Varsity Drop Back and Forth Contest to Petaluma

3/21: The Giants can play with the best and will be contenders going forward. Despite a loss to MCAL rival Drake on Tuesday, Redwood’s varsity baseball team showed up ready to play against Petaluma high school Thursday night at Moody field. Head Coach Mike Firenzi shuffled his batting order and started left hand pitcher, Lucas Roy, for the first time this season. Roy sat down the Trojans in order to start the game. In the bottom half, batting in the leadoff spot, Jack Morken ripped a hard ground ball up the middle to start things off for the upbeat Giants. Roy would follow with the first of his three hits on the day, advancing Morken to third. Jackson Barry laid down a bunt to score Morken (1-0).

The Giants led off the bottom of the third inning with a single by Lucas Roy. Jackson Barry then put the ball in play and successfully reached base after an error by the Petaluma third baseman, advancing Roy to second base. Matt Birchenough entered the game to run for Barry. Second baseman, Genki LeClair, drove the ball to left field, scoring Roy (2-0). The Giants kept Petaluma off the scoreboard through four innings of play. In the fifth, the giants committed their first error in the field and threw a wild pitch, allowing Petaluma to score their first run. The Trojans scored two in the sixth to temporarily take the lead (2-3).

In the bottom of the sixth, with two outs, Jesse Gassman singled to left field. Jake Nordstrom followed with a single to left, advancing Gassman. Jared Robinow had a gutsy at bat and drove a two-strike ball to center field, scoring Gassman to tie the game 3-3. Unfortunately, the Giants could not keep Petaluma off the scoreboard in the seventh and conceded one run. Redwood would put the tying run on base but could not plate the runner. Final Score: 3-4.

Redwood out hit Petaluma 9 to 8, but costly errors proved to be the one run difference. When all the pieces come together for seven innings, the Giants should resume their winning ways next week when they go on the road against Terra Linda (Tuesday 3/26 @4:30 p.m.) and San Rafael (Friday 3/29 @ 6:30 p.m.) under the lights at Albert Field.

Varsity Handles Novato 10 to 1

3/15: The Giants visited Novato High School Friday evening and won handedly – 10 to 1.

Felder fires a fastball for a strike

Senior, Kyle Felder, started for the Giants and threw four innings of two hit baseball, striking out three. Offensively, Redwood wasted no time and scored three runs in the top of the first inning. Second baseman, Genki LeClair, induced a walk to start the game. He would go on to steal second base before center fielder, Lucas Roy, would put the ball in play to the Hornet second baseman, easily scoring LeClair. Roy stole second and would be advanced to third base by a ground ball hit by Jackson Barry. Nick Welch was walked and would take second base after another Hornet error, scoring Roy (2-0). Alex Hagen singled up the middle, scoring Welch (3-0).

Hagen ropes a single as his teammates look on

Redwood would concede one run in the bottom of the second, then run away with the contest. The Giants scored runs in the third and fourth innings, two in the fifth, and three in the sixth to conclude their ten-hit performance. Head coach, Mike Firenzi, played most of his players, giving the entire squad game time experience. The Giants improved their defensive performance, committing only one error.

Giants pitching was once again sound, conceding only two hits, five walks and a run between Kyle Felder, Ben Cohen, and Jackson Bender. On offense, Jesse Gassman and Jack Morken led the Giants with two hits each, with Morken hitting his third triple in two games.

Morken strokes his third triple in two games

Haiden Jones drove in one run in the fifth inning after a six-pitch battle. Zack Gordon started at shortstop and played error free ball, making several clean plays for outs while getting a hit and scoring two runs. Sam Warren accounted for the final giant hit with a double in the bottom of the fourth.

The Varsity Giants play next at Drake High School on Tuesday March 19th. Nick Welch is scheduled to start. First pitch – 4:30 p.m.

Giant Comeback Falls Short in Loss to Tam


Nick Welch pitched good enough for the win

The Giants started off relatively sharp the first three innings of Tuesday night’s matchup against Tam high school. Starting pitcher, Nick Welch, was throwing hard, striking out six batters through the first three innings.

Genki LeClair makes an over-the-shoulder catch

Even after an early error in the bottom of the second inning, the Giants second baseman, Genki LeClair, made an exceptional over the shoulder catch in shallow right field, doubling up the runner at first base who underestimated LeClair’s ability to track down the troublesome blooper. The Giants had early opportunities to score as well. In the bottom of the second, first baseman, Jack Morken, blasted a ball to right field in route to a triple. With only one out, the Giants were unable to score Morken.

Tam would score first in the top of the fourth inning with a couple of doubles. Redwood would respond with hits by Lucas Roy and Jackson Barry, leaving runners at the corners with no outs. Next, Head coach, Mike Firenzi, called for a squeeze play but Roy was tagged out at home on the fielder’s choice. With the threat at third eliminated, a deep fly ball out to center field by Morken would fail to advance the two runners on base. The Giants could not equalize in the fourth.

