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.

Junior Robbie Wilson

“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.

Senior Luke Zlatunich

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.

Senior Dane Goodman

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.

Zlatunich slides into home plate.
Senior Drew Jacks

All Giants, including senior catcher Mackie Skall, knew this game was especially important to them.

Senior Mackie Skall

“They beat us here earlier this year, and it burns playing those guys because we know we’re a lot better than them. I don’t like them; they yell at us and they make our pitchers feel bad,” Skall said.

Junior Jack Morken

However, the Mustangs struck back in the third and fourth inning after Tyler Abell and Matt Lozovoy drove in Jake Schmidt and Jason Bernardy, tying the game at 2-2. The Giants then decided to pull in senior pitcher Oliver Pearson for the fifth and sixth inning and sophomore pitcher Nick Welch for the seventh inning, with both pitchers letting up a total of zero runs and only one hit.

Senior Oliver Pearson

“I was fired up; we’re one-one against San Marin this year. They’re always a loud noisy team, getting into it, you saw at the end everyone was yelling at each other. I’m always fired up against them and when I go out to pitch, I just try to throw as hard as I can,” Pearson said.

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.

Senior Josh Cohen

“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.

Senior Pascal Brassey

The Giants now look to defeat their next opponent, Tam, at 7 p.m. at Albert Park in San Rafael.

“We’re gonna have fun and we’re gonna do what we did today. We felt great energy in the warm-ups and practice yesterday was really fun; we’re really vibing together. We had a couple kids quit earlier this year, which sucked, but now we’re nine guys going out there having fun, playing a great game of baseball,” Skall said.

Created By
Max Gilberg

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