Baseball roundup: Casa Grande edges Petaluma 1-0

“We had two of the best pitcher in the state going at it.” - Casa Grande Coach Pete Sikora|

The left hand knew exactly what the right hand was doing and vice-versa Thursday afternoon on the Petaluma High School baseball diamond – both were getting batters out.

Casa Grande left-hander Austin Steeves and Petaluma right thrower Aaron Davainis hooked up in a masterful pitching duel in a thriller that totaled just one run and three hits. The run belonged to Casa Grande and was unearned.

The numbers for both pitchers are impressive.

Steeves gave up an up-the-middle single to Dante Vachini in the fourth inning and a walk to Davainis in the same frame and nothing else. He faced just 22 batters, only one over the minimum, and struck out nine.

Davainis yielded singles to Alex Cruz and Elijah Sullivan, both also in the decisive fourth inning. Troubled a bit by control issues in the early going, he walked four, but got more dominating in the latter innings, finishing with 11 strikeouts, eight over the last three frames.

The game was originally scheduled for Casa Grande, but was switched to Petaluma when the Gaucho diamond remained a lake after the early-week rain. The rematch on April 18 will now be played at Casa.

What it all came down to was the decisive fourth inning.

In the top half of the inning, Casa Grande put its leadoff batter, JT Summers, on base with an infield error, the only fielding miscue of the game. Cruz followed with the game’s first hit, a single to left. It looked like Davainis might escape unscathed when he got the next two batters on a foul out and a strike out, but Sullivan smacked a solid single to left to drive home the first and only run of the afternoon.

One out into the bottom of the inning, Vachini shot Petaluma’s only hit up the middle and proceeded to steal both second and third. A strikeout later, Davainis walked, putting runners at the corners with two down. With Zach Fiene at the plate, a pinch runner at first broke for second, and when the throw went in that direction, Vachini bolted toward home. Casa was ready for the ploy and the head-first sliding runner was closely, but clearly, out at the plate.

That was that. Neither team came close to touching a base over the final three rapidly played innings.

The Gauchos had scoring opportunities in each of the first three rounds before making the breakthrough in the fourth, but were thwarted by their own base-running miscues. They had a runner thrown out trying to steal in the first, had one picked off second in the second and another picked off first in the third.

Casa Grande also lost a run in the third when Petaluma right fielder Vachini leaped high to steal a potential home run from Steeves on his long drive that might have cleared the fence had it not been intercepted buy the Trojan defender.

Steeves absolutely dominated Petaluma batters the first time through the batting order, striking out eight of the first nine batters he faced.

Davainis, after walking himself into jams early, was untouchable in the last three innings, whiffing eight of the last nine batters he encountered.

Aside from the one costly error, both teams provided whatever defensive support their pitchers required.

“It was a very good baseball game with two dominating pitchers,” noted Petaluma Coach Scott Osder. “We used that double steal play successfully before, but today we didn’t execute it properly.”

Casa Grande Coach Pete Sikora agreed it was an exceptional game, but he had the extra gratification of watching his team come out on top. “We had two of the best pitchers in the state going at it,” he observed. “This was a big win for the Gauchos to get us started in league.”


Petaluma sandwiched a pair of impressive wins around the disappointment of the loss to the Gauchos as the Trojans began to stabilize their season after an injury-plagued start.

Just before taking on Casa Grande, Petaluma began VVAL play with a 2-0 win over Napa’s Grizzlies. Fiene pitched six strong innings for the win, allowing just four hits and two walks while striking out five. Jackie Palmer walked three in his only inning, but pitched out of trouble for the save.

Fiene had Petaluma’s only hit against Napa pitcher Graham Chapouris, who walked four and struck out eight. Single runs in the fifth and sixth innings were all the support Fiene needed.

Petaluma’s bats finally came alive Saturday in a 10-4 non-league win over Archie Williams from San Anselmo.

The Trojans had seven hits by seven different batters in that game with Colton Dilena, Flynn Shoop, Vachini, Dante Caiati, Sawyer Sheldon, Finn Lindgren and Kyle Worden all providing hits. Shoop doubled and Vachini tripled.

Petaluma used four different pitchers to hold off the Peregrine Falcons, who had nine hits.

At the end of the week, Petaluma held a 6-5-1 record and was 1-1 in league play.


Casa Grande followed up its big win over the Trojans with a 6-4 league triumph over American Canyon’s Wolves.

Trailing 3-1 through four innings, Casa Grande rallied for three runs in the fifth and added two more in the sixth for the win.

JT Summers led the way with a three-for-four hitting performance that included a double, home run and four RBIs.

Jesse Calkin, Kalen Clemmens and Anthony Fernando also had hits for the Gauchos.

Wyatt Abramson and Summers split pitching time for Casa, with Summers allowing just one run, one hit and one walk over four innings with four strikeouts.

The twin wins started the Gauchos 2-0 in VVAL play and improved their overall record to 5-2.


St. Vincent’s Mustangs went bat bonkers in a 22-1 home win over Lower Lake’s Trojans.

St. Vincent scored five runs in the first inning, added two in the third and exploded for 15 in the fourth to make a short end to the game after Lower Lake batted in the top of the fifth.

The Mustangs had nine hits and accepted 11 walks in the game.

Jack Davis led the St. Vincent hitting barrage with a three-for-three performance that included a triple and three RBIs. Eddy Stone homered, singled and drove in three runs. Carson Landies had two hits.

The hitting assault made pitching life easy for freshman Harrison Barley who allowed just one run on two hits with four strikeouts.

It was a different story on Saturday when the Mustangs fell behind early and never could come back, losing to the University Red Devils from San Francisco 8-4.

The Mustangs had just four hits, with the bat-hot Davis gathering two, including a triple.

St. Vincent ended the week with a 4-5 record and an 0-2 North Bay League Oak mark.

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