Petaluma made the most of its first opportunity to play a home softball game by overpowering visiting Redwood, 11-0, on a chilly Friday afternoon. The first five T-Girls reached base and scored against the stunned Lady Giants from Larkspur.
“Our outfield grass was still very damp from all the rain we have had recently, but we had to get some games in,” said T-Girl coach Kurt Jastrow. “It was windy and there was some sun and that helped.”
Nothing helped Giant starter Alexis Gero, who came into the contest with a glossy 0.67 earned run average and two early season wins under her belt. Gero retired only one batter as Petaluma rattled off four hits and pushed across three runs before a pitching change was made by Redwood coach Emily Atkinson.
Petaluma pitcher Rachael Bles reached base four times in the shortened contest, including a pair of singles in the opening two innings. Bles scored three times, as did Mandy O’Keefe, who hit in the second slot.
The big news for the T-Girls was the return of outfielder Indya Smith, who was cleared to play after suffering a shoulder injury in pre-season workouts. Smith, the team’s leading hitter last season, showed little sign of rust, knocking in a first-inning run with a line-drive single.
Emma Weiand and freshman Karli Berncich also got into the early swing of things with RBI base hits.
First-year pitcher Sadie Leonard finished the game for Redwood after finally getting out of the long first frame. Leonard yielded two runs in the second inning and four more in the third inning before settling in to face only four batters in the bottom of the fourth frame.
The big blow down the stretch for the T-Girls was a bases-clearing triple off the bat of Weiand. Her long fly ball evaded the glove of the retreating Giant right fielder while the Trojan runners were on the move. Weiand had four RBIs in the contest.
While the game was short, it gave Jastrow a good look at starting pitcher Bles, who settled in after struggling in the top of the first inning. The Giants accounted for three hits in the frame but came away scoreless.
A key strikeout by Bles and a perfect throw to second base by catcher Weiand to cut down an attempted steal helped to get out of the inning. A bouncer back to Bles with the bases loaded got her out of a jam.
The accurate throwing sophomore had three perfect frames, and she retired nine batters in succession as the game moved along quickly. She issued only two bases on balls.
The victory gave the T-Girls a record of 2-0 heading into a scheduled clash with longtime rival Analy.
Bles, O’Keefe and Weiand each had a pair of hits for the T-Girls as they finished with 11 on the day. Redwood had three hits in the contest, all in the opening inning. The Lady Giants fell to 2-2 for the season.
A scheduled Saturday meeting with powerful Concord (3-1) from the East Bay was postponed at the request of the Minutemen coach. “She called earlier and advised me that they had too many girls taking the SAT exam on that day,” explained Jastrow. “We will get together later in the season.”