Petaluma National continued to pound the ball in the Majors Division of District 35 Little League Tournament, blasting Rincon Valley of Santa Rosa, 20-4, in the championship game on Saturday morning at sun-baked Carter Field. As a result of their fourth consecutive lopsided win, the Nationals extend their post season play to sectional play which begins on Saturday in Fairfield.
After two quick outs in the top of the first inning, the Nationals exploded for five runs, featuring a couple of well-driven big flies by Ben Diaz and George Marzo.
The home-run parade continued throughout the game with a total of four, including round trippers by catcher Raime Dayton and teammate Carl Schmidt. Dayton, the diminutive catcher for Petaluma, finished with four hits and scored three runs.
Marzo had a solid day at the plate with three hits, good for four RBIs in the assault against five Rincon pitchers. Petaluma finished with 16 hits. Nine runs in the sixth inning left no doubt as to the outcome.
Schmidt ended the game with three extra base hits, including a pair of doubles.
Petaluma averaged more than 14 runs per contest in breezing through four games to claim the championship. The Nationals defeated Rincon, 13-1, in a previous tournament meeting.
The only Rincon pitcher to slow things down a bit was right hander Dessie McClosky, but he used up his allotted pitches mid way through the game, and had to step away from the bump. McClosky did manage to fan six of the free swinging Nationals.
Diaz got the start for Petaluma and pitched well enough for five and a third innings, giving up four runs. He mixed most of his fast balls around the lower part of the zone, and kept the Rincon batters a bit off stride with an occasional breaking pitch. Diaz struck out seven batters.
When Diaz got to the 88-pitch mark, he was replaced by hard-throwing Jacob Haugen who didn’t take his foot off the accelerator, striking out four batters in less than two frames. Most of his pitches were fast balls that zipped past the late-swinging Santa Rosa club.