Petaluma American cobbled together a clutch 3-run rally in the bottom of the eighth inning in walk-off fashion to capture the Little League District 35 Majors Tournament title with a thrilling 7-6 win over Santa Rosa American at Rincon Valley Field on Sunday.
The Americans earned the right to move on to Section 1 play, and will open at the Vacaville Central Field on Sunday after an opening-round bye.
Petaluma trailed 6-4 going into the second extra frame against Rincon Valley but came up with one run on a base hit by Kalen Clemmens. Clemmens’ hit followed solid safeties by J.T. Summers and Wyatt Abramson and set up the game-winning blow that sent American fans into a frenzy.
Tegan Camilleri provided the final thrill of the afternoon when he shot one up the middle that skipped off the second-base bag and plated two runs and the dugout exploded. It was a clean base hit, and the winning run scored without a close play. All his teammates searched wildly for Camilleri following the hit as the celebration began on the field.
Petaluma American had a 4-1 lead going into the final scheduled inning, but starting pitcher Abramson noticeably tired, and Santa Rosa came back gamely to knot the contest at 4-4.
With reliever Jacob Untalan on the mound, Santa Rosa broke through again on a two-run homer to the opposite field two innings later by lanky Nolan Frost. Frost had two earlier strikeouts, but he managed to get good contact, and ball cleared the high right-field fence.
Untalan, who pitched well in an earlier tournament contest against Petaluma Valley, appeared unfazed, and he went on to retire the side. It might have saved things as he was eventually declared the winning pitcher.
“That’s actually what I told him after the game,” noted Petaluma manager Blaine Clemmens. “He kept us in the game.”
Petaluma outhit Santa Rosa, 11-8, with Abramson leading the way with three hits, and Austin Steeves adding two more. Abramson pulled a no-doubt home run far over the left-field fence to open the scoring in the bottom of the fifth inning.
Steeves saved the Americans’ bacon in the top of the fifth inning when he gunned down the potential go-ahead run for Santa Rosa with a perfect throw from right field to catcher Jack Larson.
It was a tough loss for a good Santa Rosa club that was paced with two hits by Sam Lawson.
However, the District 35 championship banner will fly proudly at Lucchesi Park and the Petaluma American season continues.
Clemmens tossed a no-hit set-up to Sunday’s game with a 6-0 Petaluma win over previously unbeaten Santa Rosa American. The result left both teams with one tournament defeat.
Clemmens was near perfect as he wasted few pitches in facing only one batter over the minimum. The right-hander went six innings for the complete-game victory. The lanky hurler had everything going in keeping all of his pitches near the strike zone all afternoon, striking out eight. The game took less than 1½ hours. Most of his pitches were fastballs in the upper half of the zone with an occasional spinner that kept Santa Rosa hitters off balance.
Petaluma got enough offense to win the game when it bunched three hits to score the first run of the contest. Ethan Arellano was pushed across the plate on an infield ground-ball single by Jack Larson when the hustling catcher got to the bag ahead of Santa Rosa pitcher Sam Lawson.