4/4/23:  The Redwood Varsity Baseball Giants put up a nine-run second inning on Tuesday, coasting to an easy 14-0 victory against the Terra Linda Trojans at home. Twelve different Giants produced a total of 16 hits on the day, with center fielder Gavin Soper leading the way, garnering two extra-base hits, two runs and three RBIs. left fielder Tyler Sofnas also cracked a triple for the typically smallball Giants.

Meanwhile, the Trojans committed three errors, with only one hit to show for the entire game.

 Junior Chas Veley got the start for Redwood, pitching five shutout innings, with three strikeouts to just one walk. Veley faced just one batter over the minimum for his five innings of work, and threw only 46 pitches on the day. 

Sophomore Matthew Knauer and Senior Ben Resnick(erstwhile catcher, first baseman, designated hitter and now, occasional closer – even after catching 6 innings) both appeared for an inning each of mop-up work.

The Trojans’ only hit came on the first play of the game. Center fielder Jonah Truett topped a dribbler toward third base, where Giant Rex Solle raced in for what would have been a spectacular barehand play. Unfortunately, Solle threw the ball away at first, but it was impossible to tell whether there was any chance of catching Truett. And since Truett didn’t advance on the throw, there was no error at all, and he was credited with a single.

Truett’s luck on the basepaths didn’t last long, however, as Trojan second baseman Si Eon Davis slapped a comebacker to Veley’s glove side. Veley wheeled and delivered to shortstop Danil Wells, who turned a 1-6-3 double play which retired Davis by at least three steps.

The Trojans’ had only two other baserunners during Veley’s run. In the top of the 2nd, pitcher Leon Cervantes topped another dribbler in the same spot as Solle’s play in the first. However, this time, Veley reached the ball first, and was the one to throw it away. Not to be deterred, however, Veley quickly picked off Cervantes, satisfyingly returning the bases to their original unoccupied state.  

The Giants put a run on the board in the 1st with two outs, as first baseman Rory Minty’s sharp grounder skipped off of Cervantes’ glove, denying shortstop Nate Combrink any play on the ball. The left-handed Soper then reached out to send a doink double floating over third base, and landing just inside the left field line, scoring Minty. Soper’s triple in the bottom of the 2nd landed in the exact same spot, but this time was on a rope, scoring two runs, and bringing the score to 7-0.

In the interim, the Giants had put up five more runs on a combination of hits by Knauer, Solle, and right fielder Jack Moseley, along with two walks, two wild pitches, an error and a hit batsman. Soper himself then scored on a third wild pitch, to make it 8-0, still with only one out in the inning.

The Giants added two more runs on another hit batsman (Resnick, who was plunked twice in the game), Sofnas’ triple, and more singles by Knauer and Moseley (their second each of the inning). When the dust had cleared, the score stood 10-0 Redwood after two innings.

The final three runs of the game, spread over the remaining innings, came from RBI singles by Resnick and replacement outfielders Jack Corvi and Sam Gersch. Other fresh faces which were nice to see in the later innings included first baseman Harrison Lapic, second baseman Quinn Miller, third baseman Lucas Ghio, and right fielder Wyatt Turkington.

The win brings the Giants to 12-2 on the year (8-1 MCAL), serving as a tuneup before some more challenging opponents later in the week at a 3-day tournament in the East Bay. Redwood kicks off the action in Pleasanton on Thursday at noon, facing the Falcons of Foothill High School. Their schedule on Friday will depend on their Thursday result, and likewise Friday to Saturday.


3/31/23:  It was a new day for the Redwood Varsity Baseball Giants. Coming off of a dispiriting 12-inning loss to the Archie Williams Peregrine Falcons in San Anselmo the night before, the Giants returned home to Moody Field and righted the ship, besting the Falcons 3-0.

Starting Giants pitcher Rex Solle, having walked in the winning run the prior evening, came back with a vengeance, striking out 13 Falcons and allowing only three hits over 6 1/3 innings. Most impressively, Solle issued zero walks, and came out of the game due only to pitch count limitation.

The Giants got on the board in the bottom of the 3rd, when third baseman Lucas Ghio reached on an error, then stole second. With one out, Solle stood in, facing Falcon starting pitcher Sam Black, the same Falcon he had walked the night before to close out the game.

Putting the past aside, Solle helped himself with a blooper that dropped into shallow right field. Solle rounded first and raced into second as Falcon right fielder Luca Genovese stood paralyzed in hesitation, holding the ball not 50 feet away from Solle, apparently wary of Ghio rounding third.

It was especially satisfying for Solle to fly right past the stymied Genovese, who had scored two of the Falcons’ three runs the night before, including the winning run in the 12th.

With Giants now on second and third, first baseman Rory Minty hit a sharp grounder to second baseman Jack Evans, who was able to hold the runners and throw Minty out at first. And when shortstop Danil Wells hit another grounder to Evans, it felt like this might be turning into yet another of the Giants’ wasted threats from the last two days. After all, Redwood hadn’t scored a run in 13 innings, stranding 18 runners over that stretch.  But this time, fortune smiled on the Giants. Evans couldn’t handle Wells’s hard-hit grounder, and, when he picked it up, decided to throw it home instead of throwing to first or simply holding the ball. As Ghio was sliding in to score, Evans’ throw skipped past the outstretched backhand of catcher Gilly Roth, clattering around the backstop, and allowing Solle to race in and score as well, making it 2-0 Giants. Wells let out a huge whoop as he stood on second. It felt like the drought was over.

Evans, as if hurrying to complete his penance, handled a grounder from Giants center fielder Gavin Soper on the very next pitch for out number three, then led off the top of the 4th, hitting the first pitch he saw into left field for a single.  Giants left fielder Tyler Sofnas, running in on the grounder, ran past the ball, letting it roll all the way to the fence, while Evans continued to third.

With no outs and Evans on third, Solle found his groove, rearing back to strike out the heart of the Falcon order and end the inning, then coming back in the 5th to strike out the side again.

The Giants tacked on an insurance run in the 6th, amidst more Falcon miscues. Soper walked, then took second on a botched pickoff attempt which hit him in the back. Catcher Rory Coughlan grounded to shortstop, reaching when Falcon freshman August Block’s throw pulled first baseman Ryan Smith-Stewart off the bag, putting runners on first and third with one out.

As Giants right fielder Jack Moseley stood in, Black unloaded a wild pitch to score Soper and send Coughlan to second, making It 3-0. Then, there was a kind of déjà vu, as Moseley hit a sharp grounder to third baseman Henry Hanavan, who held the runner, but also pulled Smith-Stewart off the bag with his throw, marking Archie’s 5th error of the game. This call took an umpire conference to decide, but in the end they got it right.

