The Redwood Varsity Baseball Giants got their 2023 season off to a rousing start. The Varsity beat Analy by a score of 19-2 , on a bright, chilly February morning in Sebastopol. The Junior Varsity and Freshman teams also brought home victories in their respective games vs. the Tigers.
Varsity Game Summary:
While the Giants needed a few innings to push a run across, they proceeded to post crooked numbers in each of the last four innings, consistently keeping the smallball line moving, with 20 singles, 6 stolen bases and only one extra-base hit on the day. Meanwhile, four Redwood pitchers combined to allow just one Tiger hit over seven innings, missing a no-hitter by a single out.
In the top of the first, talented freshman second baseman Theo Trono started things off for the Giants by lifting Dooley’s second pitch of the year into left field for a single, then immediately stole second. Next up, center fielder Gavin Soper raked a sharp liner up the middle to put runners on first and third with no outs, but was promptly picked off, at first.
Pitcher Rory Minty’s soft fly ball to shallow left couldn’t advance Trono, but it seemed Redwood would draw first blood anyway, when first baseman Ben Resnick powered a ball all the way to the fence down the right field line. Resnick had at least three bases on his mind when the home plate umpire surprisingly called the ball foul. The problem was that, with the morning dew heavy on the uneven outfield grass at this early-season game, Analy hadn’t yet drawn any foul lines beyond the bases, so Resnick’s ball was “down the right field line” in theory only, since there was no right field line. Visibly frustrated, Resnick returned to the plate, only to swing and miss on a slow curve ball, retiring the side.
The remainder of the first three innings passed uneventfully, as returning Redwood southpaw ace Rory Minty held the Tigers hitless, allowing just two baserunners on a walk and a throwing error.
The Giants finally broke through in the top of the fourth, pushing 6 runs across on four singles, two wild pitches and a walk. Left fielder Tyler Sofnas got things going with a single to right, stealing second, then combining on a double-steal with third baseman Lucas Ghio, who had walked. With runners on second and third and no outs, Giant shortstop Danil Wells singled sharply up the middle to score two, opening the floodgates for Redwood.
Catcher Rory Coughlin followed with a perfectly-executed hit and run. With Wells running, the right-handed Coughlin guided the ball straight through the hole vacated by Tiger second baseman Renzo Cantu. And when right fielder Jerry Omara walked to load the bases, it brought up the top of the order in the form of the hot-hitting Trono, who had been robbed in the 3rd on a sinking liner to center field. The ball had been called a catch, but looked to have been trapped.
Trono more than made up for it, however, reaching out and poking Dooley’s latest offering into left field, scoring another two, as Coughlin tore around third on Wells’s heels, just beating the throw. After Omara scored on a wild pitch, Trono came in on what seemed like a routine grounder from Minty to the Tiger first baseman who fielded the ball well off the base, realized that his pitcher was not going to cover in time from the mound. He then turned and flipped to Cantu, who was also racing towards first from his position at second base. Cantu caught the toss somewhere in the general vicinity of first, then embarked on a kind of toe-tapping hunt for the bag, not really coming close to finding it as Minty rushed safely past. Nonetheless, the umpires decided to award the out to Analy, which was yet another tough call, but not heartbreaking, as the score now stood 6-0, and the Tigers were clearly on the ropes.
After Minty polished off his 4-inning tuneup with a 1-2-3 inning, Redwood took to the plate again in the top of the 5th, batting around and pushing across eight more runs. Highlights included two more singles from Wells, Trono’s third hit of the game, and a bases-loaded smash from new left fielder Chas Veley over the right fielder’s head and to the fence, scoring Coughlin to make the score 10-0. The ball turned into the game’s longest single, however, as the coaches held the two runners in front of Veley, who was nearly to second when he realized the base wouldn’t be open, so was picked off easily on his forced backtrack to first. The out hardly squashed the rally, though, as Minty drove the next ball to center, scoring both runners and making the score 12-0. Incoming first baseman Harrison Lapic also contributed, singling and scoring run number 14 for the Giants.
Jerry Omara took the hill for Redwood in the bottom of the 5th. Omara, a recent transfer originally hailing from the east African country of Uganda, came out firing, striking out the side after a leadoff walk, and retiring the Tigers 1-2-3 in the sixth. Omara also helped himself at the plate with a double to left, the Giants’ only extra-base hit of the game, scoring incoming second baseman Quinn Miller and making it 15-0.
Redwood continued to pour it on, adding another run in the 6th, and three in the 7th, for a total of 19 on the day. Wells and Sofnas led the way with four hits each, with Sofnas reaching base six times – the other two the hard way, via fastballs to his left shoulder.
Analy fans broke out in applause in the bottom of the 7th, as the Tigers managed to touch Giant reliever Matt Knauer for two unearned runs, and their only hit of the game, a two-out double by third baseman Ben Menard over Sofner’s head in center field. When Knauer drilled the next batter, the Giants brought Veley to the mound to end things, which he did with a single pitch, getting Cantu to pop up to Wells for the final out of the game.
The Giants (0-0, 0-0 MCAL), will start their early season non-league play on Feb 21, visiting the Montgomery Vikings in Santa Rosa.