Petaluma High School's T-Girl softball team opened tough and lost tough Thursday evening, yielding to Pinole Valley's highly regarded Lady Spartans, 2-0.
Dana Thomsen, backed by an exceptional defense, kept the Lady Spartans at bay through the first six innings before a final-frame rally earned Pinole Valley the win. The visitors' rally broke up an impressive pitching battle between Thomsen and Sydney Shirley. Thomsen gave up only four hits, with two of those coming in the seventh-inning rally. She walked THREE and struck out three. TWO walks came in a jittery first inning. Shirley was even better, allowing just two hits. She walked one and struck out nine.
Thomsen needed, and received, more help from her teammates. Brie Gerhardt made several clutch plays at shortstop, right fielder Katie Bisges saved a run with a juggling running catch in right field and Giana Moretti grabbed a long drive in left field just before tangling herself in the mesh outfield fence, stealing a sure extra-base hit and potential home run from Pinole Valley's Amoni Lauderdale.
Scoring chances were few for either side.
Pinole Valley's best threat prior to the seventh inning, came in its first at bat. With one out, Thomsen walked Bailey Simmons and Cynthia Duenas followed with a long double to center field. Hustling defensive work by Petaluma's outfielder Nicole Weicks halted Simmons at third and prevented a run. Thomsen whiffed clean-up hitter Shipley, but walked Kalla Garcia to load the bases. With no room for error, the T-Girl senior induced Ceci Salas to line softly to third baseman Meaghan DeCoite.
In the fourth, Shipley led off with a single, and might have score had Bisges not grabbed Salas' fly down the right-field line.
Petaluma, despite getting only two hits in the game, also had its chances.
Miranda Swanson slapped a sharp single to right to lead off the T-Girl second inning, but stayed put as the next three batters went quietly, two on strikeouts.
Twice in the fifth inning, Petaluma put runners at second base. DeCoite led off the inning with an infield single, scurrying to first ahead of the throw on a low roller to shortstop. She then stole second base, but expired on a close play at third trying to advance on a passed ball.
Later in the inning, pinch hitter Cassie Baddeley was safe when Shipley bobbled her comebacker. A passed ball sent Baddeley to second, but she expired there when Thomsen's well-struck fly was snared by Pinole Valley outfielder Salas.
Petaluma's best scoring chance came in the sixth when Gerhardt reached base on an infield error, moved up on a passed ball and was sacrificed to third by Weicks. But the next two T-Girls went down with9out hitting the ball out of the infield, and the teams entered the final inning still scoreless.
With omnibus clouds looming and rain drops splattering, Salas walked one-out into the inning. Amirah Elzofri followed with a shot down the left-field line that chased Salas home with the game's first run. A second quickly followed on Lauderdale's sold single to right. Thomsen pitched out of the inning, but the T-Girl hurt had been done.
Petaluma went quietly in the bottom of the inning with Shipley appropriately ending the game with a strikeout.