Solle came out firing in the top of the 7th, striking out Smith-Stewart for his 13thK, and pushing for the complete game. But when Roth fouled off three pitches on a 2-2 count, then flipped a flare into right field..

Coach Firenzi brought in Jerry Omara, the Baller from Kampala, to close things out, and Omara blew a fastball by pinch-hitter Jake Barnes for out number two. 

Redwood fans, on the edge of their seats, grew a tad uncomfortable when the pesky Genovese lined a screamer down the right field line for a double, putting runners on second and third, and bringing the tying run to the plate in the form of left fielder Jackson Oliver-Roa. However, Omara got Oliver-Roa to pop up in foul ground behind first base, where Minty ranged back and made the play, ending the game.

With the win, the Giants move to 11-2 on the year (7-1 MCAL), and split their season series with Archie Williams. Solle leads the team in batting with a .405 average, and has now struck out 52 batters in just over 30 innings pitched. Trono’s average is back up to .374, with Wells and Sofnas both at .333, and Coughlan at .324. Wells and Minty share the team lead in RBIs with 7. The top of the order continues to fly, with Trono and Solle scoring 11 and 10 runs respectively on the year, and Trono stealing 14 bases, with Solle and Soper at 7 each.

 The Giants gear up for a busy week ahead, with five games scheduled starting Tuesday at home against the Terra Linda Trojans of San Rafael. Redwood then embarks on a 3-day tournament in the East Bay, starting noon Thursday at the Foothill High Falcons of Pleasanton.

Varsity Giants Drop a 12 Inning Heartbreaker to Archie Williams

3/30/23:  The Redwood Varsity Baseball Giants went flat on Thursday, letting the Peregrine Falcons of Archie Williams come back, hang around, and then finally win an extra-inning contest in San Anselmo, 3-2.  Although the Giants managed 10 hits over 12 innings, and only struck out twice, their contact never converted into scoring, as they stranded 16 runners on the day. 

Things seemed to start off well for the Giants, who came in riding a 6-game winning streak, as they got on the board in the top of the 2nd against Falcon starter Charlie Scola.  Center fielder Gavin Soper and left fielder Tyler Sofnas both reached base on infield singles, before catcher Rory Coughlan poked a seeing-eye grounder up the middle to score Soper.

Right fielder Jack Moseley followed with a spinning bunt that was about to die on the third base line. Falcon catcher Gilly Roth pounced on it late, firing wildly past first baseman Sam Black,  scoring Sofnas, making it 2-0 with runners on 2nd and 3rd and only one out.

But while their fortunes looked bright at that moment, the Giants were unable to score further in the inning, and in fact came to bat a whopping ten more times without scoring. 

Meanwhile, Giants’ starting pitcher Rory Minty was enjoying a typically effective game, allowing no hits through the first three innings, and only one hit through five. The Falcons had only three baserunners through five innings, and one was just temporary.  With two outs in the 3rd inning, Minty walked Falcon left fielder Max Lefferts, only to watch catcher Rory Coughlan gun him down at second two pitches later. 

In the bottom of the 4th, Scola led off with a slow roller just past the mound, then advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Evans. Black’s towering foul pop brought first baseman Ben Resnick all the way over to the side fence, where he deftly reached above the out-of-bounds marker to snare the ball for out number two, with Scola reaching third on the tag. The Rory-Rory battery came through again for the Giants, though, as Minty fired a fastball past third baseman Henry Hanavan, with Coughlan handling the foul tip to retire the side.

Things didn’t go the Giants’ way in the bottom of the 6th. The Falcons quickly loaded the bases on singles by right fielder Luca Genovese and Lefferts, followed by a well-placed bunt single by Scola. Minty, facing his first real threat in a while, responded by striking out second baseman Jack Evans on three pitches, freezing Evans in his shoes with a dastardly curveball for strike three.

Now with one out and the bases still loaded, cleanup hitter Black lifted what looked to be a routine fly ball out to Gavin Soper in center field. With the normally sure-handed Soper camped under the ball, the question became whether Genovese would score on the tag, or whether Soper would throw him out, preserving Minty’s shutout.  As Black’s ball arrived, Soper set his feet and began shifting his momentum forward to optimize his throw. But unfortunately, at that moment, and unbeknownst to the crowd, Soper was not 100%. In fact, earlier in the day on the basepaths, Soper had hyperextended his left knee while scoring Redwood’s first run.

And as he stepped forward for the throw, Soper’s left cleat caught in the Archie outfield turf, aggravating his knee. Wincing in pain, Soper lost track of the ball, which bounced off of his glove and fell to the ground at his feet, allowing Genovese to score. Instead of being out of the inning up 2-0, the Giants were now up just 2-1, still with only one out, and the bases still loaded.

Giants shortstop Danil Wells dove to his right to corral Falcon third baseman Henry Hanavan’s sharp grounder in the hole, then threw ahead from the seat of his pants to third baseman Rex Solle, forcing Scola for out number two. Unfortunately, Lefferts scored on the play to tie the game 2-2, but things could have been worse.  The Giants finally got out of the inning when pinch-hitter Tiernan Bratcher-Mahon tapped a slow roller to second base, where Theo Trono waited just long enough for first baseman Ben Resnick to get back to the base and make the play.

Down to their last out in the top of the 7th, the Giants put together something of a threat. Moseley beat out a grounder to short, then stole second. Trono followed with a walk, then both orchestrated a double steal, putting runners on second and third, and bringing Solle, the Giants’ leading hitter, to the plate. Sadly, Solle’s squib down the first base line was handled easily by Black, retiring the side.

Minty, rebounding from his rough patch in the 6th, retired the Falcons in order in the bottom of the 7th, sending the game into extra innings, but also nearly maxing out his pitch count, and finishing his day.

The Giants went down in order in the top of the 8th (and in 3 of the 5 extra innings), but the Falcons weren’t as quiet in the bottom of the 8th against reliever Chas Veley, as Lefferts worked an 0-2 count into a leadoff walk, advancing to second on a passed ball, then to third on a comebacker.

With one out, and the winning run on third, Evans lifted a fly ball to center eerily similar to the one Soper had dropped two innings ago. This time, Soper made the play cleanly, holding Lefferts at third, and bringing cleanup hitter Black to the plate with two outs.

Black and Veley had squared off before.  Now, in 2023, in the bottom of the 8th, Veley came up big, striking out Black with a curveball away to retire the side. The score remained tied 2-2.

