Team effort by Trojans
“The whole is greater than the sum of its parts” is the motto of this spring’s Petaluma High School baseball team. The Trojans demonstrated just how fully they have endorsed the concept in their first win of the season, defeating Tamalpais, 4-3, Saturday afternoon on the Petaluma diamond.
The win evened the Petaluma record at 1-1 going into a big Saturday afternoon (noon first pitch) game against rival Casa Grande on the Casa diamond. It will be Casa Grande’s first official game.
Freshman Garett Lewis drove home the winning run for Petaluma in the last of the seventh inning, but many of the moving Trojan parts had a glove or a bat in the come-from-behind victory.
Pitchers Nick Siembieda and Danny Marzo struggled, but got the big outs when needed. Marzo had his seemingly mandatory two hits, including a big one that contributed to Petaluma’s winning rally in the seventh inning. Porter Slate slammed a double to center field to key a two-run fifth inning and played a solid game at shortstop.
And then there was Bradley Smith, who unclogged Petaluma’s stagnant offense with a massive home run over the left-field fence in the fourth inning.
There were several other contributors, each doing their bit for the success of the whole.
To say that Siembieda got off to a poor start on the mound would be an understatement. The first batter he faced, Tamalpais’ Jacob Berg, swatted a home run over the right-field fence. The second Red Tail Hawk walked and eventually scored.
The Petaluma starter got a couple of ground outs to get out of the inning, and went on to pitch four good innings, allowing four hits and a walk while striking out two.
“I was nervous in that first inning,” he acknowledged. “After that I was all right.”
When Siembieda fell behind the first Tamalpais hitter in the fifth inning, Marzo, Petaluma’s veteran left-hander, came on, and he, too, had a tough start. The first three batters he faced reached base on a walk sandwiched between two singles. The rally produced another Red Tail Hawk run and a 3-0 lead before Marzo quelled the mini storm.
The senior walked a pair of Red Tailed Hawks in the sixth, but shortstop Slate turned a 6-3 double play to solve the problem. Marzo finished in style, striking out two in the seventh.
Meanwhile, Petaluma was smashing all sorts of line drives and long flies to no avail against Tam starting pitcher Sam Fletcher, with most of the well-tagged balls ending in Tamalpais gloves.
But in the fourth inning, Smith slammed one no glove could catch, bending down to hit a low pitch far into the cloudy afternoon stratosphere.
A batter later, Nick Andrakin screamed a shot down the left-field line, but Tamalpais third baseman Alex Bires streaked upward and made a dazzling snare to rob the Petaluma slugger.
Still, Petaluma had finally dented the scoreboard, and more was to come.
Jack Gallagher hit the first pitch he saw in the fifth inning for a sharp single to left. An out later, Marzo hit what might have been an inning-ending double play bouncer back to Tamalpais relief pitcher Jack Loder, who promptly threw it into center field to leave two Trojans on base.
Slate slammed a drive into left-center field for two bases and a run and Lewis skied a sacrifice fly to center to tie the game at 3-3.
Despite two walks for Tam and a long double by Petaluma’s Kempton Brandis, neither team scored in the seventh.
Marzo was in control with his two whiffs in the top of the seventh, bringing things down to Petaluma’s last at bat.
The Trojans quickly ended things. David Haulot walked, Marzo shot a single to center for his second hit and Slate was intentionally walked to load the bases.
Lewis then slammed a shot into left that would have scored as many runs as needed, but only one was required to give Petaluma its first win of the season.
“The first pitch looked pretty good, so I took advantage of it,” Lewis said.
The home-diamond win followed a first-game Trojan loss at Drake, 3-1, earlier in the week.
The game was a frustrating one for Petaluma. The Trojans rapped eight hits and hit the ball hard several other times, but could score only one run. That came on a Smith second-inning solo homer.
Otherwise it was a game of hitting frustration for the Trojans.
Blake Buhrer pitched well for Petaluma, going all six innings while giving up seven hits and a walk. He struck out six. Buhrer stopped Drake in every inning but the third when it scored all three of its runs.
Marzo and Smith each had two hits for the Trojans.