thirteen runners on base on the day.
Josh Cohen got the call from the bullpen and held San Marin scoreless in the top of the seventh. The other
‘Nic’, Nic Gillies lead off the bottom of the seventh with a single to left. Kopstein bunted him over, putting the tying run on second. Josh Cohen hit a tough grounder to short, advancing Gillies to third and after beating the throw, the Giants now had runners on first and third with one out. Firenzi called for the same play that scored the Giants run in the bottom of the second. However, Cohen was erased as he was picked off and a hard tag at second left him with a mild concussion and out for the game. A hard ground ball to short and a close play at first ended the game, as Gillies crossed the plate and Giants fans debated if the runner was safe at first on a close play.
“We are playing hard, this is our second one in a row that we have had a player go to the hospital after the game.”, Firenzi said. Senior leader, shortstop Danny Avins had his season end at Marin Catholic after dislocating his shoulder on a hard slide at second. Danny continues to attend every practice and every game and continues to provide support to his teammates. Cohen has been cleared to play.
Zach Cohen took the loss, despite giving up only one earned run and striking out three. Josh Cohen, Nic Gillies and Zach Kopstein each had a hit with Nicolas Belgum, Aubrey Sine and Henry Zeilser each adding two hits apiece to the Giants total.
The Giants host Justin-Sienna at Moody field on Tuesday. Justin is 3-5 in league play but two of their three wins have come against Marin Catholic and Drake.
4/06: Rivalry n : the act of rivaling : the state of being a rival : COMPETITION : Redwood vs. Marin Catholic.
“This rivalry has been around longer than the guys who are playing today have been on earth” an excited fan said before the game, “…it’s always a great match-up, just think of last year.”
Marin Catholic hoped to wipe the bitter taste from their mouth after being swept by the Giants in their two conference games last year. Their last memory from 2015 being the walk-off loss in the MCAL Championship game after going into the final frame leading 3-1. They expected this would be the day to do so, at their yard, with their best pitcher.
Marin Catholic marched their ace, Brandon Buckley out to the mound to turn the tide in favor of the Wildcats this year. Buckley (3-1) and Hayden Wellbeloved combined for a no-hitter against Saint Ignatius in a non-conference game to open their season. The Giants answered with their workhorse, Zack Kopstein (4-1) who leads the Giants pitching staff in appearances and strike-outs, but hasn’t been comfortable on the Marin Catholic mound during his illustrious Redwood career. Today would likely be the last day “Kop” would ever pitch at MC.
Kopstein and Buckley shut down their opponents for the first two innings of the game but Redwood would draw first blood in the top of the third. With one out, Josh Cohen hit a hard grounder to third and crossed first base on a errant throw. Nicolas Belgum followed with a single, sending Cohen to third. After Belgum stole second, Eric Doctor drew a walk after battling on a 3-2 count, loading the bases for the Giants clean-up hitter, Aubrey Sine. With a 1-2 count, Sine belted a single to center on a chest-high fastball, scoring Cohen. However, with the bases loaded and only one out, the Wildcats ended the inning only down by a run.
Marin Catholic threatened but never struck, as Kopstein held them scoreless through the fifth inning. Redwood added two insurance runs in the top of the sixth when another Wildcat miscue started the inning when Parker Laret struck out swinging but the ball got away from the catcher and the hustling Laret reached first. Henry Zeisler followed with a well executed hit-and-run, sending Laret to third. Zach Cohen then dropped a bunt that Buckley air-mailed to first, scoring Laret from third and a Zeisler. Giants 3, MC 0.
Kopstein gave up his lone run of his outing in the bottom of the sixth after yielding three hits in the inning. Josh Cohen came in to close out the game in the bottom of the seventh with Kopstien’s pitch-count exceeding 100 pitches with the score 3-1. Cohen would give up a run putting the Wildcats in striking distance with the score 3-2. With the tying run on third, Cohen pitched to contact inducing a hard sinking liner to shortstop Pascal Brassey ending the game, Giants 3, Wildcats 2. All three of the Giants runs were un-eared
Nicolas Belgum, Aubrey Sine and Henry Zeisler had hits, with Zach Cohen and Eric Doctor each adding two each to the Giants total. Kopstein ended his career pitching from the MC mound by earning his fifth win of the season while dropping his ERA to 2.10 while upping his strike-out total to 36. Josh Cohen earned his first save of the season.
The Giants host the San Marin Mustangs (6-5) on Friday at 4:30 Moody Field.
4/01: In a three game week and with Zach Cohen on the shelf, Parker Laret got the nod to take the hill against Branson on the road against Branson at College of Marin. Laret answered the call as he earned his first win of the year, pitching a complete game shut out.
“Our pitching has really been one of the main reasons we have been in games and winning this year”, pitching coach David Bain said after the game. Laret struck out nine while walking only two while throwing over 100 pitches on the day. “He’s a strong kid, as a catcher he’s throwing well over 100 times per game and he was still popping the glove in the seventh inning” said Coach Mike Firenzi.
The Giants would only score one run. It came in the top of the fifth when Zack Kopstein led off the inning with a single to left. Catcher Trevor Foehr sacrificed Kopstein over to second and Nic Gillies singled, putting runners on first and third. Josh Cohen rapped a single to center scoring Kopstein and plating the only run the Giants would need. Giants 1, Branson 0.