In the bottom of the 9th, the Falcons caused another minor scare, putting two runners on with two outs. Roth reached on a slap single up the middle, which Wells reached but had no play on. Then Falcon DH Hudson Lofrano hit what looked to be a routine ground ball to Solle at third. 

By this time, the San Anselmo afternoon sun had nearly set out in left field, and was so low in the sky that Minty was blinded on Solle’s throw across to first, dropping it and putting the winning run in scoring position. Fortunately, Veley again came up with the stop, striking out Genovese to retire the side.

After 11 innings, with the sun fully gone behind the trees, the coaches and umpires agreed to play at most one more inning. If the game remained tied after that, it would be resumed at Redwood the following day before their regularly-scheduled rubber match.

With that in mind, the Giants seriously threatened in the top of the 12th against Falcon pitcher Nick Forrest (now working his 5th inning in relief). With one out, Mosely, already with two hits on the day, worked a walk, advancing to second on a beautiful bunt single by Trono. Solle followed with a single up the middle, sending Moseley racing around third towards the plate. Unfortunately, Falcon starting pitcher Scola was now in center field, and uncorked a perfect throw to gun down Mosely by two steps, leaving runners on second and third with two outs.

With the infield and outfield in, and tensions high, the Falcons elected to intentionally walk known quantity Minty to load the bases and get to Veley. But their gamble appeared to fail when Veley stirred the crowd with a line drive to right-center that looked to break open the game.  But the breakthrough was not to be. Maddeningly for Giants fans, Genovese had been playing well off the line in right field, and was able to race over, make the catch and retire the side.

Leading off the Falcons’ final at-bat in the bottom of the 12th, pinch hitter Ryan Smith-Stewart slapped a grounder into the hole. Catlike, Solle skittered to his left to cut the ball off and make the play. The sun had been gone for at least 30 minutes by now, so Minty’s main concern at first had changed to handling Solle’s throw in the dark, which he did for out number one.

Genovese followed with a sinking liner up the middle, which Trono dove for and managed to knock down, but couldn’t make a play on. Perhaps a bit rattled, and now facing the top of the order, Veley walked Lefferts on four pitches, putting runners on first and second with one out, and the dangerous Scola (already with two hits and two walks on the day) coming to bat.

At this point, needing a stop, Head Coach Mike Firenzi brought in Solle to replace Veley. Even though Firenzi had slated Solle to start the following day, the current situation allowed a maximum of three more batters. And coming off of a dominating 15-strikeout performance, Solle seemed a perfect fit for the occasion, dealing heat in the dark to strike out Scola looking on four pitches.

Alas, with only one out needed to shut the door on a long day, the momentum turned against Redwood. Solle couldn’t find the plate, walking Evans on five pitches to load the bases, then Black on four pitches to end the game. The Falcons mobbed Black at first, right in front of the Redwood dugout, as the Giants trudged off in the dark, smarting at their first MCAL loss of the year.

With the loss, the Giants move to 10-2 on the season (6-1 MCAL). The teams are set to square off again tomorrow at Redwood, where Solle will get another chance to see the Falcons’ lineup, this time in broad daylight.


3/24/23:  The Redwood Varsity Baseball Giants wrapped up a two-day sweep of the San Rafael Bulldogs, writing a new page in Marin County sports history as they helped Mike Firenzi to his 500th win as a baseball head coach. A pioneer to that milestone, Firenzi had set the Marin County record the previous year with his 473rd win, surpassing former Redwood Head Coach Al Endriss, who at age 95 was on-hand for both occasions. The final tally of the baseball game was 7-0.

Junior Rex Solle was blistering on the mound for the Giants, racking up 15 strikeouts against a single walk, and consistently blowing fastballs past Bulldog hitters up and down the lineup. As opposed to his previous two outings, where he needed an inning or two to settle down, Solle took early command of the strike zone, striking out the side in order in the bottom of the 1st .

In a scheduling oddity, despite the game being played at Redwood’s Moody Field, the Giants were deemed to be the “visiting” team. The venue had moved due to the impact of extensive recent rain on San Rafael’s home turf (aka ‘Muddy Field’).

While the Bulldogs only managed two hits and four baserunners against Solle, and never threatened, the Giants were on the board before making a single out. Second baseman Theo Trono kicked things off in the top of the 1st with a single up the middle off of Bulldog starter Lazlo Clements. Solle then helped himself with a rocket to left-center for a stand-up double, scoring Trono.

It was Trono again in the top of the 3rd, singling to right field and stealing second, then advancing to third on Solle’s fly out when Bulldog right fielder Dexter Jackson’s throw skipped past third baseman Quinn Madden. With Giants first baseman Rory Minty at the plate, Firenzi sent Trono in on the squeeze, and Minty laid down a beauty, making it 2-0.

The Giants added two in the 4th, as shortstop Danil Wells led off with a shot up the middle, racing around to third on center fielder Gavin Soper’s picture-perfect bunt to the left side. After Soper stole second base, third baseman Lucas Ghio followed with a sac fly to right, scoring Wells and sending Soper to third. Soper then scored on a grounder to short by right fielder Jack Moseley, extending the Giants’ lead to 4-0.

With two outs in the 5th, Wells and Soper teamed up again. Wells drilled another ball up the middle, scoring Minty, who had walked, then taken second on a dropped third strike. With Wells running from first, Soper slashed a curving liner into left field, where Bulldog AJ Thorpe gave chase but watched it clank off his glove, turning Soper’s single into a triple, and scoring Wells, making it 6-0. 

The Giants rounded out the scoring in the top of the 6th, when replacement right fielder Sam Gersch singled to left, scoring left fielder Tyler Sofnas, who had been drilled in the back, but bounced up to steal second, and had advanced to third in a rundown.

Wells, usually on the highlight reel at shortstop, had the tables turned on him in the top of the 7th, when he led off with a looping flare into shallow center field. The ball looked to be Wells’s third hit of the day, and fourth time on base. However, Bulldog shortstop Lazlo Clements killed that dream on the dead run, diving backwards into center for the spectacular over-the-shoulder catch. It was a rare bright spot for San Rafael during two dark days on the diamond, with Redwood outscoring the Bulldogs by a combined 17-2.

With the milestone win, the Giants move to 10-1 on the year (6-0 MCAL), and sit at #6 in the NCS rankings on MaxPreps (#41 in California). Solle moves over .400 at the plate to lead the team at .414, followed closely by Wells (.375), Sofnas (.367) and Trono (.364). Just to show what kind of smallball the Giants are playing, their 90 hits on the year to-date are comprised of 82 singles, 6 doubles and 2 triples (and zero home runs).

With his 15 K’s on the day, Solle (38) moves past Minty (36) for the team lead in strikeouts, although, at 2-0, he has a long way to go to catch up to Minty’s 6-0 record.

