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Breeze under-16s reach finals again

Published: Friday, June 28, 2013 at 3:40 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, June 28, 2013 at 3:40 p.m.

The under-16 Steel Breeze team continued its impressive play last weekend, taking second place in the Nicole Mattson Memorial A Tournament in Rohnert Park.The Breeze ran its season record to 13-4 after posting four wins and two losses.

Jess Delaney continued to dominate on the mound, throwing her third consecutive shutout of the summer season in the tournament’s first game. Delaney scattered four hits, struck out four and never faced more than four batters in any inning in the 3-0 victory over Ukiah. Petaluma did its offensive damage in the fourth inning by plating all three runs with two outs. A Miranda Swanson fielder’s choice and consecutive hits from Kayleigh Hart and Cassie Baddeley set the table for a clutch, two-out double from Taylor Kerrigan in the inning. Kerrigan had two hits in the game.

Petaluma took a 5-3 loss to the Marin Blue Angels in its second game. Walks and a couple of errors led to Petaluma’s demise.

Things looked promising in the first inning when Petaluma jumped ahead 2-0, but walks and errors gave the Blue Angels a 4-2 lead by the third inning. Hannah Sarlatte came on to pitch, and limited the Blue Angels to a single run the rest of the way, but Petaluma’s offense couldn’t get anything going despite two hits from Swanson.

The Breeze bounced right back in game three with a 2-0 shutout victory over the Lake County Scrappers. Kayleigh Hart and Sarlatte split the pitching duties, and equally dominated to combine for six strikeouts while only allowing two hits and one walk. Although Petaluma only had three hits, it scored the only runs it needed in the fourth inning thanks to a Hannah Becker single, a walk to Sarah Mills and then another clutch hit from Kerrigan. The victory earned Petaluma the second seed in its pool as it entered the playoff round at 8 a.m. on Sunday morning.

In their first playoff game, Delaney’s dominant pitching again led the Breeze to a 7-3 victory over the Rohnert Park Rebels.

Petaluma jumped out to a two-run lead in the first inning, with the hot hitting Mills booming a triple. Taylor Kerrigan followed with a two-run home run that easily cleared the fence at Rancho Cotate High School. Petaluma added three more runs in the second inning thanks to hits from Swanson, Emily Corda and Hart. Petaluma completed its scoring by adding two runs in the third, which included a key single by Ashley Yee.

Petaluma’s bats woke up in their semifinal playoff game as it defeated the perennially tough Team Victory of Santa Rosa.

Kayleigh Hart led the way with a smashing four-for-four performance that included a towering solo home run and a two-run double. Baddeley added three hits, including a triple, while Mary Cerf’s clutch two-out, two-run run single in the fourth helped seal the victory.

The win set up a rematch with the Marin Blue Angels in the title game.

The championship game proved to be an exciting contest that could have been won by either team, with Marin eventually pulling out a 3-2 victory. Things got off to a strong start for Petaluma when Mills blasted a three-run triple into the fenceless left-center gap to lead off the top of the first inning for Petaluma.

A Swanson double and Hart single started a rally for Petaluma in the fourth inning, with Sarlatte’s clutch, two-out bomb of a triple giving Petaluma a 2-1 lead.

The fifth inning proved to be the undoing for Petaluma when an error allowed Marin to start a rally. With runners at second and third and two outs, it looked like Petaluma might get out of the inning unscathed. However, an almost highlight real catch from sprinting right fielder Yee didn’t happen as the ball popped out of her glove in what would have been a spectacular play. Marin took a 3-2 lead in the inning, and that score would hold up. .

Manager Pete Sikora said, “This team has now played in the championship game in their first three tournaments. We are very proud of this special group of talented young ladies, who only continue to get better.” Petaluma will try to make it four championship games in a row when it plays in Davis this weekend.

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