All bats ready for Boras
If the weather doesn’t spring a leak, Petaluma and Casa Grande high schools will compete next week in the biggest high school baseball event this side of the North Coast Section championship games.
Both the Trojans and the Gauchos are scheduled to play in the Boras Baseball Classic of California. Both are in the Northern Division of the statewide tournament that pairs 32 of the best teams in the state — 16 from the north and 16 from the south.
Casa Grande participated in the tournament last year, and gave a good accounting of itself, winning two games, while losing only one. The final scheduled Casa game was rained out.
The Gauchos open this year on Monday at 4 p.m. against St. Mary’s of Stockton. Petaluma plays on Tuesday at 10 a.m. against Woodcreek.
The weather has not been a Casa Grande friend so far this season. The Gauchos have managed to get in just two games, and a scheduled Wednesday game at Montgomery did not look promising at deadline time.
The good news is that Casa Grande won both games it managed to play, beating Redwood, 3-2, and Ukiah, 10-3.
Leading the Gauchos in their first two games, as expected, has been senior first baseman AJ Miller, who has three hits and three walks in seven plate appearances, meaning he has been retired just once in two games.
Junior catcher Cameron Downing has proven to be the hitter everyone expected him to be with four hits, two of them doubles, in six at bats.
Senior Brock Burleson has been the mound workhorse new coach Chad Fillinger expected him to be, winning both Gaucho games and pitching 10 of the 14 innings played so far.
The Gauchos’ opponent, St. Mary’s from Stockton has also had to dance around the rain, playing only three games and losing two of them. The Rams have lost to Serra, 7-3, and De La Salle, 9-2, while beating Jesuit from Carmichael, 10-7.
St. Mary’s is a Division 1 team out of the Sac-Joaquin Section.
Going in to efforts to play games this week, Petaluma had managed to squeeze in four games, beating Tamalpais, 4-3, and San Lorenzo, 6-5. Both wins came in the final inning on walk-off hits. The Trojans lost to Drake, 3-1, and played Redwood to a 5-5 standoff in a game that was called after eight innings because of darkness.
Petaluma has built its success on hitting. Through those initial four games, the Trojans have a team batting average of .360. Four players with 10 or more at bats are hitting .400 or better — David Haulot (.400), Danny Marzo (.400), Garrett Lewis (.583) and Nick Andrakin (.500). Three others are batting .300 or better.
The Woodcreek team the Trojans face in their opening game has also played four games going into this week’s play. They have split, winning two, and dropping two.
The Timberwolves are a Division 1 team from Woodland who play in the Sierra Foothill League in the Sac-Joaquin Section. They are counting on strong pitching to bring success in the tournament. Through their four games they have a 1.62 earned run average.
Senior Dennis Boatman is the Timberwolves’ top hitter. Included in his four hits are two doubles and a home run. He is batting .333 on the year.
Other teams in the tournament are Oak Ridge, Bellarmine, Davis, Tracy, Franklin, Pleasant Valley, Palo Alto, San Benito, Carlmont, Cardinal Newman, Sacred Heart Cathedral and Stockdale.
All games are played at McAuliffe Fields near the Sacramento State University campus.
The North Tournament runs through March 29, with the North vs. South championship game to be played May 5 at Santa Clara University.