Next up, the Giants head across to San Anselmo on Tuesday to battle the Archie Williams Peregrine Falcons, before returning the favor on Friday and hosting the Falcons at Moody.


3/23/23:  The Redwood Varsity Baseball Giants struck early and often in a 10-2 thrashing of the current MCAL bottom-dwelling San Rafael Bulldogs, on a chilly March afternoon at Moody Field. The win brings Giants Head Coach Mike Firenzi to 499 wins over his illustrious career.

Senior southpaw Rory Minty tossed the first four innings for the Giants, allowing one run on three hits, striking out five Bulldogs on zero walks, and moving to 6-0 on the year. Jerry Omara, Matthew Knauer and Chas Veley combined to mop up for the Giants, as plenty of fresh faces saw playing time from the fifth inning onwards.

The Giants’ third basemen led the way at the plate, with starter Rex Solle producing two hits, two runs and a walk, while his replacement Lucas Ghio came up with two hits, a run and an RBI of his own.  Catcher Rory Coughlin contributed two hits as well; a total of eight Giants hit safely on the day. Interestingly, none of their eleven total hits went for extra bases.

In the bottom of the first, the Giants went up 4-0 on two walks, three singles and an error, and it felt like the game might turn into a runaway. But while the Giants did score ten runs on the day, they also stranded eleven runners, seeming at times to be caught off-balance by the Bulldogs’ noticeably slower pitching.

Shortstop Danil Wells highlighted the Giants’ day in the field, turning in another defensive gem. With two outs in the top of the 5th, Bulldog right fielder Samuel Perez smacked what looked to be a line drive single up the middle. But with a quick first step to his left, Wells had other ideas. Diving, fully extended towards second base, Wells thrust the web of his glove along the ground and slid it just under the arriving ball, taking it on the fly to retire the side.

By then the score was 8-1, and the outcome never in doubt. The win brings Redwood to 9-1 for the season (5-0 MCAL), and sets the stage for tomorrow’s rematch, also at Moody Field, where the Giants hope to produce Coach Firenzi’s 500th career win at the expense of these same Bulldogs. Next week, MCAL action continues on Tuesday, as the Giants are scheduled to take on the Peregrine Falcons of Archie Williams in San Anselmo.


3/17/23:  A day after outlasting their crosstown rivals in a seesaw, 9-inning fight to the finish, the Redwood Varsity Baseball Giants and starting pitcher Rex Solle delivered the heat on Friday, walking away from the Tam High Red-Tailed Hawks 5-1, and sweeping their season series.

Solle tossed a complete game for his first win of the season, striking out 11 Hawks while allowing just 6 hits and not issuing a single walk. Solle got stronger as the game went on, blowing fastballs through the zone in the bottom of the 7th to strike out the side and end the game.

Things weren’t so clear-cut at the start of Solle’s outing, as Tam loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the 1st. Shortstop Kaldon Dossa led off by raking a single into left field, followed by second baseman Colin Lam’s double into the gap in left center. Solle then proceeded to drill designated hitter Charlie Blau in the back, loading the bases with center fielder Carson Frame striding to the plate.

When Frame launched a ball high and deep into left center, it looked like the Giants were in for a long day. Redwood center fielder Gavin Soper, battling the afternoon sun, scurried back to make an outstanding play just in front of the wall. The ball was plenty deep enough to score Dossa, giving Tam the early lead 1-0, and leaving runners on first and third. 

Then, as if Soper’s effort had flipped a switch in Solle’s brain, the junior right-hander stepped up his game, freezing third baseman Tyler Buxton with a curveball on the outside corner, then caught first baseman Colin Day with a changeup to retire the side. The Hawks never threatened again the entire afternoon.

After bunting successfully in key situations throughout the year, and defeating the Hawks the night before on a celebrated squeeze play, it came as no surprise when the Giants began laying it down again to take the lead in the top of the 3rd.

Second baseman Theo Trono, batting left-handed against Hawks starting pitcher Eli Solem, led off by dragging a bunt down the first base line into no-man’s land. Solem reached the ball, then looked up to flip to Day at first, only to discover that Day had joined him in no-man’s land, and that no one was covering the base! The speedy Trono cruised safely across the bag, avoiding Solem’s lunging tag with a dismissive shake of his hips. 

Next up, Solle watched as Tam botched a pitchout, a maneuver they had attempted unsuccessfully throughout the past two days. Trying to catch Trono off of first, Hawks catcher Tristan Diecks threw wildly past Day, putting Trono on second.

Solle then caught the Hawks off-guard by bunting down the third base line, forcing an unprepared Buxton to rush a sidearmed throw past Day, allowing Trono to race in and tie the score 1-1. First baseman Rory Minty followed with a single up the middle, and when Frame booted the ball out in center field, Solle came around as well, giving Redwood a lead they would never relinquish.

Solem then plunked DH Ben Resnick, bringing shortstop Danil Wells to the plate with no outs and runners on first and second. Wells, the squeeze hero from the night before, squared around boldly for the Giants’ third bunt of the inning, eliciting glee from the Redwood dugout when Solem fielded the ball on the third base side, then threw it high to Day. Wells crossed first while Day was still in the air leaping for the throw, loading the bases with nobody out. 

That was enough for Solem on the day, and the Hawks decided to try their luck with reliever Henry Simpson. Simpson got Giants left fielder Tyler Sofnas to hit a high fly ball to left center, where Frame camped under it for the out, then dropped the ball on the transfer, allowing Minty to score, and making it 3-1.

Simpson seemed to find some kind of rewind button, as he got Soper and catcher Rory Coughlan to fly out to Frame in the exact same spot on successive pitches. Frame didn’t drop the ball again either time, and the runners remained stranded.

Solle continued to pick up steam on the mound, bolstered by a couple of sweet double plays. In the bottom of the 3rd and 5th, Redwood third baseman Lucas Ghio moved to his left to snare Blau’s topspin grounder off the short hop, firing across to Trono to start a 5-4-3 double play and end the inning.  Later, in the bottom of the 5th, Solle helped himself by grabbing Lam’s comebacker and wheeling to second, where Wells turned it to Minty for a 1-6-3 sitdown pair.

Meanwhile, the Giants had loaded the bases with no outs in the top of the 5th, but were retired on one of the most unusual doubles plays in recent memory. Hawks reliever Jack Hanna didn’t last long, walking Resnick before unleashing a pair of wild pitches, walking Wells, and hitting Sofnas to load the bases. The Hawks then yanked Hanna for Jonathan Bayler (a former Giant), who got Soper to ground to Day, who chose to get the force at home for out number one.

