Breeze under-16s reach finals again

The under-16 Steel Breeze team continued its impressive play last weekend, taking second place in the Nicole Mattson Memorial A Tournament in Rohnert Park.The Breeze ran its season record to 13-4 after posting four wins and two losses.

Jess Delaney continued to dominate on the mound, throwing her third consecutive shutout of the summer season in the tournament's first game. Delaney scattered four hits, struck out four and never faced more than four batters in any inning in the 3-0 victory over Ukiah. Petaluma did its offensive damage in the fourth inning by plating all three runs with two outs. A Miranda Swanson fielder's choice and consecutive hits from Kayleigh Hart and Cassie Baddeley set the table for a clutch, two-out double from Taylor Kerrigan in the inning. Kerrigan had two hits in the game.

Petaluma took a 5-3 loss to the Marin Blue Angels in its second game. Walks and a couple of errors led to Petaluma's demise.

Things looked promising in the first inning when Petaluma jumped ahead 2-0, but walks and errors gave the Blue Angels a 4-2 lead by the third inning. Hannah Sarlatte came on to pitch, and limited the Blue Angels to a single run the rest of the way, but Petaluma's offense couldn't get anything going despite two hits from Swanson.

The Breeze bounced right back in game three with a 2-0 shutout victory over the Lake County Scrappers. Kayleigh Hart and Sarlatte split the pitching duties, and equally dominated to combine for six strikeouts while only allowing two hits and one walk. Although Petaluma only had three hits, it scored the only runs it needed in the fourth inning thanks to a Hannah Becker single, a walk to Sarah Mills and then another clutch hit from Kerrigan. The victory earned Petaluma the second seed in its pool as it entered the playoff round at 8 a.m. on Sunday morning.

In their first playoff game, Delaney's dominant pitching again led the Breeze to a 7-3 victory over the Rohnert Park Rebels.

Petaluma jumped out to a two-run lead in the first inning, with the hot hitting Mills booming a triple. Taylor Kerrigan followed with a two-run home run that easily cleared the fence at Rancho Cotate High School. Petaluma added three more runs in the second inning thanks to hits from Swanson, Emily Corda and Hart. Petaluma completed its scoring by adding two runs in the third, which included a key single by Ashley Yee.

Petaluma's bats woke up in their semifinal playoff game as it defeated the perennially tough Team Victory of Santa Rosa.

Kayleigh Hart led the way with a smashing four-for-four performance that included a towering solo home run and a two-run double. Baddeley added three hits, including a triple, while Mary Cerf's clutch two-out, two-run run single in the fourth helped seal the victory.

The win set up a rematch with the Marin Blue Angels in the title game.

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