Late offense by the host Petaluma Police earned the Petaluma Valley Little League entry a 7-3 win over the El Molino Giants in the second round of the District 35 Tournament of Champions Majors Division at a wind-swept Murphy Field on Tuesday.
Trailing 3-2 in the top of the fourth inning, the Police suddenly found the offensive punch they needed in the form of leadoff hitter Joe Lampe. After Robert Terry coaxed a one-out walk off Giant pitcher Curtis Lewis, the big blow came two pitches later when the left handed-hitting Lampe rifled an opposite field homer over the left field fence to turn the game around.
Lewis became a victim of the pitch count rule, and his departure only made things easier for the Police, who rallied for three more runs in the fifth frame to pull away for good. Lampe added an exclamation mark to his heroics with a two-run single in the inning.
Pitchers Estaban Bermudez and Garrett Esponda shut down the El Molino team after the visitors picked up six hits in the first three innings. Bermudez struck out seven of the nine outs he recorded to earn the win in breezy Candlestick-like weather,
The left handed Esponda was even tougher on the Giant bats, striking out four more without giving up a hit. Torri Chance mopped up by recording the final out.
The victorious Police advanced to the semifinal round in the single-elimination tournament of championship caliber teams which ends on Thursday.
In the opposite bracket of the TOC, the Petaluma City Champion EMG, representing the Petaluma National League, defeated Henris Roofing from the Petaluma American League, 12-3, in the opening round on Monday. EMG then dropped a 9-7 decision to Santa Rosa American in the second round of the tournament.
IThe Petaluma Police will play Santa Rosa American's league champion tonight at 5:30 p.m. at the home of the Westside Little League in Santa Rosa. In tonight'ss other semifinal game, the champion from Rincon Valley playsy the Fort Bragg Little League champion in Ukiah.
The winnrs will play for the District 35 Tournament of Champions title Friday evening at 5:30 p.m. at the Santa Rosa American Little League diamond.
Twelve Little League cahmpionship teams participate in the tourney.