Petaluma completed a perfect run through a gauntlet of highly rated softball opponents with a 3-1 win over Maria Carillo to capture first place in the Standley Cup Tournament in Hayward on Saturday afternoon. The games were played at the Allen Oliver complex and featured teams from the East Bay including San Leandro, Moreau Catholic and Bishop O'Dowd.
It turned out to be an all Empire final after the T-Girls dispatched feisty Cloverdale, 6-3, while Carillo hammered defending champion Arroyo, 16-2, in semifinal morning games.
Division IV power Cloverdale didn't go easily against Petaluma after falling behind 5-0 going into the fifth inning. The Lady Eagles bunched a collection of slaps, bunts and base hits for a three-run rally against pitcher Dana Thomsen to tighten the game considerably.
The T-Girls bounced back to earn an insurance run on a base hit by Brie Gerhardt and a infield play in which the alert sophomore went all the way to third base FROM where she eventually scored on a fielders choice.
"That was a big play for us," commented Petaluma coach Kurt Jastrow. "we are young, and went to sleep a bit in the middle innings, but Cloverdale woke us up. They have a good club. Nicole Wiecks had to miss today, and that left us with a combination of nine freshmen and sophomores."
Cloverdale fell to 10-2 for the season after IT previously dispatched Division I San Leandro, 5-2, to vault into the semi-finals.
Gerhardt finished with three hits and teammate Katie Bisges chipped in with a ringing RBI triple down the right field line and single for the T-Girls.
Thomsen came back in the championship game to out duel junior Robin Johnson in the win over the Lady Pumas from Santa Rosa. Thomsen gave up only one earned run in the fourth inning, and scattered four hits to earn her second win of the day. The strong-armed Trojan pitcher had SEVEN strikeouts.
Two sparkling defensive plays in left field by Cassie Baddeley and a nice effort on a difficult ground ball at short by Gerhardt helped along the way. Joelle Krist also turned in a back-to-the infield catch to rob Shelby Holzworth in the fourth inning when the Lady Pumas threatened.
The T-Girls scored two runs in the third inning to give Thomsen all the run support she would need. RBI singles by sophomores Bisges and Miranda Swanson got the job done. Overall Gerhardt and Bisges had four hits each in the doubleheader.
Swanson and Bisges had two hits each for the T-Girls, who have run off 10 consecutive wins after a season-opening loss at the hands of Pinole Valley.
Malia Donovan knocked in the only run for the Lady Pumas (6-4) with a single.
Johnson kept Maria Carillo in the game by pitching well under constant pressure in spite of a couple of hits that narrowly eluded Puma infielders.
Thomsen was named the tourney Most Valuable Player and Gerhardt, Swanson, and Bisges made the all-tournament team.