3/28: Legend has it that in May 2016, Tamalpais’ Sophomore pitcher Jackson Loder told his coach he wanted the ball against Redwood, telling his coach he would get him the win. Loder backed up his words when he held the Giants potent line-up to two runs on six hits and Tamalpais defeated the Giants 5-2 at Moody Field.
Barely less than a year later, Loder would get the start today at Moody Field to defend his undefeated record against the Varsity Giants. Junior right-hander Oliver Pearson took the mound for Redwood. “He (Loder) pitched a great game against us last year, but Ollie pitched a gem for us today”, Redwood Head Coach Mike Firenzi said after the game. The ‘Battle of the Southern Marin Top-Flight Juniors’ would be settled with a 3-2 victory for the Giants for Pearson’s third win of the season.
Dane Goodman lead off the bottom of the first with a single up the middle, stole second and advanced to third on a passed ball. Genki LeClair singled to right knocking in Goodman . Michael Connors roped a single down the right-field line and LeClair scored when the ball was miss-played by the right fielder, scoring LeClair, notching an RBI for Connors as he slid safely into third. Before all of the Giants home faithful had taken their seats, they were already up 2-0.
Pearson sent the Red-Tailed-Hawks down in order in the top of the second and a Mackie Skall single would be the only threat in the bottom of the frame. Pearson answered again holding the Hawks scoreless through three innings. The Giants would go up 3-0 after Dane Goodman blasted a 0-2 triple to left. LeClair would follow with a four-pitch walk and Goodman would score on ball four, a wild pitch, sliding away from the tag. Considering today was Goodman’s birthday, he gave his team presents, scoring two of the Giants three runs. Nicolas Belgum followed with a single to second but the inning ended on a double-play.
Pearson again sent the Hawks down in order in the top of the fourth and had a no-hit shut-out with just three innings to play. The no-hit bid was broken up in the top of the fifth on a bloop, off-the-end-of-the-bat, single over Nicolas Belgum’s outstretched glove. After a strike-out to the next batter, catcher Mackie Skall would erase the runner on on attempted steal. The inning ended on a pop-fly to Belgum. Loder sent the Giants down in order in the bottom of the fifth, and Pearson answered, sending the Hawks down in order in the top of the sixth. Loder again sent the Giants down in order in the bottom of the frame, sending the Giants defense and Pearson out to the field needing just three outs to seal the victory.
After getting a quick out, Pearson would give up his just his second hit of the game, which was promptly followed by a double, putting two runners in scoring position and sending the tying run to the plate. Firenzi went to the bullpen and called on Michael Benz to close out the game. Benz struck out the first batter he faced. With two-outs and the game on the line, a hard grounder went through the wickets (between the legs) of a Giants infielder, sending in two unearned runs for Tam. With the score 3-2 in favor of the Giants, Benz notched the save, inducing a pop-out to Nicolas Belgum, sealing the Giants victory.
The Giants pitching staff has now gone three consecutive games without giving up an earned run. Genki LeClair, Nicolas Belgum, Michael Connors, Josh Cohen and Mackie Skall all had hit for the Giants with ‘Birthday Boy’ Dane Goodman blasting two hits while scoring two runs. LeClair scored the other Giants run. Pearson struck out five, giving up just three hits in his winning effort.
The Giants face Terra Linda on the road on Wednesday at 4:30 in a game that was rescheduled due to a rain-out last week. Terra Linda is coming off of a victory, beating San Marin 5-2 today.
The Giants remain in second place in the MCAL with a 3-1 record, chasing Drake who remain undefeated in the MCAL (5-0) and on the year (10-0).