The Petaluma National 8-10-year-old All-Star team made a good run, but ultimately came up a run short in the District 35 Little League Tournament, losing on Saturday to Rincon Valley, 3-2.
Rincon Valley was the only team to beat the Nationals in the tournament, knocking the Petalumans into the elimination bracket, 6-3, in the tournament’s second round.
The hard-hitting Nationals pounded their way back through that bracket, knocking off in successive days, Westside, 12-0; Petaluma American, 12-2; Fort Bragg, 11-1; Ukiah, 13-0; and, finally, Healdsburg, 18-2.
The win over Healdsburg in the elimination-bracket semifinal played Friday evening on the Santa Rosa Americans’ diamond was typical of the slugging Nationals incredible run back through the elimination bracket.
After scoring four preliminary runs in the first inning, the Nationals were unstoppable in a 14-run second inning.
Batter after batter slapped hits around, through and over Healdsburg defenders. The Petalumans sent 20 batters to the plate, 14 scored, three went out and three were left on base.
Harlan Barry started the fireworks with a solid single to left, and, before it was over, Grady Dilena had two hits, Ben Vollmer a single and a sacrifice fly, August Cuneo a pair of singles, Rowan Ball a single and a double to the base of the fence, Joseph Barrera a pair of singles, Dalton Deadman a bunt single, Owen Williams a walk, Michael Farias a single, Griffin Vorhaus a single, and Jason Biernier a walk and a single.
Meanwhile, after a rocky start, National pitcher Barry mowed down the Healdsburg batters. He walked the first two batters he faced and one eventually scored. A catcher’s interference call and a wild throw gave Healdburg a second run in the second, but that was that for the northern team’s offense.
With the game out of hand, Miles Nichols pitched a perfect third before the game was called by the 10-run rule.
The Nationals couldn’t continue the big bashing on Saturday as they were shut down and eliminated by Rincon Valley.
“They pitched well and played great defense,” said Petaluma manager Jared Vollmer. “We also played well. It was a great game. It was fun playing against them.”
The Nationals battled to the end and had the potential tying and winning runs in scoring position when the game ended.
Vollmer said the Petaluma Nationals’ long climb back through the elimination bracket was not a factor in the final-game outcome.
“The players were feeling really good,” he said. “They had lots of energy. Rincon Valley is just a very good team.”