The Giants troubles began in the top of the fifth when a slew of fielding errors allowed the Hawks to plate two runs (0-3). Jared Robinow would enter the game in the bottom half and force a seven pitch walk to get on base, but the Giants could not advance the speedy Robinow.

In the top of the sixth inning, Tam would score two more unearned runs (0-5). The Giants finally broke through in the bottom of the sixth. Center fielder, Lucas Roy, lead off with a single up the middle. Jackson Barry then singled to left field, advancing Roy. J. Gassman would enter as a courtesy runner for Barry. Drake Goodman was then walked, loading the bases. Jack Morken was also walked, scoring Roy (1-5). Sam Warren then hit a line drive to right field, scoring Gassman (2-5). Jared Robinow bunted the ball down first base, scoring Goodman (3-5). Matt Birchenough entered the game and hit the ball toward third base but was narrowly called out at first base to end the inning.

The Giants would unfortunately surrender three more runs in the bottom of the seventh inning on walks and fielding errors. Down but not out, the Giants would mount another comeback. Genki LeClair lead off with a line drive single to left field. Jackson Barry then hit a fielder’s choice to third, advancing LeClair to third base and leaving Barry on first after an error by the Tam first baseman. Alex Hagen then singled to right field, scoring LeClair (4-8). Barry would get stuck in no-mans’ land on the fly ball, eventually getting tagged out at second.

Jack Morken blasts his 2nd triple

With two outs, Jack Morken hit his second triple of the day, scoring Hagen (5-8). Jake Gassman would walk, leaving the tying run at the plate. The game would end on a high fly ball to center field. Final Score: 5-8

Notables: Jack Morken (2 Triples, 1BB, 2RBI), Jackson Barry (2H), Lucas Roy (2H, 1R), Sam Warren (1H, 1RBI), Genki LeClair (1H, 1Run), Jared Robinow (1RBI).

Varsity play next at Novato High on Friday the 15th. First pitch 4:30 p.m.

Giants Bounce Back as Bats Come Alive

3/8:  After opening conference play with a tough loss, the Varsity Giants bounced back, putting up crooked numbers in the first three innings hosting the Branson Bulls today at Moody Field.

The Bulls threatened in the top of the first, loading the bases on two free passes and a hit batter, but starting pitcher Kyle Felder was able to work through it with help from his defense and himself, forcing a bases loaded grounder back to the box.  The Giants doubled their run total against San Marin in the first inning as after one out, a Lucas Roy single was followed by a single by Jackson Barry.  Nick Welch would single, scoring Roy to post the first Giants run.  Jack Morken would follow with the fourth hit in a row, sending Barry home, putting Redwood up 2-0.

Felder made quick work of the Bulls in the top of the second, sending them down 1-2-3.  Starting catcher Jake Gassman led off the bottom of the second with a single to center.  Gassman would advance to second on a wild pitch and steal third on the first pitch to Lucas Roy.  Roy then knocked Gassman home for his second hit on the day, putting the Giants up 3-0.  Roy would also steal third and score on a Jackson Barry sacrifice fly to center.  After two innings, Redwood 4 – Branson 0.

After a lead off single and a strike-out, Branson would cut the lead in half on a wind-aided, fly ball that cleared the wall in left.  Jackson Bender was hailed from the bullpen to stymy the Bulls threat, which he di in commanding fashion, inducing a fly out and ending the inning with a strike out.  Shortstop Jackson Reed led off the bottom of the frame with a walk, and Jake Gassman singled to right side, but Reed was cut down on a perfect throw to third.  Gassman went to third on a balk by the pitcher and was knocked home on a single by Genki LeClair.  After stealing second and third, LeClair then scored on a passed ball, putting the Giants up 6-2 after three innings.

Bender then sent the Bulls down in order, and the Giants followed suit, sending the game into the fifth inning.  Satoshi Miki led off the inning reaching first on an error.  After Miki stole second and third, Jake Gassman would tally his third hit on the day, roping a double to center, scoring Satoshi from third, putting the Giants up 7-2

Branson scored a run in the top of the sixth, but that would end up being all of the scoring for the day.  Four Giants pitchers (Kyle Felder, Jackson Bender, Ben Cohen, and Robbie Wilson) would combine for the win, holding the Bulls to three runs while striking out four and only walking two.  Genki LeClair, Jackson Barry, Nick Welch and Jack Morken all had a hit apiece, while Lucas Roy added two and Jake Gassman had a perfect day at the plate, going 3-3, scoring twice with an RBI.  The Giants stole a total of seven bases on the day.

