In a heated first-round MCAL playoffs matchup, the fifth-seeded Redwood Giants edged the fourth-seeded San Marin Mustangs out in a nail-biter 3-2 victory that came down to the final inning.
“It was our first playoff game; we were coming off a big loss to Drake, so we wanted to get some momentum back for playoffs,” said junior pitcher Robbie Wilson.
Wilson started the game with a plan to throw inside, knowing that San Marin would be unable to hit deep balls to left field due to heavy wind. Wilson pitched a solid game, limiting a strong San Marin team to just two runs through four innings pitched.
After failing to capitalize on a bases-loaded opportunity in the first inning, the Giants sparked their offense and energy in the top of the second, with senior Dane Goodman hitting a sacrifice fly that allowed fellow senior Luke Zlatunich to score. Junior Jack Morken’s at-bat led to a walk with the bases full, bringing senior Drew Jacks home.
All Giants, including senior catcher Mackie Skall, knew this game was especially important to them.
Leading into the top of the seventh inning, the game was still tied up, 2-2. With the bases loaded with Skall, Morken and senior Josh Cohen, the stage and pressure was set for junior Jackson Barry who stepped up to the plate with no outs. Coach Mike Firenzi decided to call for a squeeze, and the play was executed exactly as planned. As Cohen streaked down the third baseline towards home plate, Barry laid a perfect bunt, allowing Cohen to reach home plate untouched and giving the Giants a 3-2 lead heading into the bottom of the seventh.
“We had a suicide squeeze on, which means the runner from third steals while I bunt. It felt great. I had to do a job for the team; I got it done and we got the dub,” Barry said.
With San Marin senior Christian Pedersen on first base and zero outs, the Mustangs needed any flash of offense to help them win the game in the final inning. In the next at bat, junior Beau McAndrew grounded a ball to Giants shortstop senior Pascal Brassey. Attempting to execute a double play, Brassey flipped the ball to second baseman junior Genki LeClair, who fired the ball to first base to almost inch out McAndrew. However, according to the umpires, Pedersen illegally ran into LeClair during the play, deeming both him and McAndrew out. Welch finished the last out of the game by striking out senior Tyler Abell of San Marin, ending the game with a final score of 3-2.