The Petaluma Leghorns came out swinging early and often to start the annual Chico Father's Day tournament, but two one-run losses would break their stride, and they ended the tournament with a 3-2 record.
Facing the host team Chico Nuts, Petaluma proved that home field is not always an advantage. With the mercy rule in place, the Leghorns won,10-0, in a shortened five-inning game.
Highlighting the win were a pair of back-to-back home runs hit by Casa Grande alums, Anthony Bender and Weston Bryan in the fourth inning. Bender, the Leghorns' three-hole hitter, smashed a two-run blast to knock in Ryan Huag. Up next, Bryan showed why he is the cleanup hitter, hitting a home run of his own.
The Leghorns were full of multi-hit performances.
Bender knocked in four runs and added another hit. Chase Stafford was a spark from the leadoff spot, putting together a three-for-four game and scoring a run. Ryan Walsh was a perfect three-for-three, coming up a home run short of the cycle while knocking in two runs and scoring a run. Dom Deville and Huag each went two-for-three and Deville knocked in a run while Huag scored once.
Brandon Hagerla threw all five innings with pinpoint control.
Petaluma's next opponent was the Spanish Springs Bandits. Once again, the Leghorns bats were ready to go.
The Leghorns defeated the Bandits, 6-2. Bender, Blake Patrick and Stafford each put together two-for-four games with a double each. Bender knocked in two runs, Patrick scored twice and Stafford scored a run.
This time, Walsh was only nearly perfect, going three-for-four with a run scored. Nick Marks pitched the first six innings, with Bender closing the last inning.
After scoring 16 runs in two games, the Leghorns turned to Petaluma High's ace, Scott Hilbert.