The Giants scheduled game against Dublin will be rescheduled due to impending rain.  They will resume league play, hosting the Tamalpais Red-Tailed Hawks on Tuesday at 4:00pm at Moody Field.



Varsity Giants Drop MCAL Opener

3/7: Under gray skies the Varsity Baseball Team was unable to bounce back from an early deficit, despite out hitting the Mustangs eight to six. After conceding two early runs in the top of the first, Redwood would load the bases in the bottom half with hits by Lucas Roy and Jackson Barry and a walk issued to Jack Morken but were unable to take advantage of the early opportunity.

Jake Gassman shows off his perfect form

The Giants also had their chances to score in the fourth inning after starting pitcher, Nick Welch, lead off with a double to left field and Morken was hit by a pitch. With two men on and no outs, the Giants hit the ball hard, but right into the hands of the Mustangs defense and were kept off the scoreboard.

The Giants finally scored in the bottom of the sixth inning. Jackson Barry led off with a booming double to left-center field. Ben Cohen would enter the game and run for Barry. Drake Goodman then drove the ball to right field, scoring Cohen, but would be tagged out at second base. Matt Birchenough entered the game and singled to right field. Sam Warren then drove the ball safely to right field, but the rally would end as Birchenough got tagged out at third base to end the inning. Although Redwood outhit the Mustangs, they could not capitalize on their opportunities.

Drake Goodman bangs one of the Giants eight hits

Giants pitching (Welch, Bender, & Gassman) registered seven strikeouts on the day, giving up just one walk. On offense, Lucas Roy, Nick Welch, Matt Birchenough, Sam Warren & Satoshi Miki all had hits. Drake Goodman had the only RBI on the day and Jackson Barry lead all batters with two hits on the day.

“We won’t win a lot of games scoring just one run”,  Head Coach Mike Firenzi said after the game.  “We just can’t put that kind of pressure on the pitching staff if we want to win.”

The Varsity Giants resume MCAL play at home on Friday March 8th against Branson. First Pitch, 3:30 p.m. Senior, Kyle Felder, is the anticipated starter.

Varsity Pitchers Ring Up 11 Batters in First Loss of Season

3/1: Baseball is a very peculiar and difficult game. Statistically speaking, the Varsity Giants did well in two of the three key categories (hitting and pitching) which would have been enough to beat power house Casa Grande high school.  Uncharacteristically, it would be the Giants defense that let them down and as a result, Redwood fell to the Gauchos five to one in the last preseason game before MCAL league play begins next week. With a record of 3-1, Hall of Fame Head Coach, Mike Firenzi, has much to be excited about.  “We were off today but I’m not going to let this game get us down.  We had a great preseason and have a lot of good things to look back on, we also have a lot to build on and learn from our preseason.  I feel good about going into conference play, despite what happened today, we are ready.” Firenzi said after the game.

Senior Jackson Bender struck out five in two innings

Starting pitcher, Kyle Felder, threw two shutout innings, striking out three along the way. Senior, Jackson Bender, was exceptional through two innings of work, striking out five batters. Sophomore, Ben Cohen, was given two innings of work as well, striking out one. Junior ace, Nick Welch, had an inning of work before next weeks MCAL opener against San Marin. The Giants pitching staff is deep and healthy, which counts when it matters in May.

The Giants best opportunity to score came in the fourth inning. First baseman, Jack Morken, started things off with a hard hit single up the middle. Alex Hagen followed Morken with a deep blast into center field, moving Morken to third base. Senior, Sam Warren, did not hesitate and drove a line drive down the first base line, scoring Morken (1-3, Casa). Warren would go on to single in the sixth inning, tallying a team best two hits for the day.

The Giants stumbled defensively at critical times in the contest, committing six errors which accounted for four unearned runs that crossed the plate. There were also many athletic defensive plays in the field, but the weight of the fielding mistakes could not be lifted in effort to mount a comeback (Final Score: 5 to 1, Casa).

Senior Sam Warren led the team with two hits, knocking in the Giants lone run

Coach Firenzi has utilized all his players during the preseason. Platooning athletes into the outfield and infield, including the two Jakes behind the plate as he prepares the team for the long season ahead. The Giants are 3-1 and are well prepared for the 2019 MCAL season.

Todays notables: Sam Warren (2H, 1RBI); Jack Morken (1H, 1Run); Genki LeClair (1H); Zack Gordon (1H); Alex Hagen (1H).

The Varsity Giants start MCAL league play at home versus San Marin next Tuesday March 4th at Moody Field. First Pitch – 3:30 p.m. Go Giants!

Cohen, Welch, Defense, Shut Out Vanden

2/23: The varsity debut of the sophomore pitcher, Ben Cohen, was impressive. Standing on the hill for the first time in varsity shoes against the D1 Vanden Vikings, Cohen looked comfortable all afternoon.

