Varsity suffers stunning defeat at Novato

4/1: It figured to be a great day of baseball. The Giants traveled to the outer reaches of Marin County suburbia, where it was a beautiful, sunny day with two solid teams facing off. Based on Tuesday’s game, Novato showed that they are a quality team. I figured the Giants would have to play good baseball, particularly since they were facing the best pitcher on Novato’s staff. In a stunning turn of events, the Giants took a 4-0 lead into the bottom of the sixth, but ended up losing 5-4.

The game started with Merritt Brinckerhoff laying down a bunt for a base hit. Then, he was able to come all the way around to score, courtesy of two errors by the Novato shortstop. In the third, Brinckerhoff singled again and he scored when Charlie Welch grounded to third on a fielder’s choice. In the fourth, Matty Jessen crushed a home run to left for the Giants first long ball of the season. The score was 3-0 at this point. In the fourth, Cole McGowan drew a walk, then stole two bases. He later scored on an error by the Novato third baseman. The score was 4-0 after five and a half innings.

Kent Goodman started on the mound for the Giants and he pitched very well. Over four and a third shutout innings, he only gave up 2 hits and 2 walks, while punching out 5. In the fifth, Goodman found a little trouble when he walked the first batter and then gave up a single. Jerry Omara came on in relief and got the final 2 outs of the inning without giving up any runs. In the bottom of the sixth; however, the wheels came flying off the tricycle. Omara walked the first 2 batters and then gave up a bomb to the Novato shortstop, making the score 4-3. Omara walked the next batter, and then Nick Gehrman came on in relief. The first batter he faced laid down a sac bunt to move the runner to second. Gehrman fanned the next batter for the second out. The next batter hit a blooper just out of the reach of the second baseman to drive in the tying run. The next batter popped out to end the inning, but the game was now tied at 4-4.

The Giants went down in order in the top of the seventh. In the bottom half, Gehrman came back in to pitch and retired the first batter on a ground out. Rex Solle then came on in relief. Solle walked the first batter he faced, but then struck out the second batter for the second out. Solle also walked the next batter intentionally to put runners at first and second. The runners moved to second and third on a wild pitch. The final batter hit a slow chopper to third – a tough play that wasn’t made, allowing the runner from third to score and complete the walk-off.

Each team only managed 4 hits, but the biggest difference in the game was that Novato pitchers only issued 2 walks, while Redwood pitchers issued 7. In fact, four of the five runners who scored for Novato got on base as a result of a walk.

This loss will probably sting for awhile and the team will have some time to think about it. The team’s next game is April 7th in Livermore. The Giants now stand at 11-4 overall, 8-2 in MCAL

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