3/5: The Giants got extra-base hits from Matt Birchenough, Ben Cohen and Charlie Ginsburg, but couldn’t quite get over the hump today in Napa, and fell to the strong-swinging Vintage Crushers, 7-4.
Redwood failed to get on the board through the first 3, despite a single from hard-hitting Alex Hagen and a triple from the red-hot Cohen.
Hard-throwing junior lefty Sam Rice got the start for the Giants and surrendered a couple of early runs on a walk, hit batter and timely double. Following a walk in the second, Matt Smalbach came in and got out of the inning with the help of an excellent double-play in which Charlie Welch tagged the runner after fielding a grounder and nipping the runner at first. But the Crushers got to Smalbach for 3 hits in the third inning, and Coach Firenzi called on Cohen to put out the fire with two strikeouts to end the rally. When the smoke cleared, the Crushers led 4-0 after 3.
But the Giants were undaunted and staged a strong comeback in the 4th. After singles from Nick Welch and Hagen and a fielder’s choice from Birchenough, Welch scored on a wild pitch with Birchenough advancing to second. Ginsburg then ripped a double down the left field line to score Birchenough and make it 4-2 going to the bottom of the 4th. But the Crushers responded with a run in their half, making it 5-2 heading to the fifth.
The Giants showed their mettle by bouncing back for runs in the fifth on a Cohen rbi single and in the sixth on a long, line drive homer to right by Birchenough, whose dad, Jim, was quoted as saying: “That’s his first one since Little League!”
Ahead only 5-4, the Crushers showed their own toughness in the sixth, again pushing their lead to three runs on a single, hit batsman, and a timely, 2-out, 2-run single to center. After Reed’s infield single to start the seventh, the Giants went down in order to end the game.
Despite the loss, the Giants had a successful 3-game North Bay road trip and are ready to start the defense of their MCAL crown next Tuesday at Moody Field against Terra Linda. First pitch at 4:30 p.m.