Sophomore Ben Cohen fires a strike

Following in his two older brothers’ footsteps, the Giants pitcher threw six one-hit innings, ringing up three Vikings along the way. Despite the impressive performance by Cohen he would not get a decision, as  Redwood was locked in a zero-zero tie with the Vikings after six shutout innings of baseball.

The Giants had many opportunities to score in the early parts of the game but could never capitalize. They loaded the bases in the fourth inning with hard-hit balls and nifty bunts but left the runners on base. Each time the offense showed signs of life, the Vikings would find a way to kill the threat. The game was defined by good pitching and error-free defense. Catcher, Jake Nordstrom, helped Cohen along the way, throwing out a Viking baserunner at second base after Cohen threw a third strike for a double play.

Giants shortstop, Jackson Reed, was flawless in the middle, making several athletic plays at critical moments in the game. The game eventually went into extra innings. The designated hitter, Nick Welch, was given the ball in the seventh inning to stymie any hope of a Vikings walk-off victory.

Shortstop Jackson Reed was perfect in his seven chances in the field

In the top of the eighth, the Giants finally broke through. Now pitcher, Nick Welch, led the inning off with a double to right field. Satoshi Miki entered the game to run for Welch. Satoshi quickly took advantage of a wild pitch and stole third base. After, Matt Birchenough singled to right field, scoring Miki (1-0). Birch would promptly steal second, placing himself in scoring position for a newly activated left fielder, Jared Robinow. JR stepped up and singled to right field, moving Birchenough to third base. Jake Gassman then laid down a nice bunt, safely squeezing Birchenough across Homeplate (2-0). After, Jackson Reed got hit by a pitch, moving Robinow into scoring position. Red hot senior, Genki LeClair, ripped his third hit of the day, scoring Jared Robinow (3-0). The Vikings catcher then made a run-scoring mistake by throwing down to second base to pick off the speedy senior, Genki LeClair. With little hope of tagging LeClair, Jackson Reed did not hesitate and plated the Giants fourth run of the inning.

Pitcher, Nick Welch, would close the door on the Vikings to secure the victory. Final Score: 4-0.

Notables: Genki LeClair (3H,1RBI), Lucas Roy (1H), Nick Welch (1H), Matt Birchenough (1H,1Run, 1RBI), Jared Robinow (1H,1Run), Jake Gassman (1RBI), Jackson Reed (1Run), & Satoshi Miki (1Run).

The 3-0 Giants are scheduled to play Montgomery High School at home on Wednesday the 27th – weather permitting. Nick Welch is the projected starter. Go, Giants!

Four Run Third Propels Varsity Past Rancho Cotati

2/22:      The Giants varsity baseball team improved their pre-season record to 2-0 with a 5 to 1 victory over Rancho Cotati high school. Senior Kyle Felder, was back to form, throwing five innings of shutout baseball. Felder rung up four Cougars while giving up just one walk.

Firenzi waves pinch-runner Zach Gordon home on a Jack Morken single for the Giants fourth run

Redwood’s outburst of offense in the bottom of the third was all it would take to secure the win. Left-fielder, Sam Warren, got things started with a hard-hit ball to left field. Warren would go on to steal second base. Next, after showing bunt, catcher Jake Nordstrom stood up and drove a high fast ball to right field leaving runners on the corners. Shortstop, Jackson Reed, got the Giants on the board with a single to left, scoring Warren (1-0). Center-fielder, Lucas Roy, then laid down a bunt, squeezing Nordstrom across the plate (2-0). Third baseman, Jackson Barry, drove the ball to left, scoring Reed (3-0). Zach Gordon entered the game to run for Barry. First baseman, Jack Morken, joined the hit parade with a shot to center, scoring Gordon from second base (4-0).

In the fifth inning, second baseman, Genki LeClair, led off with a hard-hit ball down the first base line. LeClair would easily steal second base then make his way to third. Nick Welch then drove the ball into deep left-center field, allowing LeClair to easily tag up and head home (5-0). Jackson Barry was given a free base after being hit by a pitch. Barry would go on to successfully steal second, giving his teammates in the dugout much to cheer about.

Alex Hagen entered the game in the sixth inning in relief of Felder. Hagen enticed a ground ball from the Rancho hitter, allowing third baseman, Jackson Barry, to field it cleanly, tag his base and throw out the runner at first. Barry and Morken have combined for two double plays in as many games.

Matthew Smallbach and Jesse Gassman also pitched in relief of Felder. With the Cougars threatening to score, Gassman picked off the runner at second to the end the last real scoring opportunity for Rancho Cotati.

