Varsity Edged Out in Tense Pitchers’ Duel at Petaluma

2/26:  On a warm winter afternoon, the Redwood Giants wasted a dominant pitching performance by senior ace Nick Welch in falling 2-1 to the Petaluma Trojans.

Welch struggled a bit with command in the first, but then – aided by good outfield play from Drake Goodman and Lucas Roy – set to work in shutting down a hard-swinging group from Petaluma.  Mixing a live fastball and sharp curve, Welch worked 5 complete, allowing only a single hit and one walk, and no earned runs.  But Welch was matched inning for inning and more by the Petaluma junior hurler, 6’5” Julian Garrahan.  Garrahan was top notch throughout – allowing only 4 hits and issuing no free passes in his 7-inning complete game win.

Through their first 5 turns at the plate, the Giants had only a Charlie Welch single to right to show for their efforts.  Then, with 2 already gone in the 6th, Jackson Reed legged out a hustle-single to the second baseman.  Lucas Roy followed with a line drive single to center.  And Ben Cohen made it pay, scoring Reed on a hard single to right.  The Giants led 1-0 going into the bottom of the sixth.

But the next half inning would prove the Giants’ undoing.  After an error, a stolen base, and another Giants’ miscue, Petaluma had it knotted at 1-1.  Senior lefty Matt Birchenough then took the ball from Welch and struck out the first batter he faced.  But a walk and single would allow Petaluma to squeeze another run home and take a 2-1 lead into the top of the 7th.  Remarkably, for only the 2nd game of the season, the Petaluma starter returned to the hill and set the Giants down 1, 2, 3 to seal the victory for the home team.

Next week should prove exciting and challenging for the Giants as they travel to Casa Grande (3/2), Rancho Cotate (3/3) and Vintage (3/5).

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