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February 8, 2023

Lion and Tiger nines still in the hunt of SCL pennant race

The wild Sonoma County League baseball pennant race may come
down to the final game this week, as five teams continue to battle
it out in a dog-fight for the league crown.
At press time on May 16, the Lions (9-6) and Tigers (8-6) were
just one game back of league-leading Casa Grande (9-5) with three
games left to play. Both Healdsburg (9-7) and Windsor (7-7) were
also mathematically alive.
Both West County teams remained in contention last week, posting
huge wins over their respective opponents.
³I told the kids that El Molino hasn¹t been in this position in
a long time and who knows when we might have this opportunity
again,² said El Mo skipper Rick Tacla. We¹re going to take it one
game at a time, do our best and let the chips fall where they
may.²
Lions break 10-year Casa jinx
It had been 10 years and 31-straight games since the Lions had
beaten perennial power Casa Grande heading into back-to-back games
with the Gauchos on May 12 and 13. The most predictable thing about
streaks however, is that they don¹t last forever. El Mo finally got
the monkey off its back on Friday.
The Lions began a critical stretch of games on Wednesday, as
they hosted visiting Petaluma. El Mo junior stopper Stephen
Traumann came up big again, tossing five strong innings in an 11-3
victory. Anthony Franceschi pitched two solid innings to get the
save. Leading the 13-hit Lions attack were: Trevor Roades (1 for 2,
4 runs), Randall Packard (1 for 2), Matt Thomson (2 for 3, 3 RBIs),
Gino Casini (1 for 4, RBI), Korey Gosselin (3 for 4, HR, 2B, 3
RBIs), Jon Canelis (1 for 1), Franceschi (2 for 3), Matt Weger (1
for 3, 2B) and Dan Masklyne (1 for 1, RBI),
On Friday, the Lions rode a tremendous, complete-game effort
from junior Matt Weger, along with a pair of big flies from
sluggers Korey Gosselin and Gino Casini (grand slam), the Lions
turned back the host Gauchos, 7-4. Weger (CG, 2 ERs, 7 hits, 2 BBs,
4 Ks) easily turned in his best outing of the season, baffling the
Gauchos all afternoon with an effective curveball. Swinging hot
bats for the Lions were: Casini (3 for 4, HR, 4 RBIs), Trevor
Roades (2 for 4), Gosselin (1 for 4, HR, 2 RBIs), Anthony
Franceschi (1 for 3), Weger (1 for 3) and Bret Williams (1 for
3).
The euphoria was short lived for the Lions, as Casa Grande
erupted for an 11-1 win. Traumann got the loss while Matt Lebaron
(10 Ks) earned his first victory of the season for the Gauchos.
Pacing the El Mo hitting attack were: Thomson (1 for 3, HR, RBI),
Casini (1 for 2), Gosselin (1 for 2) and Traumann (1 for 2).
Tigers battle back from the brink
Just when it looked as though the Tigers were headed for
baseball oblivion, the team arose to win its last three games.
Analy wasted a great, complete game, seven-strikeout effort from
pitcher Cameron Cook on Wednesday, falling 1-0 at Healdsburg.
Pacing the Analy attack were:
Mitch Hackwood (2 for 3, 2B, SB), Ryan McCown (1 for 3), Jordan
Robbins (1 for 3) and Taylor Berenyi (1 for 3).
On Saturday, the Tigers entertained Sonoma in a double-header,
winning both ends, 13-4 and 10-6. Brad Graham notched the win in
the opener, tossing a complete game, six-hitter while fanning four.
Leading the hitting corps were: Matt Brattin (2 for 2, 2B), Berenyi
(3 for 4, 2B, RBI), McCown (3 for 5, 2B, 3 RBIs), Cook (3 for 5,
2B, 3 RBIs) and Daniel Albert (2 for 5, 2B, 3B, 5 RBIs).
In the nightcap, the Tigers got another monster, complete-game
effort from Dana Amundsen, as he fired a seven-hitter while fanning
three. Pacing the potent Analy offense were: Hackwood (1 for 1,
2B), Berenyi (3 for 4), Tom Walker (2 for 4), Amundsen (1 for 3,
2RBIs) and Albert (1 for 3, 2 RBIs).
On Monday, May 15, the Tigers recorded a huge, 9-4 win in eight
innings over host Windsor. Cook turned in another gritty,
seven-inning, seven-hit, six-strikeout pitching effort to notch the
win. Jim Conover finished the game in mop-up duty in the eighth.
Leading Analy hitters included: Amundsen (2 for 5, RBI), Cook (2
for 5, 2B, RBI), Hackwood (2 for 2, 2 RBIs) and Walker (2 for 3,
2B, RBI).
The Lions and Tigers remain on the bubble for NCS playoff
berths, but each will need a winning record to make an argument at
the seeding meeting this Sunday. The Lions will play at Sonoma on
Friday, May 19, then close out the SCL season at home on Saturday,
May 20 at 11 a.m. The Tigers play at Petaluma on Friday, and
entertain Casa Grande on Saturday (time TBA).

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