Senior Kyle Felder earned the win, yielding just two hits while striking out four in five shut-out innings

Giants pitching gave up only four hits and one run. Kyle Felder earned the win. Offensively, Jake Nordstrom had two hits on the day and scored a run. Other notables were: Genki LeClair (1H, 1Run), Jackson Barry (1H,1RBI), Jack Morken (1H,1RBI), Nick Welch (1RBI), Sam Warren (1H,1Run), Jackson Reed (1H,1Run,1RBI) and Zach Gordon (1 Run). Final Score: 5-1, Giants.

“It wasn’t flashy”, Firenzi said after the game, “We scored five runs without getting an extra base hit. Our pitchers have given up just two runs in two games and are playing defense.  That’s a great combination when you are executing like we are at the plate.”

The Giants play Vanden High School in Fairfield tomorrow (2/23) at 12 noon. Ben Cohen is expected to get the start.

Varsity Grinds Out 2-1 Victory over Vintage in Home Opener

2/20:   Head coach, Mike Firenzi and his reworked Varsity team began the defense of their 2018 MCAL championship with a hard-fought win over Napa’s Vintage high school, defeating the Crushers 2-1 on a cold aftenoon at Moody field.

Junior, Nick Welch, started on the hill for the Giants, throwing three full innings. Welch struck out six batters and conceded one run after 69 pitches.

Nick Welch fanned six just three innings of work

The Crushers took the lead in the second inning but that was short-lived. In the bottom of the third, Giants second basemen, Genki LeClair, led off the inning with a hard-hit bomb to right-center field. The speedy senior landed on third base with a stand-up triple. The Giants tied the game after center-fielder, Lucas Roy, dropped a beautiful bunt down the third base line, scoring LeClair (1-1). Next up, third baseman, Jackson Barry, lined the ball into left field, scoring Roy (2-1, Redwood). The Giants relied on big plays on defense and a steady bullpen to secure the victory in the 2019 home opener.

Lucas Roy drops a beautiful bunt on a high pitch to squeeze home the Giants first run

Pitcher, Matt Birchenough, relieved Welch in the fourth inning, picking off a runner at second with a nifty designed play with his middle infielders. The corners got involved next, when third baseman, Jackson Barry, snared a hard-hit ball, tagged third, then threw a short-hopped ball to first baseman, Jack Morken, for a critical double-play. The Giants found themselves in many tight situations all night but always found their way out.

Senior, Jackson Bender, pitched the fifth and sixth innings. Bender was sharp, striking out three while not allowing a run. The top of the fifth inning was highlighted when, with runners in scoring position, the Giants defense kept the Crushers off the scoreboard with a tremendous relay from left-fielder, Sam Warren, to shortstop, Jackson Reed, who fired a bullet to catcher, Jake Gassman, throwing the tying run out at home and preserving the one-run lead.

In the seventh inning, Jesse Gassman was given the ball to close out the game. After allowing one hit, Gassman closed the door on the Crushers by picking off a runner at second with no outs then striking out the remainder of the side.

The Giants offense finished with a total of seven hits: LeClair (2), Roy (1), Barry (1), Hagen (1), Warren (1), and Reed (1). Giants’ pitching combined for a total of eleven strikeouts while conceding just one run. This was a complete team win with contributions from 17 different players throughout the home opener.  “We executed today” Firenzi said after the game, “We bunted, had a hit-and-run, and we had a great relay play to cut off a run at the plate.  We have some things to work on, but I’m pleased with how we played today.”

Genki LeClair bangs one of his two hits on the day

The Varsity side resumes their pre-season schedule on Friday the 22nd when they host Rancho Cotate high school at Moody field. Senior, Kyle Felder, is scheduled to start for the Giants. First pitch: 3:30 p.m.


5/18:  The Varsity Giants concluded the regular season in what is now becoming ‘Regular Fashion’ as MCAL Champions.  For the third time in the last four years, Redwood was awarded the MCAL Championship Banner which will be hoisted in the gym and displayed proudly among the other twenty-five baseball championship banners.

After working through a rough patch this season where the Giants lost three straight games and dropped in the standings from a tie for first place to squeaking into the playoffs as the fifth seed, the Giants needed to win three games in four days to be MCAL Co-Champions and earn the automatic NCS bid.

Redwood started the week on the road on Tuesday and defeated San Marin on a cold, windy, typical spring day in Northern Novato.  After pitching four strong innings, Robbie Wilson was relieved by Senior Oliver Pearson who would earn the win as the pitcher of record in the top of the seventh when Jackson Barry broke a 2-2 deadlock by dropping a perfect suicide squeeze scoring Josh Cohen from third for the winning run.  Nick Welch earned the save by pitching a scoreless seventh inning.  Dane Goodman, Josh Cohen, Jack Morken, Luke Zlatunich, Drew Jacks, Genki LeClair all had hits for the Giants and Mackie Skall banged out two hits.  Goodman, Morken and Barry were responsible for knocking in the Giants runs that were scored by Cohen, Zlatunich and Jacks.

