3/18: After what the IJ coined as a ‘Sloppy’ win on the road on Tuesday, Firenzi and his coaching crew went to work on Wednesday and Thursday to smooth out some of the rough edges. Particularly, good throws on defense, executing hit and runs, base running, situational hitting, and getting bunts down, which made for two days of full practice plans to get ready for their home opener against San Rafael.
Unfortunately, it looked like the Giants were going to start right where they left off when they committed an error after recording only one out in the top of the first. The error was followed by a single to right and the Bulldogs threatened early, with one out and runners on first and second. Starting pitcher Zack Kopstein was able to induce a line out from San Rafael’s clean-up hitter and closed out the threat with a strike out to end the inning.
The Bulldogs came in to the game with an undefeated record (4-0) which has had many people scratching their heads as they have already won more games this year than they did the entire 2015 season (they had a 3-21 overall record and were 1-17 in the MCAL in 2015). It looked like they would draw first blood in the top of the third when Kopstein beaned the lead-off hitter which was followed by a single to left, putting runners on first and second and no outs. San Rafael dropped a sacrifice bunt, putting runners on second and third with one out. Henry Zeisler fielded a hard ground ball and fired to home. Parker Laret made a perfect tag on a close play at the plate cutting down the run. Kopstien ended the inning with a grounder to Eric Doctor, ending the inning.
The ‘head scratching’ turned to ‘chin scratching’ as the Giants went into the bottom of the fourth without a hit. But Eric Doctor roped a double over the center fielders head and Henry Zeilser followed with a single up the middle, scoring Doctor and putting the Giants up 1-0. Designated hitter Zach Cohen dropped a perfect bunt for a single, but the Giants would leave runners on first and third after a strike out and a hard line drive by Nic Gillies.
Josh Cohen led off the bottom of the fifth with a single to right but was erased on an attempted steal of second. Nicolas Belgum then singled to center and scored on a well executed hit and run by Parker Laret, after the left field miss-played the ball.
Aubrey Sine kept the line moving with a single to left, advancing Laret to third and Eric Doctor dropped a bunt single, scoring Laret. Henry Zeilser then singled to right, scoring Sine. Zach Cohen laced a hard grounder to the second baseman that was too hot to handle, scoring two more runs, putting the Giants up 6-0. “We were able to execute on all the things we worked on during practice”, Firenzi said after the game. “We still have a lot of work to do, but I am pleased with the progress we are making.”
The Bulldogs scored two runs in the bottom of the sixth, but Zack Kopstien finished the game strong with a 1-2-3 inning in the top of the 7th. Kopstein earned his third win of the season, giving up two runs on six hits while striking out six. The brothers’ Cohen (Zach and Josh) each had a hit with Belgum, Laret and Sine also adding to the hit total. Zeisler and Doctor added two hits each, and they combined for three RBI’s. Zach Cohen also had two RBI’s.
The Giants host the Novato Hornets on Tuesday at 4:30 at Moody Field. The Hornets are 3-3 overall and have a 1-1 MCAL record coming off a 9-1 blow-out loss to Branson on Friday. They will likely face Senior left-hander Andy Cochran who earned the win in their home opener against Justin-Siena.