Redwood banged out a total of seven hits, Cohen had the clutch RBI single with Zack Kopstein, Aubrey Sine and Nic Gillies slapping two hits each.
Redwood will defend their undefeated MCAL record against Marin Catholic on the road on Tuesday. Both teams boast an overall 9-2 record but Marin Catholic suffered one of their losses to Justin-Siena. The Wildcats will try to even the score, likely starting hard throwing Brandon Buckley on the hill. Redwood will answer with Senior Zack Kopstein.
3/30: The last memory the Giants have of Albert Park is the dramatic walk off win last year for the NCS title when players and fans mobbed Senior Adam Hussain between first and second base. The Varsity Giants were undefeated at Albert Park under coach Mike Firenzi. However, the Serra Padres from San Mateo brought a taste of West Catholic League Baseball to Marin County Wednesday night and handed Firenzi and the Giants their second loss of the season in a non-conference game.
“They are a good club. They are well coached and play solid fundamental baseball. They run well and take extra bases, field, and hit the ball. Plus, they have a starting line-up full of very talented players.” Firenzi said after the game. “We got beat tonight, I would have rather the score was 6-0, but a loss is still a loss.”
Zack Kopstein took his first loss of the year, giving up four earned runs while striking out eight Padre hitters in his 5 1/3 innings of work. Parker Bartlett closed out the game for the Giants, giving up two earned runs but striking out two in his 1 2/3 innings. All told, Kopstein and Bartlett combined for ten strike-outs. The Giants only struck out five times at the plate, but Serra’s defense answered the call as they committed no errors.
Offensively, Redwood scratched and clawed out five hits, with the ‘Brothers Cohen’ (Zach and Josh) combining for three. Nicolas Belgum and Eric Doctor each added a notch in the hit column. However, the offensive story of the day was Serra’s Hunter Bishop. Bishop led off the top of the fifth inning with Serra leading 4-0. Bishop was responsible for knocking in three of the four Padre runs with a two-run single in the top of the first and a one-run single in the third. Hunter hit a shot into the left-center gap that trundled through the softball field and by the time the ball made it back to the infield after an errant throw, Bishop had already crossed the plate for his fourth RBI of the night-himself. Bishop ended the night going 4-4 with four RBI’s and two runs scored.
The Giants will try to rebound and remain undefeated in the MCAL with their upcoming game against Branson on the road on Friday.
3/29: Sophomore Josh Cohen ended last week starting every game the Giants have played as their lead-off hitter, hitting .360. Cohen has started all eight games in right field. Today, Cohen got the nod for his first start as a Varsity pitcher and sent a message that the future looks bright for the Giants.
After yielding free passes to the first two batters he faced, Cohen worked out of the top of the first by making a great play on a bunt, striking out the next batter and using his great defense on a tough ground ball to Zack Kopstein, making a great play to end the inning.
The Giants only had three batters step into the batters box in the bottom of the inning, despite a single by Nicolas Belgum, he would be later thrown out on a questionable call on an attempted stolen base. Cohen answered by sending the Red-Tailed Hawks down in order in the top of the second. Aubrey Sine lead off the bottom of the second by hitting the first pitch he saw off of the bottom of the left field fence for a triple.
While most everyone in the yard expected a safety or suicide squeeze, Coach Firenzi counted on the clutch left-handed bat of Henry Zeisler to hit a deep fly, a grounder to the right side, or a hit. Zeisler came through with a hard grounder to the right side, knocking in Sine for the first Giants run.
Redwood scored again in the bottom of the third, after Nic Gillies led off the inning with a base knock and Pascal Brassey dropped a perfect sacrifice bunt, putting Gillies in scoring position. Nicolas Belgum, better known as “Nicki Clutch”, rapped a single to left, scoring Gillies.
The Giants would score again in the bottom of the fifth. Gillies led off the inning with a single and Brassey singled to right. With runners on first and third, Josh Cohen helped his own cause by dropping a safety squeeze, scoring Gillies and putting the Giants up 3-0.
Josh Cohen shut out the Hawks through 6 1/3 innings, striking out ten, and gave up only one hit. He was pulled after walking the second batter in the top of the seventh after walking his fifth batter on the day and his 99th pitch. Zach Tonnerre came in needing just two outs to close the game and secure the victory for Cohen. But a few hits, a costly error, and a wild pitch had the Giants going into the bottom of the seventh with the score tied 3-3.
Nic Gillies led off the inning with a single to center. Brassey followed with a bunt single, putting runners on first and second. Zach Tonnerre helped his own cause by dropping a sacrifice bunt, putting the winning run on third. Nicolas Belgum (“Clutch”) laid down a perfect suicide squeeze, scoring Gillies from third and the Redwood bench emptied as they mobbed Belgum on the field.
“They executed the things we work on every day in practice. It was great to see that one bad inning on defense didn’t spoil the outcome of the game” Assistant Coach Joel Russo said after the game. Redwood tallied twelve hits with Josh Cohen, Aubrey Sine, Henry Zeisler, and Parker Laret all adding to the total. Sophomore shortstop Pascal Brassey added two hits while the “Two Nics” (Gillies and Belgum) combined for half of the Giants total with three hits each.
The Giants have a quick turn-around as they host Serra at Albert Park Wednesday night at 7:00pm.