T-Girls third in Napa softball tournament

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Petaluma grabbed third place in the 34th annual Napa High Holiday Softball Tournament when the T-Girls defeated Rancho Cotate, 6-4, on Saturday afternoon.

The T-Girls advanced to the championship bracket with victories over Taft of Oregon and Franklin of Elk Grove in pool play on Friday. A 4-1 loss to East Nicolaus of Sacramento wound up pool play, but Petaluma moved into championship play on the basis of a better record.

“We played some good teams and the competition was good for us,” said Petaluma coach Kurt Jastrow. “East Nicolaus was a Division V power in the Sac-Joaquin Section last season and they played with only freshmen and sophomores. All of their players are back with more experience.”

Napa, a future conference opponent for Petaluma and Casa Grande, impressed observers with some heavy hitting by winning all five games including an 8-3 win over East Nicolaus in the championship game. Earlier on Saturday, the Indians beat Petaluma 10-1 to reach the championship game.

Napa has accounted for 103 hits in its first eight games this season and appears headed for the playoffs again before heading for the North Coast Section and a new league next year.

T-Girl freshman pitcher Rachael Bles was victimized by a four-run opening frame by the hosts when everything hit found a gap in the Petaluma defense. Nothing was hit especially hard, but a two-run ground-ball single off the bat of Kimmie Walston opened the door for a big inning. Walston had three hits in the game.

Petaluma bounced back to make it a 4-1 game when Bles rifled a double down the left-field line to open the top of the third inning. Freshman Logan Pomi followed with a run-producing single. It was the second hit of the game for Pomi, who is hitting .333 in the early season.

Six runs in the bottom of the third forced Bles out of the circle in favor of Mandy O’Keefe, who has pitched well for the T-Girls to open the season. O’Keefe has posted a record of 4-2, and recorded a save in the strong win over Rancho Cotate.

Petaluma led all the way over Rancho after posting a two-run lead in the first inning. Bles got the ball again, and went three strong frames before tiring late in the frame, and O’Keefe came in to calm things down.

Emma Weiand knocked in the sixth and final run for the T-Girls with a base hit, and it proved to be the margin of victory.

“I’m really happy with the kids this year,” noted Jastrow. “They are very focused and want to play the game the right way. Rachael (Bles) has really stepped up and helped our pitching.”

Petaluma improved to 7-3 for the season, and the T-Girls are 3-0 in Sonoma County League play.

Before heading off to Wine Country, the T-Girls disposed of El Molino, 13-1, in a five-inning Sonoma County League game.

El Molino’s pesky Lady Lions hit the ball pretty well against both Bles and O’Keefe but were victimized by the strong T-Girl defense. The T-Girl pitchers struck out just two, one for each pitcher, but just about everything the El Molino batters hit found its way into a Petaluma glove.

Meanwhile, the T-Girls hit hard and often, scoring six runs in the second inning, three in the third and four in the fourth.

Highlight of the hard hitting was a drive over the right-field fence for a three-run homer by Indya Smith, who had a big afternoon for the T-Gifrls, adding a double and a walk to her homer and making a fine running catch in right field as she crossed the foul line.

Also for the T-Girls, Maddie King reached base four times on two singles, a double and a walk; Chandler Mevis was on base three times on an error and two walks; and Kaileigh Pate slammed a double in her only plate appearance.

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