The Giants faced off against Tamalpais on Thursday night under the lights at Albert Park.  Redwood split their games with Tam during the regular season and would have to beat their ace, Jack Loder, to get to the Championship game.  Sophomore Nick Welch would get the call on the mound and he answered the call by pithing an absolute gem, yielding no hits in five and a third innings of work.  After Welch walked the three batters to load the bases in the sixth, Head Coach Mike Firenzi made the tough call of pulling him for Oliver Pearson.  “I think it’s the first time I’ve ever pulled a pitcher out of a no-hitter, but his pitch count was getting up there and I didn’t want to push the pitch count limit…he exceeded my expectations.” Firenzi said after the game.  Welch was greeted by a standing ovation as he left the field by the Redwood faithful and even a few Tamalpais fans with the Giants up 4-0.  With the bases juiced, Pearson would give up a single that was turned into a double after a bobble in left, and after the dust settled, three Tam runners had crossed the plate.  Pearson would lock down the inning by inducing a line-out to Josh Cohen and a strike out to end the inning and would end the game by striking out the side in the bottom of the seventh.

Dane Goodman, Josh Cohen, Mackie Skall, Jackson Barry, Luke Zlatunich and Genki LeClair all had hits for the Giants with Drew Jacks adding two.  Barry, and LeClair had RBI’s and Goodman, Cohen, Jacks and Zlatunich were responsible for scoring the Giants runs.

The Giants ‘Cinderella Story’ would be concluded tonight as the Giants would face off against the Drake Pirates who mowed through the NCS DIII Championships last year and mowed through the MCAL season this year, taking the Round-Robin MCAL Championship with a record of 15-3.  Drake made sure to pitch their ace, Ryan McLaughlin, just three innings in the semi-final game against Branson so that he would be able to pitch seven innings in the championship tonight.  This is a lock-tight strategy if the game goes seven innings.  McLaughlin, a sure bet to win Pitcher of the Year honors, dominated the league this year with a 1.04 ERA in a whopping seventy-four innings pitched and earned nine of the Pirates league wins.  As fate would have it, Redwood was able to take the game into extra innings and test Drake’s bullpen by scoring a run in the top of the sixth after Dane Goodman led off the inning with a hot smash to the third baseman that was too hot to handle.  Josh Cohen sent Goodman to second on a sacrifice bunt.  Goodman was cut off at the plate after Mackie Skall ripped a ball to left and a perfect strike to the catcher left the Giants with two outs and Jack Morken holding the fate of the Giants in his hands.  Morken answered, lacing a seed to the left-center gap, plating Skall and tying the game 1-1 going into the bottom of the sixth.

Robbie Wilson pitched three strong innings for the Giants and handed the ball to Oliver Pearson.  Pearson gave up a run but sent the Pirates down in order in the bottom of the sixth by striking out the side.  Luke Zlatunich singled with an out in the top of the seventh, but was erased on a 6-4-3 double play to take the game to the bottom of the seventh.  Pearson struck out the lead off batter and then would rely on his defense for the next two outs.  Pascal Brassey made a great play on a shot to short for the second out and the inning ended on a hot smash to third, similar to the shot Goodman hit in the top of the sixth, but Jackson Barry short hopped it and tossed to first to end the inning.

Drake would now have to go to the bullpen in the top of the eighth because McLaughlin pitched his tenth inning of the week and the Giants capitalized.  Dane Goodman led off the inning with a walk.  Josh Cohen followed with a walk and Mackie Skall drove a 1-1 fastball to center scoring Goodman, putting the Giants up 2-1.  Jack Morken hit a high-hopper over the first baseman’s head, scoring Cohen.  Jackson Barry then tallied his third hit of the day, scoring Skall, putting the Giants up 4-1.

Pearson gave up a lead off single in the bottom of the eight, but the boisterous Drake crowd was silenced when Dane Goodman tracked down a bomb to the right-center gap that looked like a sure triple off of the bat.  Pearson struck out the final two batters he faced, securing the MCAL Pennant for the Giants, ending the week with two wins and a save.

The Giants future now rests in the hands of the NCS Seeding Committee with hopes of securing a first round home game next week.  The question that soon will be answered is, will this Cinderella take home only the MCAL Banner or will they take home another NCS title?

Varsity Defeats Powerhouse Monte Vista 7-1

3/8:  The Varsity Giants defeated perennial powerhouse Monte Vista for the second year in a row today on the road in Danville.  The Giants were not intimidated by the Mustangs starting pitcher, the imposing 6’7″ senior Jackson Ertz, who weighs in at over 200 pounds and boasts a plus fastball.

