Petaluma National Little League All-Stars slug rival Americans

Hard hitting Petaluma National Little League exploded for seven runs in the final inning to blow past Petaluma American 11-1 in the District 35 Majors winning bracket at Lucchesi Park on Monday. In the big inning, the Nationals struck three home runs to end any mystery in a game against a cross- town opponent.

The Nationals have now defeated Healdsburg, Rincon Valley and the Americans in the double-elimination tourney.

The American Leaguers came into the game holding a 4-3 win over El Molino, but will now fall back into the losers bracket and play additional games to get back into contention.

The game between the Americans and Nationals was close enough in the early going to capture the interest of the fans on both sides and on the hill in left field. Some base-running misplays hurt the cause of the Americans, and they never crawled back into the contest. Two runners were thrown out and a double play ended what might have been a big inning.

The double play was put in motion at the plate, and ended with a fine throw to second by catcher Kalvin Okamura.

The Nationals clung to a 4-1 advantage heading into the bottom of the fifth, but home runs by pitcher Gio Castaing and Aiden Jones gave them a bigger margin. All was not over as the Nationals rattled off six hits and a big three-run blast by Dante Sarno to end the game on the Little League maximum margin in the sixth inning.

Castaing pitched for the Nationals, and went the distance to pick up the victory on 82 pitches. The strong-armed right hander was very deliberate, but hustled the ball toward the plate with more heat than the Americans could regularly put into play. He struck out the side three times with10 punch outs overall.

Petaluma National took command in the top of the first inning when their first three batters all scored. Jones, who had two hits on the afternoon, knocked in a pair of runs with a solid knock.

Petaluma National advances to a fourth-round game against Mark West of Santa Rosa on Wednesday. Results of that game were not available at press time.

The Nationals pounded out 11 hits, including four doubles.

Petaluma American turned in some solid plays as well, but nothing was finer than the sliding catch in left field turned in by late entry Jaime Parker in the bottom of the third frame.

The lusty swinging Castaing drove a liner headed into the gap, and it appeared that the big hitter had recorded a third base hit to open the inning. Parker, however, got a tremendous jump on the ball despite playing the sun field, and made a terrific catch to the wild cheering of fans sitting on the soccer hill behind him.

Jerad Dempsey had a pair of hits for Petaluma American, but they were limited to only four by the route-going flame thrower of the Nationals.

Cash Deering, the second of three pitchers for the Americans, threw three effective innings for his club, allowing only one run.

Both Petaluma American and Petaluma Valley, a 7-4 loser to Mark West Monday, were scheduled to play Tuesday, the Valley against Rincon Valley and the Americans against Fort Bragg. Winners of those games would face off Wednesday in a 5:30 p.m. game at the Valley League’s Murphy Field.

The championship game will be played Saturday at 7 p.m. at Lucchesi Park with an if-necessary game at 7 p.m. Sunday.

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