The Petaluma Leghorns American Legion baseball team reached the championship game of the California Baseball Championships with a 3-2 victory over Vista Marietta from Southern California. The winner between this evening's Vista Marietta and San Mateo will play Petaluma at 9 a.m. Tuesday, and has to beat the Leghorns twice to win the tournament.
Petaluma played exceptional defense, and received quality pitching and timely hitting to earn the win.
The deciding factor was a two-run bomb off Weston Bryan's bat, clearing the ivy of the right-center field fence in the bottom of the third inning. RJ Busse batted before Bryan and was hit by a pitch.
Scoring two runs in the third inning gave the Leghorns a 3-1 lead, after Vista Marietta tied the game at one run apiece in the top of the inning.
The Leghorns scored their first run in the first inning. Ryan Huag reached on an error by Vista Marietta's third basemen, stole second base and reached third on the catcher's throw. Busse knocked Huag in with a two-out line drive up the middle.
Vista Marietta scored its next run in the fourth inning and had a big chance in the sixth inning. With a runner at third base, Ryan Walsh came sprinting in from right field to make the catch and save Petaluma's lead.
In the eighth inning, Petaluma flashed more leather, with two exceptional plays. First, a Vista Marietta batter smacked a ball down the third base line. Busse dove, got up and threw a strike to Bryan at first base to get the out.
Second basemen Chase Stafford followed Busse's play with an acrobatic play of his own. Stafford ran to his left and dove to keep the ball in the infield, spun on his knees and threw the runner out at first.
Connor Littleton threw the first six innings of the game, with Dom Deville finishing the last three innings on the mound.