Leghorns slip, still have American Legion World Series in sight

Petaluma slipped into the must-win contest Saturday when it was beaten by Kapolei, Hawaii 13-11.|

What it all comes down to for the Petaluma Leghorn baseball team is one game to either reach the ultimate for American Legion teams or end a spectacular season.

The Leghorns play in the championship game of the Regional Tournament Sunday evening at 4 p.m. at Laurel Creek Park in Fairfield. Win and the Leghorns become just the second Petaluma team ever to play in the American Legion World Series. Lose and the Leghorn season ends.

The Leghorns don’t yet know who they will have to beat in the finals. That will be determined by a 1 p.m. Sunday game between Kapolei, the Hawaii state champion, and League City, the Texas state champion.

Petaluma slipped into the must-win contest Saturday when it was beaten by Kapolei 13-11. Earlier on Saturday, League City, the Texas state champion, defeated Tucson, the Arizona champion 9-3. The result left Petaluma, Kapolei and League City all with 3-1 tournament records and brought everything in focus with the winner of the Kapolei-League City game facing Petaluma for tournament title and trip to Shelby, N.C. for the World Series.

The Leghorns’ continued their string of heart-stopping contests Saturday, but after winning three games by a single run, they came up short with another wild comeback effort against the Hawaiian team.

For the second straight game, the Leghorns fell behind big early, with Kapolei scoring five runs in the third inning for a 9-1 lead. Once again, Petaluma battled back. A two-run rally in the third inning and a three-run outburst in the fourth turned the game into a scorefest.

A three-run Kapolei rally in the top of the sixth seemed to have settled things with the Hawaiian team leading 13-6, but the Leghorns refused to give up their winning streak without a battle, getting a run back in the last of the sixth and erupting for four more in the bottom of the seventh before Kapolei could finally close them out.

Petaluma had 10 hits in the game, with shortstop Caze Deammelaere leading the way with a 3-for-3 evening that included a double and 4 RBIs. Nick Andrews and Nate O’lear each had two hits, with Andrews doubling twice and knocking in two runs.

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