SCL co-title slips Sonoma’s grasp, Petaluma repeats; tourney starts tonight at Arnold Field, Dragons play Casa tomorrow
Sonoma junior catcher Sam Morgan can’t reach the ball in time to make a tag at home plate during the Dragons’ SCL co-title loss to the defending-champion Trojans Saturday in Petaluma.
It was a rematch for the Sonoma County League championship in Petaluma on Saturday, with this season’s showdown for an SCL co-title, and after overcoming a two-run deficit with a two-out, third-inning, four-run rally, the Sonoma Valley High School varsity baseball boys seized a 4-2 lead over defending champion Petaluma.
But, again, the young Dragons didn’t put a quality opponent away when they had their opportunities – including moving runners in scoring position with sacrifice bunts, and not making some key defensive plays, which opened the door for Petaluma.
After scoring one run in the sixth inning, the Trojans picked the perfect time for their rally, first tying the game in the bottom of the seventh, and then breaking Sonoma’s hearts with a walk-off double that produced a 5-4 victory and a co-championship with neighboring Casa Grande.
Unfortunately, like last year in Sonoma, the Dragons came up short, despite a solid seven-inning pitching effort by sophomore Brennan Cole, and had to watch Petaluma pull off a title-repeat on the Trojans’ home field.
“We didn’t play with field awareness, couldn’t get down sacrifice bunts and, again, didn’t put a good team away when we had the chance and Petaluma made us pay,” said Sonoma head coach Don Lyons, who’s assisted by longtime coach Mario Alioto, along with former Dragon standout Jody Ray, and Joe Schiebold and Dave Studdert. “This is a young team which has had a good season, and continues to improve, but is still learning how to consistently win. We couldn’t put away Casa, but we showed heart and rallied in the final inning to beat a strong team like San Marin. Now we couldn’t finish the job against Petaluma, and it cost us a title. We don’t have time to dwell on the loss, because we have to play Casa in the SCL Tourney and possibly play Petaluma again. Then there’s the North Coast Section.”
Pacing the Dragons were senior Kevin Deely’s two singles, two stolen bases and one run scored; junior Chandler Kelley’s single and two RBIs; juniors Sam Morgan’s and Chris Swanson’s single, RBI and run each; Cole’s single and run; sophomore Jonah Son’s single; and junior Ryan Matteo’s stolen base.
With the loss, Sonoma (15-8 overall, 9-3 SCL) ends league play in third-place and will host the annual postseason SCL Tournament at Arnold Field, beginning at 7 p.m. tonight with co-champion and top-seeded – by way of a tiebreaker – Petaluma facing fourth-seeded Healdsburg.
Then the third-seeded Dragons will battle second-seeded Casa at 7 p.m. tomorrow, Wednesday, May 18, with the SCL Tourney title game taking place this Thursday, May 19.