With the bases still loaded and Wells on third, Coughlan skied a towering popup halfway up the third base line, initiating mass confusion all around. First, Bayler tried to call off his teammates for the catch, before thinking better of it, and leaving the ball to Diecks, who whiffed on the catch, letting the ball land just inside the line. Thinking that another force situation had been created, Wells started home, where Bayler rushed to take a throw from Diecks, but stretched to handle the ball with his foot off the plate. With chaos erupting all around him, Bayler threw back to third to catch Wells, whereupon half of the Hawks began to leave the field, and the other half yelled at them to stay put, because “There are only two outs!” Finally, the ump told them all to get off of the field.

What had happened? As the umps eventually decided, the Infield Fly Rule applied on the play, which meant that Coughlin had been out from the moment he hit the ball the way he did. And because it was an infield fly, runners advance at their own risk, but because Wells had gone, he was now the third out, and Redwood had left three men stranded.

The Giants did manage to pad their lead in the top of the 7th, as Resnick started things off with a hard-hit ball that handcuffed Dossa. Jack Corvi, running for Resnick, took second on yet another beautiful bunt by Wells, then came in to score on a Sofnas single to center, making it 4-1. Soper followed with a ball that caromed off the mound – and Bayler’s foot – to Lam, who threw it away, leaving runners on first and third with one out.

Noting perhaps that every Giants run on the day had been scored or set up on a bunt, Giants Head Coach Mike Firenzi called the squeeze again, sending Corvi, who easily made it 5-1 on Coughlan’s tap down the third base line. A frustrated Buxton fielded the ball, and realizing no one was backing him up at third, turned and won a footrace with Soper, who had seen the same opening, and was understandably trying to advance.

There was no need for extra-inning heroics to finish the Hawks this time, as Solle saved his best for last, striking out the side in the bottom of the 7th, and ending with some serious smoke past Hawk right fielder Tito Fiersten. After opening with 27 pitches in the first inning, Solle had powered through the rest of the game at a rate of 12.5, all the while allowing zero walks.

The third Giants win in three days brings Redwood to 8-1 on the year (4-0 MCAL), and moves Coach Firenzi to 498 wins in his distinguished head coaching career. The Giants will try to add to those totals starting Tuesday, with an away-and-home series again the San Rafael Bulldogs, who currently sit last in the league with a record of 1-7 (0-6 MCAL).


3/16/23:  The Redwood Varsity Baseball Giants spun an instant classic at home against their crosstown rivals the Tamalpais Red-Tailed Hawks, rallying from behind three times in dramatic fashion, and eventually walking them off 6-5 in the bottom of the 9th.

The Hawks arrived at Moody Field with a not so fond memory from last year , having been knocked out of the MCAL playoffs by Redwood (also by the score of 6-5). They brought their ace to the mound, 2022 All-MCAL pitcher Tyler Buxton, who held the Giants to three hits over his first four innings, including striking out the side in the 4th. Unfortunately for Buxton, however, his mastery would not last much beyond that.

On the hill for the Giants was Jerry Omara – from Kampala – who held Tam to one run and two hits on 3 2/3 innings of work, but was also a bit too effectively wild, issuing five walks.

The Hawks got on the board right away, as leadoff hitter Kalden Dossa (another 2022 All-MCAL selection, at shortstop) walked and stole second, scoring on a single by Hawk center fielder Carson Frame, despite a strong throw by Redwood’s own center fielder Gavin Soper. With runners now on first and second, the Giants escaped further damage when third baseman Rex Solle picked a screamer from Buxton off of his left shoelace, throwing over to a leaping Theo Trono at second base to double off Hawk DH Charlie Blau.

In the bottom of the 2nd, Giants shortstop Danil Wells led off by laying down a perfect bunt single, a foreshadowing of heroics to come. Wells advanced to second on a soft grounder to Dossa, then to third on a balk by Buxton, but was left stranded when Hawk third-baseman Tito Feirsten, playing in, was able to reach DH Quinn Miller’s tapper and throw him out to retire the side.

In the top of the 4th, Omara’s fifth walk ushered in reliever Chas Veley, who caught Dossa looking with a fastball on the outside corner to get the Giants out of the inning. In the top of the 5th, however, two walks and a hit batsman later, Veley gave way to sophomore Matt Knauer with two outs and runners on second and third.

Knauer waleked his first two batters to force in a run, making it 2-0 Tam. With the bases still loaded, Redwood held their collective breath when Feirsten shot a line drive into right center, then exhaled when Soper arrived on the run, making the catch for out number three.

The Redwood got to the highly-touted Buxton in the bottom of the 5th, starting with a Soper single up the middle. But was then caught stealing at second.  Buxton then proceeded to walk pinch-hitter Wyatt Turkington, then allow a single up the middle by Giants right fielder Jack Moseley, before Trono advanced them both with a soaring sacrifice fly down the right field line.

With two outs and Solle at the plate, Buxton uncorked a wild pitch to score Turkington and break the shutout, then hitting Solle to put runners on first and third, bringing first baseman Rory Minty to the plate. Minty, a 2022 second-team All-MCAL pitcher himself, stood in and watched as Buxton released two more wild pitches, scoring Moseley and Solle, and handing Redwood the lead 3-2. 

The Hawks refused to collapse further, though. After a leadoff walk in the top of the 6th led to Solle coming on in relief, Wells shined on defense, making a circus play on Dossa’s smash up the middle. Fully extended three feet off the ground, Wells snow-coned the high hop, somehow bouncing up and wheeling into a beautiful feed to Trono at second, who nearly turned a 6-4-3 double play.

Dossa, having reached safely, stole second before advancing to third on Hawk second baseman Colin Lam’s grounder to Trono for out number two. Blau’s rocket into the gap in left-center scored Dossa to tie the game at 3-3, and would have scored another too, had it not been for Wells’s magic. Putting a bookend on his inning in the field, Wells quashed Blau’s attempted steal of second, taking catcher Ben Resnick’s strong throw on the short hop, and slapping a nifty tag on the sliding Blau to retire the side. 

The game remained knotted into the 7th, with reliever Max Paul standing in for the Giants. Frame raked Paul’s first pitch well into right center, but the ever-alert Soper raced over to make the catch. Buxton, however, laced a ball which even Soper couldn’t reach, bouncing a double off the wall near the ‘350’ sign. 

In a replay of the previous day against San Marin, Wells picked lead runner Buxton, taking Hawk first baseman Colin Day’s grounder and throwing ahead to Solle (now back at third base) for out number two. Day – now representing the go-ahead run – then stole second, moving to third on a passed ball. With the infield in, Fiersten then sent Hawk fans into a frenzy with a grounder into right field, regaining the lead 4-3. Again, were it not for Wells’s heads-up play, the lead would have been greater. 