Oliver Pearson would notch his second win in his career against the Mustangs who lost in the D1 Championship game vs. De La Salle last year.  Pearson was magical on the mound, yielding one unearned run on three hits while striking out six and walking just one in six and two-thirds innings of work.  Jackson Bender was called out of the pen and struck out the only batter he faced, securing the win for Redwood.

Redwood scored in the top of the third after a one out single by Josh Cohen was followed by a single to center by Anthony Pomilia, advancing Cohen to third.  Pascal Brassey knocked Cohen home with a single to left taking the Giants to the bottom of the frame up 1-0.  Monte Vista answered after a hit batter advanced to second on a passed ball was followed by a two-out single to first that plated the runner from second, taking the game to the fourth inning with the score tied, 1-1.

The Giants offense broke the tie in the top of the sixth when Pascal Brassey led off the inning with a shot up the middle.  Mackie Skall walked and after a strikeout, Luke Zlatunich doubled to center, scoring Brassey.  Michael Connors dropped a perfect bunt for a single, scoring Skall, putting the Giants up 3-1.  Dane Goodman knocked in Zlatunich on a hard grounder to short.  After Goodman stole second, the inning would end with runners on second and third with the score 4-1 in favor of the Giants.

After Pearson made quick work of the Mustangs in the bottom of the sixth, Josh Cohen led off the top of the seventh with a double to left.  Anthony Pomilia took one for the team and took first after being hit by a pitch.  Pascal Brassey dropped a bunt that was thrown away, scoring Cohen and Pomilia, putting the Giants up 6-1.  Jack Morken singled to left and after two outs, Michael Connors roped a clutch base hit to center, plating Brassey for Redwood’s seventh run of the game.

Pearson earned the win on the mound while being supporting by ten Giants hits and no errors in the field.  Anthony Pomilia and Luke Zlatunich had hits while Pascal Brassey, Jack Morken, Michael Connors and Josh Cohen added two hits apiece.  Connors knocked in two, Goodman, Brassey and Zlatunich knocked in one.

The Giants square off against James Logan on the road next.


Giants White Hot Bats Heat Up the Cold Oakland Night

Redwood bats erupted during the cold, windswept night under the lights at Bishop O’Dowd Monday night.  First at bat, Anthony Pomilia set the mark with a solo dinger over the left field fence to put the Giants up 1-0.

In the bottom of the 1st, Blake Cusick took the bump for the Giants.  Cusick masterfully demonstrated his 38 different arm slots as he mowed through the O’Dowd batters for the next five innings.  A steady diet of curves, fastballs and spot placement stymied Bishop O’Dowd batters as Cusick painted the plate.

In support of their pitcher, the Giants piled on runs.  Top of the second, timely RBI’s by Sam Warren and Pomilia capitalized on two hit by pitch mistakes putting the Giants up 4-0.  In the top of the forth, backstop Mackie Skall asked for a helping of what Pomilia served by helping himself to the second solo dinger of the night.  Giants up 5-0.  A Jack Morken double and a Michael Connors single added another run in the 5th.  Pascal Brassey and Connors combined to plate three more runs in top of the 6th.

Ollie Pearson pitched a solid 6th inning, with new varsity player Jackson Bender closing the night with a strong 7th inning.  Solid Giant defense aided the team effort.

Notibles from the night where solo home runs from A. Pomilia and M. Skall, plus J Morken was hit by what should be a record 3 pitches.  What to take three for the team.  Brassey and Pomilia each had three hits, Connors had two and Skall, Morken and Warren each had one.

Varsity Giants Win Big in Preseason Opener

2/27:  There was no traditional bunting lining the fences, the sun shined bright but it was unusually frigid, and there were fireworks of a different kind as the Giants exploded for eleven runs while shutting out the Montgomery Vikings at their home opener at Moody Field.

Sophomore Nick Welch earned his first Varsity win, pitching four innings, scattering two hits and striking out three.

Josh Cohen fires a 1-2 fastball for strike three

Senior Josh Cohen pitched a scoreless inning, striking out one and Senior Blake Cusick pitched the final two innings, giving up just one hit while striking out two.

The Giants pitching staff combined for a shut out, giving up three hits, walking one, while striking out seven.  All told, only three Vikings players reached base.  “They did a great job,” Head Coach Mike Firenzi said about Welch, Cohen, and Cusick, “I like our chances to win a game when we hold the other team to no runs.  It was also great to see Welch get his first Varsity win.”

