Staring into the eyes of elimination, the Petaluma Leghorns kept their summer alive with a 6-3 victory over Branford, C.T., in the American Legion World Series, in Shelby, N.C.
Petaluma plays the loser of Minnesota versus New Jersey tomorrow at 10 a.m. PST.
Chase Stafford started the game off right for the Leghorns, hitting a line shot up the middle on the first pitch in the bottom of the first inning. Ryan Huag followed with a perfect hit-and-run, moving Stafford to third base. The two scored on a Weston Bryan single, the first hit of his 3-for-3 day. Blake Patrick added to the score with a sacrifice fly to knock in Anthony Bender, giving Petaluma a 3-0 lead.
Branford scored its first run ?— an unearned run — in the top of the third inning off Brandon Hagerla. Vinnie Albano saved another run, making a spectacular diving catch in left field with a runner on third base and two outs.
Patrick hit another sacrifice fly in the bottom of the inning, scoring Bryan, who hit a triple down the right field line.
The game became a nailbiter with Branford scoring a run in both the fourth and fifth innings to cut Petaluma's lead to 4-3. The Leghorns responded in the bottom of the fifth, scoring their final two runs.
With two outs, Bryan started the rally with his third hit. Ryan Walsh hit a double to right center field, plating Bryan and Patrick, after Patrick reached on an error.
Brandon Hagerla had a commanding game on the mound for the Leghorns. The righty threw eight innings for the win, giving up only two earned runs. Jimmy Flatt recorded the save, getting three straight outs in the ninth inning.