Down by a run, in the bottom of the 7th, Redwood’s top of the order came out fighting against Hawk reliever Dossa, whose over-the-top delivery took some getting used to. Trono figured it out quickly, dropping a single into left field, while Solle watched a few  curveballs go by before slapping his own single into the hole.

Minty’s fly ball into left center couldn’t advance the runners, but Resnick worked a walk to load the bases. The free pass was especially delightful to Redwood fans, as Dossa – apparently fearful of the speedy Trono and Solle (representing the tying and winning runs, respectively) – had made a total of ten pickoff attempts on them in the inning, and now had advanced them on his own.

With one out, Wells stood in, lofting the first pitch he saw deep enough into right field to score Trono and tie the game, 4-4, while also advancing Solle to third. Resnick held at first, but quickly stole second, raising the pressure on Dossa with two outs and the winning run 90 feet away.  Unfortunately for rhe Giants, Dossa picked that moment to find his groove, striking out Sofnas to end the 7th, and sending the game into extra innings.

Both teams went quietly in the 8th, as if taking a breather late in a boxing match, receiving treatment in their respective corners before coming out for the final round. And the Hawks came out punching in the top of the 9th. Giants reliever Resnick, making his first appearance of the year, decided to follow Coach Firenzi’s pitching advice: “Throw strikes and let your defense make the plays.”

Tam seemed to approve of this philosophy, as Frame sent Moseley back with a deep fly ball to right, before Buxton continued his redemption bid with a double down the line, well out of Moseley’s reach. Resnick reached back to strike out Day for out number two, but Hawk left fielder Mike Gensler wouldn’t cooperate, slashing a double down the left field line to score Buxton, and propelling Tam into the lead for the third time, 5-4. Wells helped Resnick out of the inning with a fine play on Fiersten’s sinking liner. Sizing up the trajectory, Wells decided not to take the ball on the hop, instead falling forward and stretching towards the infield grass to make the catch on the fly.

The bottom of the 9th arrived with Dossa still on the hill, and daylight fading fast. Down to their last at bat once again, the Giants knew that it was now or never. Solle set the tone with a single up the middle, promptly stealing second, and ratcheting up the pressure yet again on Dossa, who  grazed Minty’s jersey, sending Minty to first.

With two men on and no outs, power hitter Resnick surprised the crowd with a sacrifice bunt, putting both the tying and winning runs into scoring position, and bringing Wells to the plate. With the infield in, tension high, and Solle dancing and feinting off of third base on every pitch, Wells worked the count full. It was then that Firenzi picked his moment to strike.

As Dossa delivered the payoff pitch, Solle came crashing down the line on a classic squeeze play. Wells squared to bunt, dropping the ball eight feet in front of the plate, where only Dossa could make the play.

Racing in, Dossa leaned down with his glove hand and shoveled the ball towards Hawk catcher Tristan Diecks, who was steeling himself for the imminent arrival of Solle, the tying run. Runner, ball and catcher all converged at the plate in a blur, and before anyone could tell exactly what had happened, the ball was seen dribbling off to the third base side, all the way to the backstop. The score was definitely tied.

All eyes turned to Minty, who had been following Solle the whole time on the squeeze, and who now saw the unexpected chance to continue home and score the winning run, which he did uncontested. Dossa, standing at the plate in hopes of a last-second play which never materialized, put his head down, turned and walked away, while the Redwood bench emptied onto the field, their whoops and hollers piercing the dusk. The final score stood 6-5.

With the win, Redwood improves to 7-1 (3-0 MCAL), approximately one-third of the way through the 2023 regular season. Next up: the Giants and Hawks go at it again tomorrow in Mill Valley. Could it be another epic clash? Then, next Tuesday, the Giants hop over the hill to visit the Bulldogs of San Rafael.


3/07/23:  The Redwood Varsity Baseball Giants brought their A-game to Mark Whitburn Field in Novato on Tuesday, kicking off 2023 MCAL play and pinning a decisive win on the San Marin Mustangs by the score of 5-1. The Giants grabbed a 2-0 lead before a single out had been registered, then never looked back, riding the left arm of senior ace Rory Minty through all seven innings.  Minty scattered ten hits, but issued only one walk, and the Giant defense stood strong behind him, making play after play all day long.


Freshman second baseman Theo Trono greeted starting Mustang pitcher Sean McGrath with a bang, blasting a standup triple nearly to the wall in right center. Mustang outfielders Riley Desilva and Jake Whitlock converged near the ball, with right fielder Whitlock tumbling over a diving Desilva in spectacular fashion – such that it took several minutes to determine that both were unhurt.


Unimpressed with the delay, Redwood third baseman Rex Solle hammered a standup double into the other gap to score Trono, then scored himself on Minty’s twisting flare, which dropped just inside the left-field line and spun away from the field to the side wall. Down 2-0 with no outs, McGrath managed to compose himself and suppress the rally, inducing successive comebackers from first baseman Ben Resnick and shortstop Danil Wells.


Minty made short work of the Mustangs in the bottom of the inning, fanning shortstop Anthony Scheppler for the first of three times on the day (all swinging). The only fly in the ointment was Mustang first baseman Josh Martin, who hit Minty well all day. Martin laced a double into right field, just under the glove of a diving Jack Moseley, but was left stranded on Scheppler’s whiff.


San Marin managed their only run in the bottom of the 2nd, when McGrath ripped a grounder over the bag at third, just out of the reach of a diving Solle, then advanced to third on a single by left fielder Jake Simpson. The Giants looked to be out of the inning when second baseman Joey Cipollini grounded straight to Wells with two outs, but Wells’s brief bobble allowed McGrath to score, and marked Redwood’s only error of the game.


Redwood responded in the top of the 3rd, kicked off again by Trono, who singled to left, then stole both second and third. With the left-handed Minty stepping into the batter’s box, Redwood Head Coach Mike Firenzi decided to keep the party going, sending Trono racing home with the pitch on a good old-fashioned squeeze play. Minty executed his part perfectly, dropping a bunt just far enough towards first to clear the way for Trono, making it 3-1.


San Marin’s pesky Martin reached base again in the bottom of the inning on a blown call. On a routine grounder to first, Minty raced over to handle Resnick’s throw, beating Martin to the bag by a step. Unfortunately, the infield ump saw something else entirely, ruling that Minty’s foot had been off the base; a conference with his home plate counterpart revealed no further insight, so Martin had to be credited with a hit. Minty took out his discontent on Scheppler, fanning him again on 4 pitches, before handing the spotlight to Solle, who shut the Mustangs down by turning catcher Jon Holtz’s sharp grounder into a sweet 5-4-3 double play.


