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Petaluma gives away too much in SCL tourney loss

After making up with its bats what it gave away with walks and miscues in a semifinal win over Sonoma Valley the night before, Petaluma’s baseball Trojans gave away too much to overcome in the title game against Sonoma County League champion Analy in the finals of the Sonoma County League Tournament, losing 9-5.

The four-team tournament has no bearing on the SCL standings and little real impact on North Coast Section playoff seedings. The loss was Petaluma’s third in as many games to Analy, the only SCL team to beat the Trojans this season.

Petaluma gave Analy a lot of help in its loss under the lights at Arnold Field in Sonoma, where the SCL Tournament is traditionally played.

Petaluma pitchers walked five Tigers. More disturbingly, the Trojans made a season-high seven errors.

“It was one of those games,” said Petaluma coach Jim Selvitella. “It is not the end of the world. This was not an elimination game. We stil have the NCS ahead.”

The game was pretty much over after the first inning. After the speed of Danny Marzo — infield single, stolen base, balk and sacrifice fly by Porter Slate — had given the Trojans a run in the top of the inning, Analy scored four in the bottom of the frame and never looked back. Three hits, a bloop and the first Petaluma error contributed to the rally.

Analy, aided by Petaluma glove problems, kept tacking on, scoring a run in the third, another in the fourth, two more in the fifth and a final score in the sixth.

In a bright spot for Petaluma, the Trojans, as they have done all season, refused to quit. After being pretty much silenced by tiger ace Jack Norman through the first four innings, Petaluma’s bats began to speak over the final three innings.

Devin Gotschall sliced an RBI double to right and scored on a Tiger error in the fifth. His hit was the first for Petaluma since Marzo’s speed hit in the first inning.

In their final at bat in the seventh, Porter Slate pulled a double to right to score single-based Gotschall and Austin Paretti, who had been hit by a pitch.

The late rallies, while satisfying, did little to change the outcome.

Petaluma had six hits in the game, two by Gotschall.

First-game win

Connor Richardson took control of the situation in relief to save a 6-4 Petaluma win over Sonoma Valley in the semifinals and advance the Trojans to the match against Analy in the finals.

The game was a mixture of outstanding plays, inexplicable miscues, misguided base running, hits and walks.

Starting pitchers Blake Buhrer for the Trojans and Carson Snyder for Sonoma worked in and out of trouble all evening. Petaluma finished with eight hits and received six walks, while Sonoma countered with six hits and six walks.

Richardson proved a game saver for Petaluma. Sonoma had the bases stuffed with Dragons with two outs in the top of the fifth inning and Petaluma clinging to a 5-3 lead when he stepped over from third base to climb onto the pitching mound.

He put out the fire by getting Dragon designated hitter Joe Perez to admire a third strike as it whizzed over the plate unmolested.

Two of Petaluma’s three errors in the game cost Richardson a run in the sixth, but he stranded what, at the time, was a potential tying run, and sat down three of the four batters he faced in the seventh to protect the victory.

Petaluma led from the first inning on, but never really took control of the game, although it looked like it was headed in that direction when it scored three runs in the first inning.

The first two Petaluma batters, Marzo and Slate, snapped sharp singles that produced a run because Marzo out-ran the throw to second after he was picked off first. He was safe as the Dragon second baseman failed to handle a throw from first. He scored from there on Slate’s hit.

After a walk to Logan Douglas, Nick Andrakin delivered two more runs with a single to right. All three of the Petaluma hits in the inning came with two strikes on the batters.

Sonoma Valley spent the rest of the game vainly trying to catch Petaluma as the Trojans countered each Sonoma effort with a rally of their own.

Marzo, a left-hander, shot a double into his opposite field to drive in two runs in the fourth inning. It was his second hit of the game. An insurance run tallied on Slate’s sacrifice fly in the sixth.

Marzo, Andrakin and Slate each drove in two runs.