Redwood JV bats chilled by hard-hitting Petaluma

On a cold February afternoon at Endriss Field, little went right for the Redwood JV Baseball Giants, as the visiting Petaluma Trojans powered their way to a 14-0 victory over five innings.

With the temperature only 50°F in bright sun at the start of the game, Redwood and their starting pitcher Cole Engstrom went toe-to-toe with Petaluma over the first two innings. In the top of the first, Trojan shortstop Flynn Shoop hammered a double into the left field corner, but was promptly gunned down by Redwood catcher Chas Veley while trying to advance to third base on a passed ball.

Redwood second baseman Max Paul countered with a leadoff single in the bottom of the first, but was stranded when a deep fly ball to center field by Gavin Soper was caught for out number three.

Redwood threatened again in the 2nd inning, as Veley crushed a double over the left fielder’s head, but was caught out stealing himself on a hit and run attempt. The out proved costly, as Harrison Lapic then sprayed a single to right, advancing all the way to third on subsequent wild pitches. Meanwhile, Jordan Kimball walked and stole second.  But again, Trojan starting pitcher Dante Caiati was able to retire the side without a run.

Petaluma’s scoring began in the top of the third, courtesy of a missed call. Trojan catcher S. Sheldon led off the inning, and kicked his own dribbler foul as he started down the first base line. But rather than being called out for interference, Sheldon returned to bat, as both umpires believed the ball had simply spun sharply foul. Sheldon repaid the favor by clobbering a triple over the head of Redwood left-fielder Wyatt Turkington, and was then singled in by center fielder J Jennings. Third baseman London Sundell doubled in two more runs off the center field fence, before Engstrom got out of the inning on a fly ball to center.

Redwood’s frustration on the day was epitomized by Max Paul’s at-bat in the top of the fourth. Paul’s sharp grounder up the middle – a certain hit – caromed off the mound directly into the waiting arms of Trojan shortstop Shoop, who easily gunned him down at first.

From there, the floodgates opened for the emboldened Trojans, who scored three more runs in the fourth inning and eight in the fifth. Left fielder Colin Demers led off the fourth with a towering home run over the center field fence and onto the soccer field, where the Redwood Boys Soccer team was busy winning its NCS D-II semifinal playoff game over Tam HS. Sadly, that Redwood good fortune didn’t cross over to Endriss Field in the bottom of the fourth. Harrison Lapic’s double to deep left center went for naught, as Cole Engstrom advanced to third on the hit, but was doubled off when Trojan third baseman London Sundell nabbed Jordan Kimball’s scorching line drive on the next at-bat, retiring the side.

Ominous black clouds gathered over Larkspur throughout the fifth and final inning, as every Trojan batter seemed to be able to find a gap in Redwood’s defense, bringing their run total to fourteen. Redwood mounted a last chance to score in the bottom of the fifth, loading the bases with two outs, but Veley struck out swinging to end the game, as temperatures had dropped to 47°F, and a rare burst of hail began to fall on Endriss Field.  With Petaluma’s lead of more than ten runs after five innings, the umpires invoked the ‘Mercy Rule’ to officially end the game.

Paul and Lapic led all Redwood hitters with two hits apiece for the majority of the Giants’ six hits on the day, while Engstrom (63) and Paul (43) combined for 106 pitches (68 strikes). The Giants (1-3) will now try to thaw out and regroup for Friday’s 3:30pm home game against Montgomery HS of Santa Rosa.

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