The Giants continued to demonstrate their bunting prowess in the 4th, adding a run on center fielder Gavin Soper’s expert example. Soper’s precision tap started down the first base line like a confused tourist staring at a map, unsure whether to turn fair, foul, or to die right there on the line. The uncertainty flummoxed Holtz into firing the ball well into right field, scoring Wells, and extending Redwood’s lead, 4-1. Not surprisingly, Wells had reached second on a perfect sacrifice bunt by Giants catcher Rory Coughlan.


The Mustangs tested Minty in the bottom of the 5th. In another close play at first, Minty leaped to snag Resnick’s high toss, then came down on the bag just ahead of Cipollini, his momentum sending both players tumbling to the ground. A bit shaken up, Minty issued his only walk of the game to Desilva, but Couglan quickly fixed the issue with a snap throw down to first. Resnick handled the rocket in front of the base in foul ground, sweeping a tag 180 degrees behind his back to complete the stylish pickoff.


Ever a threat, Martin followed by ripping a liner through the gap in left center for a double which would have certainly scored Desilva, who now sat on the bench thanks to Coughlan and Resnick. Martin’s shot was visibly rising as it passed just over the glove of a leaping Wells on the edge of the outfield grass. Fortunately, Minty’s favorite hitter Scheppler stood in next, and Minty struck him out again, swinging, to retire the side.


Minty helped pad his own lead in the bottom of the 7th, pushing a ground ball past McGrath (now at second base), to plate Trono, and rounding out the scoring at 5-1. The speedy Trono had been drilled by Mustang reliever Erik Bach, then stolen second and reached third on a wild pitch. He finished with three runs and two hits on the day.


San Marin seemed done for in the bottom of the 7th, when Minty finally retired Martin on a routine ground ball to Trono, forcing the Mustangs down their last out, with the hapless Scheppler coming up. Perhaps feeling generous, or overeager to close things out, Minty pegged Scheppler, then watched Holtz smash a double to the wall in right center.  


Soper and new right fielder Sam Gersch converged on the ball as Scheppler was rounding third with the green light from his coach. It was Gersch who got to the ball first, firing a strong throw in to Wells, who came over from short to collect the relay on the right-field grass, then wheeled around for what surely would be a close play at the plate.


Wells’s throw to Coughlan came in on one hop, slightly up the third base line, just as Scheppler arrived, sliding to his right and reaching out towards home plate with his left arm. Coughlan, smartly positioned just in front of the plate, slapped the tag on Scheppler’s arm with inches to spare, ending the game then and there. Wells, Minty, and Coughlan exulted as their teammates raced onto the field, while a dejected Sheppler trudged off into the sunset.


With the Giants now 5-1 on the year (1-0 MCAL), Coughlan leads all Giants hitters with a .438 average, ahead of Sofnas and Trono, who both stand at .353. Minty moves to 4-0, boasting 27 strikeouts against only 3 walks.


The Giants are scheduled to host the Mustangs Thursday afternoon in their rubber match, before battling Tam High next week home and away. However, following a record rainfall season, and with another “atmospheric river” fast approaching, it’s anybody’s guess how the upcoming schedule will actually shake out.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Casa Grande Topples Redwood Varsity 6-4

3/03/23:  One crooked inning was all it took for the Gauchos of Casa Grande High School to hand the Redwood Varsity Baseball Giants their first loss of the young 2023 season. With Redwood up by 2-1 through five innings, the Gauchos scored five runs in the top of the 6th, then held on to win by a score of 6-4. 

One day after shining on the road against the Petaluma Trojans, the Giants’ pitching couldn’t find the same mound magic at home. A quartet of Redwood hurlers issued 9 walks, hit 4 batters, and generally struggled to find the strike zone. 

Redwood starting pitcher Rex Solle ran hot and cold through four innings, walking the bases full in the top of the 1st, but settling in by the 3rd inning to strike out the side 1-2-3. Dishing a whopping 40 pitches in that first frame, Solle managed somehow to hold the Gauchos to just one run, blemished only by right fielder Zach Baird, who singled to right with the bases loaded.

Jack Moseley, the Giants’ freshman right fielder, helped limit the damage in the first as he ranged back on a long fly ball to right-center by stout Gaucho first baseman Alex Cruz. At the last minute, and with the wall fast approaching, Moseley raised his long left arm on the backhand to corral the blast.

Redwood hitters were busy at the plate all day, putting runners into scoring position in every inning but one. In the bottom of the 2nd, catcher Rory Coughlin belted a triple into the gap in left-center off Gaucho starting pitcher Austin Steeves, but was thrown out at the plate on the very next play, trying to score on Giants center fielder Gavin Soper’s sharp grounder to third. 

In the 3rd, Giants second baseman Theo Trono legged out a grounder to short, then moved to second on a perfect sacrifice bunt by shortstop Danil Wells (his first of two on the day). When first baseman Rory Minty dropped a single into center field, Trono came racing around to score, tying up the game 1-1 with a head-first slide.

Solle made things interesting again in the top of the 4th, fanning Baird on a sweeping curveball before walking two batters, hitting one, and uncorking a pair of wild pitches to load the bases with two outs. The junior right-hander emerged unscathed, however, getting Gaucho catcher JT Summers to ground sharply to third, where Redwood’s Lucas Ghio fired across to Minty at first to retire the side. 

The Gauchos also threatened in the top of the 5th against Giants reliever Matthew Knauer, but were denied by Moseley, who snagged a curving fly ball down the right field line for the second out, then reached down below his knees to pluck a sinking line drive from the air for out number three.

Sparkplug Trono got things going again in the bottom of the 5th for Redwood against Gaucho reliever Wyatt Abramson, leading off with a double into the left-center field gap, then taking third on another perfect sacrifice bunt by Wells. Trono nearly scored when Abramson pitched wildly behind Minty’s back, and was forced to retreat only when the ball caromed directly off the backstop and back to Summers.

With one out, and runners on first and third, Resnick sent a grounder into the hole, where Gaucho shortstop Jordan Giacomini gloved it and wheeled to second in hopes of starting an inning-ending double play. But that was not to be, as Resnick narrowly beat out the throw at first, scoring Trono and eliciting a howl of protest from Casa Grande’s head coach. His arguments notwithstanding, the 5th inning ended with the Giants up 2-1.

