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.

Comments are closed.