4/06/23: Playing their best baseball of the year, the Redwood Varsity Baseball Giants got their 3-day East Bay tournament off to a strong start, throttling the host Foothill Falcons on Day 1. Giants third baseman Rex Solle led the way at the plate for the Giants with two hits and three RBIs, including the Giants’ first home run of the season.
Starting pitcher Rory Minty continued his undefeated run for the year, moving his record to 7-0, scattering five hits and striking out five Falcons against zero walks.
The Giants were on the board before a single out had been recorded. Second baseman Theo Trono greeted Falcon starting pitcher Tyler Gebb with a single under the glove of first baseman Jackson Flora. Solle followed with a soaring fly ball over the left field wall out beyond the ‘325’ sign. Falcon left fielder Brady Conolly could only turn and watch as the ball cleared a well-worn baseball-shaped sign commemorating a Falcon championship from 1988. Here, in 2023, the score was 2-0 Redwood.
The Giants added two more in the top of the 3rd on some jaw-dropping baserunning. Trono once again singled to lead off the inning, moving to second on Solle’s shot past Falcon third baseman Elijah Lammle. Giants shortstop Danil Wells then followed with a single into center which sent Trono steaming towards the plate.
Falcon center fielder Austin Harris delivered a strike, and it looked like catcher Trevor Harmon might have Trono dead to rights. But as Trono, Harmon, and Harris’s throw converged at the plate, there was the ball, dribbling away on the ground. Trono was safe!
Wells alertly headed for second once Harris’s throw had cleared the cutoff man. Back at the plate, Harmon pounced on the loose ball and fired a perfect throw down to second. Again, it looked like Harmon might have his man. But no, Wells was safe by a hair. And now it was Solle, lurking at third behind Trono, who made his move towards the plate. Second baseman Mason Walsh, fresh off of the tag on Wells, turned and fired back to the plate. Again, it was going to be a bang-bang play. Harmon looked as if he had the tag in place, but somehow, headfirst, Solle was able to snake his right hand around the tag to touch the plate and score.
The game stood 4-0, and poor Harmon had come out on the losing end of three crucial plays in a span of less than 5 seconds.
The Falcons scored their only run in the bottom of the 4th, leading off with three hits, Including Harmon’s double off the left field wall, no doubt a payback attempt for his poor treatment the inning before. However, Harmon’s luck was short-lived. After reaching third on a Harris single, Harmon raced towards the plate when a Minty pitch in the dirt skipped past Giants catcher Rory Coughlan.
After scrambling for the ball on the first base side of the backstop, Coughlan saw that Minty would not arrive in time, and sprinted ahead to dive over the plate, placing the tag on Harmon for out number one.
The Giants padded their lead in the top of the 5th, as Coughlan led off with a single to right, bringing right fielder Jack Moseley to the plate. Moseley laid down a sacrifice bunt towards third where a charging Lammle made the play at first. Coughlan, running on the play, noticed that no one was covering third, and continued around, beating Lammle to the base, and scoring shortly thereafter on a Solle single, making it 5-1.
Down to their last at-bat in the bottom of the 7th the Falcons ran into some Redwood defensive magic. Following another Austin single, right fielder Josh Luy smashed a ball into the hole. Solle, with two quick steps to his left, took the ball at chest level off the topspin hop, starting a gorgeous 5-4-3 double play, and taking the last breath out of the Falcons.
The win brings Redwood to 13-2 on the year (8-1 MCAL), and launches them into the winners’ bracket of the tournament, where they will potentially play the all-too-familiar Mustangs of San Marin tomorrow on the same Foothill ballfield. On Saturday, the winner of that contest will face the winner of Serra (San Mateo) vs College Park (Pleasant Hill), which will be played tomorrow at Livermore High