While the Giants pitching staff stood tall on the mound, at the plate they provided run support from the jump, scoring six runs in the bottom of the first inning.  Anthony Pomilia started the rally by launching a double to left.  Genki LeClair advanced Pomilia to third and reached first on a swinging strike three, setting the table for Mackie Skall.  Skall drove in Pomilia on a single to left, putting the Giants up 1-0.  Luke Zlatunich singled to left.  After a strike out, Michael Connors singled to center, scoring LeClair and Skall.  With one out, Dane Goodman blasted a triple to the center-field gap, plating Zlatunich, putting the Giants up 5-0.  Dio Cornet sent Goodman home by hitting a hot smash to the shortstop that he couldn’t handle.  After the dust settled, the Giants finished the frame leading the Vikings by a score of 6-0.

Michael Connors led off the bottom of the third with a single.  Dane Goodman would send Connors home on his second extra base hit, a double to left and advanced to third when the relay throw was bobbled by the shortstop.  Sam Warren drove in Goodman on a single to center, putting the Giants up 8-0.  With two outs, Genkie LeClair singled to right, driving in Warren.  Mackie Skall tripled to left scoring LeClair.  Luke Zlatunich and Jack Morkin were both plunked by pitches, and after the two bean-balls loaded the bases, Michael Connors earned his third RBI the easy way, taking a bases loaded walk, plating Skall.  The Giants went into the top of the fourth leading 11-0, which would be the final score of the game.

Third Baseman Jackson Barry and Shortstop Anthony Pomilia get set in the late innings

The Giants also played flawless defense, committing no errors in the field.

Jackson Barry, Sam Warren, Jack Morkin, Luke Zlatunich and Genki LeClair all had hits for the Giants with LeClair and Warren both knocking in runs.  Anthony Pomilia, Michael Connors and Dane Goodman contributed two hits each with Connors and Goodman combining for six RBI’s, knocking in three runs apiece.  Mackie Skall led all Giants hitters with three hits, knocking in two runs.  “Everyone contributed today, we pitched well, we hit, we played defense.  Tomorrow we will have a bit of a tougher test, but we are ready”, Firenzi said.

Redwood will face off against the Casa Grande Gauchos on Wednesday on the road at 3:30.

Giants Final Tune-Up – A Success For All Three

2/24:  Redwood Baseball has been on the field since February 5th and wrapped up their practice schedule with a scrimmage against Riordan in the bitter cold on Saturday.

Coach Firenzi gets the ground rules at Riordan on a sunny but bitter cold day

All three clubs walked away with wins, with the Freshman squad claiming the largest margin of victory in their respective un-scored, non-league, unofficial final tune-up shutting out Riordan 16-0.  “I think we are going to see a lot of scores like that this year from our younger guys, both the Freshman and the Junior Varsity teams are going to be very good this year”, Head Coach Mike Firenzi said.

The Varsity Team will also be strong in 2018 with fifteen returning players and six new additions filling out their twenty-one man roster.  Returning starting catcher Mackie Skall along with Juniors Jake Nordstrom and Sam Warren will drop the signs to a strong pitching staff.  Seniors Oliver Pearson, Josh Cohen, Blake Cusick, Andreas Gleckman along with Juniors Kyle Felder, Robbie Wilson, Jackson Bender and Sophomore Nick Welch round out a very deep pitching core.

2017 First Team All-MCAL Dane Goodman adjusts to a ball to center at Riordan

Returning players Michael Connors, Genki LeClair, Pascal Brassey, Jackson Barry, two-time All-MCAL Anthony Pomilia, and Dio Cornet (who transferred from the Dominican Republic to Redwood for his senior year), along with Wilson will represent the Giants in the infield. Returners Jack Morkin, Drew Jacks, and 2017 First Team All-MCAL Dane Goodman, along with Warren, Wilson and Cohen will patrol the expanses of the outfield.

When asked about how he felt about how the Varsity team played on Saturday and his outlook for the season Firenzi’s face lit up with excitement.  “I think we gave up just one hit and threatened on offense just about every inning today.  We played defense and only made a few mistakes.  We are deep in all positions.  We have all the pieces to the puzzle, we are still figuring out where everything fit…but we are close.  As long as we stay healthy, we will compete this year.

The Varsity Giants open their pre-season campaign at Moody on Tuesday, 2/27 at 3:30.  They will turn-around and face off against Casa Grande on Wednesday, 2/28 at 3:30 and round out the week with game against Bishop O’Dowd at Moody on Friday, 3/2 at 3:30.  The Junior Varsity will face off against Casa Grande on Wednesday, 2/28 at 3:30 at Casa Grande and finish the week on the road against Bishop O’Dowd on Friday 3/2, at 3:30.  The Freshman play Casa Grande at Endriss Field on Wednesday, 2/28 at 3:30 and close out the week at Endriss Field on Friday, 3/2 against Bishop O’Dowd at 3:30.

Come out and support your Redwood Giants!

Varsity Season Ended By Rival Marin Catholic

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.