 That lead was short-lived, however, as Knauer started the 6th inning by drilling one batter, then walking another, before giving way to reliever Max Paul with one out. Paul started no better, walking Steeves (now in center field; Steeves walked four times on the day, and finished 1-for-1 in 5 appearances) to load the bases. Summers then lifted a ball to Soper in center field, deep enough to score the runner from third, tying the score 2-2 with two outs, and bringing the hefty Cruz to the plate with runners on first and second.

When Cruz powered yet another ball out in the direction of Moseley, who had robbed him at the wall at the start of the game, it appeared that history might repeat itself, and that the Giants might escape the inning. This time, however, turned out differently. Moseley started in, then realized that backspin on the ball might carry it over his head. Shooting his glove up at the last minute, Moseley couldn’t contain the ball, and watched it squirt out of his grasp and roll behind him.

The runners, moving on contact with two outs, both scored easily, unlocking the score at 4-2. When Abramson followed with a line drive single to left making it 5-2, the wind seemed to have been sucked out of Redwood’s sails.

Paul gave way on the mound to Chas Veley, who promptly picked Abramson off at first (appearing to end the inning), but  was called for a balk . The breaks were all going the Gauchos’ way. Right fielder Kalen Clemmens then proceeded to take advantage of his free at-bat by dropping a flare just over third base and inside the left field line to pad the Gaucho lead at 6-2.

Redwood continued to battle, though, loading the bases in the bottom of the 6th with one out.  Wells scored Solle on a grounder to third, drawing the Giants within 6-3, before Minty was called out looking . Satisfied with the call, and with his lead, the Casa Grande coach began to argue again – this time to call the game for darkness, while the clock continued to tick, and the temperature dipped into the 40’s. As before, his arguments went unheeded.

The Gauchos loaded the bases on Veley in the top of the 7th, but Abramson’s fly ball to Soper finally ended their afternoon at the plate.

In the bottom of the 7th, with two outs, in an eerie near-darkness, Soper singled up the middle to drive in Resnick and bring the Giants within two. And when Soper advanced to second on a passed ball, it seemed that maybe, just maybe, they had a chance to tie it up. But once Solle swung and missed at a last Abramson curveball, the dim red lights on the scoreboard reading 6-4 were all that was left to see.

The loss brings the Giants to 4-1 on the season (0-0 MCAL). They kick off league play next Tuesday in Novato at San Marin, before returning home to host the Mustangs on Thursday. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


3/02/23:  Riding the 1-hit pitching of Senior southpaw Rory Minty, the Redwood Varsity Baseball Giants dispatched their perennial non-league nemesis the Petaluma Trojans Thursday with surprising ease, 6-0. Minty carried a no-hitter into the 6th inning, finishing the complete game with eight strikeouts against a single walk.

Having fallen twice the prior year to the Trojans, including a season-ending loss in the NCS D-II Semifinals, the Giants’ early-season victory on Petaluma’s home field was all the sweeter. Redwood racked up 11 hits and committed just one error on the day, steadily pulling away from the Trojans throughout a chilly March afternoon.

The Giants got on the board right away in the top of the 1st, when first baseman Ben Resnick’s long fly ball to right field was misplayed by Trojan Jasper Jennings, scoring Minty, who had reached base on a walk.

Minty’s stellar outing on the mound started inauspiciously with a 4-pitch walk and wild pitch, immediately placing Trojan DH Raime Dayton into scoring position, but a soft fly ball to left fielder Sam Gersch and two quick strikeouts shut down the Trojans for the inning. Minty would allow no further walks, and only two more baserunners over the entire game.

In the top of the 3rd, Giant third baseman Rex Solle led things off with a single to left, stealing 2nd despite being picked off, and advancing to 3rd on Minty’s slow roller to second baseman Flynn Shoop. Shoop’s desperate throw caused Trojan behemoth first baseman Aaron Davainis to prostrate his entire 6’5”, 275lb frame towards right field, and seemingly to remove his foot from the base, but the ump saw fit to call Minty out nonetheless.

Resnick responded on the next pitch with a single to score Solle, scoring himself following two more sharp hits by right fielder Tyler Sofnas and shortstop Danil Wells. 

 The Giants tacked on more runs in the 5th and 6th, highlighted by Sofnas’ double into the gap in left-center, and RBI singles from Solle and catcher Rory Coughlin. Center fielder Gavin Soper made it around as well, leading off the 6th with a seeing-eye grounder up the middle, stealing second, taking third on a wild pitch, then scoring on a wild pickoff attempt at first base.

Soper bedeviled the Trojans in the field as well, racing to his right in the bottom of the 3rd to sprawl out and rob shortstop Colton Delina of extra bases with a spectacular backhanded catch. And with two outs in the bottom of the 7th, and the daylight fading fast behind the Petaluma hills, it was Soper again charging in and diving to deny the burly Davainis of a hit, and sending the Trojans home for the day.

 Considering that – nine months earlier – it had been Devainis on the mound who had pitched a complete game and ended Redwood’s 2022 season by striking out the side, it felt to Giants fans at that moment as if some justice had been done. 

 With the win, Redwood moves to 4-0 on the year (0-0 MCAL), and will host the Casa Grande Gauchos (also from Petaluma) on Friday, before kicking off MCAL play next week at San Marin.

JV Pushes Past Petaluma

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

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

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

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

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

Redwood JV edges out Sacred Heart 1 – 0

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

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

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

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

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


Redwood JV Defeats Rancho Cotate 3-1 

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Giants win another close one at home


Redwood Giants Varsity stole the lead late and defeated Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory Varsity Fighting Irish 2-1 on Saturday.  The game was tied at one with Redwood Giants Varsity batting in the bottom of the sixth when Rory Coughlan singled on the first pitch of the at bat, scoring the game winning run.

The pitching was strong on both sides. Redwood Giants Varsity pitchers struck out eight giving up just one run, while Sacred Heart gave up just 2 runs.

Sacred Heart got things moving in the first inning.  Aaron Louis’s sac fly scored one run for the Fighting Irish.

In the bottom of the second inning, the Giants tied things up at one when Gavin Soper singled on the first pitch of the at bat, scoring one.   

Rory Minty was the winning pitcher for Redwood. The bulldog allowed zero hits and zero runs over two innings, striking out three and walking zero.

Chas Veley started the game for Redwood Giants Varsity. Veley surrendered one run on one hit over five innings, striking out five and walking zero.

Redwood Giants Varsity saw the ball well today, racking up six hits in the game.  Soper and Coughlan each tallied multiple hits for the Giants.  Coughlan and Soper each managed two hits to lead the team.  Redwood was sure-handed and didn’t commit a single error. 

Quinn Middleton went 1-for-2 at the plate to lead Sacred Heart Cathedral in hits.