Gutsy pitching performances and one HUGE inning enabled City to complete pool play in first place with a 3-1 record.
With both teams guaranteed to advance to the semifinals, it would have been easy for either team to give less than their best effort in an attempt to rest for later in the week. Instead, two talented teams played a tight game for five back and forth innings, until City exploded with a big inning that would be the difference in the game.
City got on the board first in the top of the first, with a situational hit by Michael to score Sumner (who had singled to open the game). Amar was on the hill, and although he allowed a double he went 1-2-3 after that to end the inning with City up 1-0.
On our half of the 2nd, Amar got on base with a single of his own, was sacrificed around by Aidan K, and then - true to this team's nature - was thrown out at the plate attempting to score on a passed ball. It was a close play and could have gone either way, at least that is what I keep telling myself about it (and all the other ones that have not gone our way yet...boy are we due).
In the bottom of the 2nd there was a bizarre sequence where a batter was hit, and then the next batter was hit on the next 3 pitches...but each time the umpire ruled that the batter did not make an attempt to avoid the pitch, so a ball was called instead. The West Marin contingent was not pleased. On the fourth pitch that batter walked :). A single by West Marin brought in a run to make it a 1-1 game. During the next at-bat, the runner at second got a bit too far off the basepaths and Santino fired down, resulting in a rundown that ended the inning.
In the top of the 3rd, we loaded the bases with zero outs on two walks and a single by Miles M. And then our baserunning zeal got us again, with Sumner getting nabbed at the plate trying to score on a passed ball. Two strikeouts after that ended what could have been a big inning for us...we'd have to be patient on that one. West Marin went quietly in their half of the 3rd, as did we in our half of the 4th.
Alex came on in relief of Amar in the bottom of the 4th for his All Star pitching debut, and shut them down 1-2-3 with defensive help from Sumner and Caiden. In the top of the 5th, West Marin scratched one run and took the lead 2-1 after some City defensive miscues and a wild pitch. The defense made up for it though by throwing out a batter who tried to stretch a single into a double for the third out.
That defensive putout gave City momentum going into our half of the 6th. With two on after walks, Jaheim singled to tie the game at 2. Then Beckett singled to score Miles H, and City had the lead 3-2...but we were not done. Jaheim broke the curse by taking home on a wild pitch. A couple walks later, Santino singled to score two. Two more walks later, Miles H singled to score Santino. It was a long inning for West Marin, and two more defensive lapses allowed us to score two more runs, making it 10-2 SF after six and one half innings.
In the bottom of the 6th, Alex again set down West Marin 1-2-3, getting help from Jaheim who turned an unassisted double play to end the inning. City was unable score (despite a couple hard hits) in our half of the 7th, so we went to the bottom with a big lead but ready to play hard and close this out.
Aubrey made his All Star pitching debut, and was greeted by a scorching line drive right back at him that hit him hard on the hip. He turned out OK and gamely went back to the mound, but took a bit to find his rhythm again and allowed a couple walks to load the bases. After that though it went 1-2-3, with a sac fly in there to score one run, and we had a final 10-3 SF.
So SF advances out of pool play as the #1 seed in the single-elimination semifinals. We will play Tuesday night in Terra Linda against the "home" team from Terra Linda LL. Let's go City!
Intensity in the field, Michael is always ready to play ball
Amar on the mound
Tag(s): Juniors 14U All-Stars