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Petaluma in Rabinovitz championship game


The Petaluma High School baseball team earned a spot in the championship game of Montgomery's Adam Rabinovitz Tournament with a pair of wins Wednesday.

The Trojans defeated Santa Rosa, 11-2, and Montgomery, 8-1, to earn a spot against Analy in the championship game. The Trojans and Tigers will tangle this afternoon at 4 p.m. at Montgomery High School.

Following is reporter George Harie's accounts of Wednesday's games:

Petaluma 11, Santa Rosa 2

Junior right-hander Hunter Williams threw a five-hit complete game win for Petaluma as the Trojans opened tournament play with an 11-2 win over Santa Rosa on Wednesday morning.

Williams was staked to a 2-0 lead in the first inning and he coasted through the Panther lineup with a strong performance in scattering only a few hard-hit balls over seven frames. Most of his success came by use of a moving fastball that he kept in the zone while keeping traffic on the bases to a minimum. Both Panther runs scored on fielder's choice plays made by the Petaluma infield when outs were more important.

The 6-foot, 3-inch hurler struck out six batters and had a couple of base runners only once, but second baseman Clay Gallagher turned in a leaping catch to end that threat in the fifth frame.

The Petaluma defense also turned in a solid cut-off throw to second base to nail base runner Cody Montanez at second after a single to left field.

With four left-handed hitters in the lineup, the Trojans struggled early against portside Santa Rosa pitcher Tyler Kelley, and took only a 2-1 lead going into the top of the fifth. A three-run rally highlighted by RBI singles by Luke Wheless and Austin Gabbert gave Williams a more comfortable cushion.

In the seventh inning, Petaluma broke it open with six runs against three Panther relievers. Wheless, Gabbert, Gallagher, Taylor Richardson and Harrison Royal all had RBI singles in the rally.

Petaluma put pressure on the Panther defense by running the bases very aggressively. The Trojans pilfered five bases, including three by the swift Wheless as a leadoff hitter.

The Trojans pounded out 11 hits to record the win and improve to 5-3 overall. Wheless led the way with three hits, while Gabbert, Gallagher and Tyler Williams had two hits each.

Shamus Lyons doubled to open the game for Santa Rosa, and scored the first run after narrowly beating the throw of catcher Austin Thomason on a steal of third base.

Petaluma 8, Montgomery 1

Petaluma moved into the championship game of the tournament by taking advantage of 11 walks in an 8-1 win over host Montgomery.

The opportunistic Trojans didn't drive a base hit out of the infield until the late going, but they applied a healthy dose of small ball to clearly rattle the Vikings. Coach Paul Cochrun's club bunted seven times in the game, and the tactic paid major dividends.

Trailing, 1-0, going into the top of the third inning, the Trojans used four walks to tie the contest.

In the fourth frame, a walk and two consecutive bunts got a pair of runners into scoring position for designated hitter Taylor Richardson. One of the bunts was placed perfectly down the third base line by Ben Sanderson for the first Petaluma hit of the afternoon.

Richardson then rifled a line drive that skipped in front of the Montgomery left fielder and both runners scored to make the score 3-1. The clutch single opened the gates for the Trojans as they began to loosen up offensively.

Viking pitcher Josh Lenney had a difficult time with his control, but he didn't miss the strike zone by much in any frame. It was a good job by the Petaluma hitters who did not offer at pitches which were off the corners of the plate.

Finally in the fourth inning, the Trojans broke it open on a two-run double by Austin Gabbert hitting out of the No. 3 slot. One of the runners reached when a bunt was misplayed by Lenney. Gabbert had four hits and five RBIs in the Wednesday double header sweep.

Petaluma starting pitcher Dante Del Prete went the distance, scatteringsix hits to pick up the win. He relied on an assortment of off-speed deliveries to keep Montgomery batters off balance with runners aboard. Del Prete also picked off a runner at first in the sixth inning. Montgomery had at least one base runner in every inning except the seventh.

Matt Miller and Peyton Miramontez had two hits each for the Vikings.