Petaluma's gutsy American Junior League All-Star team prolonged the inevitable, but was finally eliminated from the District 35 Tournament Saturday afternoon at Helen Putnam Park in Cotati.
El Molino knocked the Americans out of the tournament with a 17-11 win in a wild slugfest that featured 31 hits, and took more than three hours to complete.
El Molino sent 11 batters to the plate in a six-run second inning that put it ahead to stay, but every time the Forestville team threatened to put the game away, the gritty Americans rallied to stay alive.
It looked like the game might end early when El Molino built a 10-run lead (13-3) in the top of the fifth, but, while the Americans were down, they were not out. A two-run double by Matt Pierson sparked a three-run rally that kept the game going.
El Molino kept hitting and scoring, eventually leading 17-6, going into the last of the seventh inning, but even then the Americans refused to quit easily. Heads high and bats hot, the Americans rallied for five runs to make things nervous for El Molino. Mike Morarity blasted a big two-run double and Nick Eaton and Ben Johnson had RBI hits in the Petaluma Americans' final rally.
Parker Ruoff led a long list of hitters for Petaluma, ripping two hits, walking, scoring two runs and hitting a sacrifice fly.
The Americans enjoyed a long run in the tournament, After losing their opening game to Petaluma Valley, 5-4. The Americans came back to defeat Westside, 6-4; Petaluma Valley in a payback game, 6-2; and Fort Bragg, 16-3, before running into El Molino.