The Petaluma Leghorns Senior Legion summer baseball season is underway and the Leghorns are looking for another successful summer. Senior Legion baseball is for players 19 years old and younger.
Making up the Leghorns' roster are many of Sonoma County's finest players, including former Casa Grande and Petaluma high school players.
Former Gauchos playing for the Leghorns are infielder/pitcher Anthony Bender, infielder Chase Stafford, outfielder Charlie Parnow, pitcher Nick Marks, infielder RJ Busse and infielder/catcher Weston Bryan. Three former Gauchos were on this year's team that made the North Coast Section championship game and three were on this year's Santa Rosa Junior College team that made the state championships.
Cross-town rivals joining forces will be former Trojan infielder/outfielder Blake Patrick, pitcher Brandon Hagerla, infielder Dom Deville and pitcher Scott Hilbert. Hagerla dominated out of the bullpen this season as a freshman for SRJC.
Also playing for Petaluma are three players from Rancho Cotate and four from Sonoma. Representing Rancho will be pitcher Connor Littleton, catcher Ryan Haug and outfielder Ryan Walsh. Coming from Sonoma will be pitcher Devon Graff, pitcher Jimmy Flatt, outfielder Sam Morgan and outfielder Vinnie Albano.
The Leghorns are fortunate to have the leadership and experience of college players on this summer's team.
Stafford played valuable innings for the Bear Cubs and earned the starting job at second base. He played in 35 games and finished the season hitting .272. Busse had an injury-plagued season, while Bryan redshirted this year, giving him two more years of eligibility at SRJC.
On the hill, Hagerla will give the Leghorns a spark of experience after he enjoyed a very successful freshman year. In 17 games pitched, Hagerla threw 24 innings, going 4-1 with a 1.88 earned run average out of the bullpen.
Joining him on the mound will be another former standout Trojan pitcher, Hilbert. Despite only posting a 5-4 record, Hilbert had a successful senior season for Petaluma High. In 73 innings pitched, he only had a 1.15 ERA and struck out 74 batters.
Many times this summer, the Leghorns could be featuring an all Gauchos infield. Across the diamond, Bryan could play first, Stafford second, Bender shortstop with Busse manning the hot corner at third base. Chemistry certainly should not be an obstacle for the Leghorns' infield.
The Leghorns are led by long-time head coach, Casey Gilroy. Now in his 14th season as head coach, Gilroy is also currently an assistant coach at Sonoma State. Helping Gilroy will be Paul Sequeira, former Casa Grande standout pitcher Spencer Finkbohner, who was an assistant at Petaluma High School this past season, and Robbie White, former St. Vincent player who excelled on the mound and at the plate.
Gilroy acknowledges Ron Morris and Chris Cort as key contributors to the Leghorns' program. Both have been instrumental obtaining donations since the organization is a non-profit.
Morris also helps keep the players hydrated by providing beverages from his company, Morris Distributing.
Each year the Leghorns start the season with a game against the Santa Rosa Rebels. This year the Leghorns defeated the Rebels, 7-0, in a game shortened by a sprinkler interruption.
Big tournaments for the Leghorns are held in Chico, Reno and Fairfield. The annual Father's Day tournament begins June 12 in Chico.