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Anne Photograp News 2024

Redwood walks away with a wild MCAL title win
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Redwood walks away with a wild MCAL title win

No one could blame San Marin High for wanting to avoid Redwood’s leadoff hitter and disruptor Theo Trono with the MCAL baseball championship on the line in the bottom of the eighth inning Friday night.

With two outs and runners on second and third base, San Marin elected to intentionally walk Trono and load the bases, bringing in Gavin Soper.

What the Mustangs didn’t expect was the ferocity that Soper – hitless that night – brought.

Soper fired a fastball off the first pitch into the right-center field gap and drove in Lucas Ghio from third with the winning run as the Giants came from behind to eventually beat San Marin 6-5 on a warm, quiet night for an overflow. crowd in Albert Park in San Rafael.

Redwood survived a crazy game and celebrated its MCAL title since 2018 – although the Giants had to wait an extra inning after it emerged they had clinched the victory in the seventh.

Redwood (23-3) led 5-4 with two outs in the top of the seventh inning when the confident Rex Solle lined up a one-hopper at third base and shot across the diamond for a seemingly easy out.

So certain that the game was over, a crowd of Redwood students rushed onto the field to celebrate.

But the umpire at first base waved his arms. San Marin’s base runners held on at second and third.

Much discussion ensued and ultimately the umpire’s ruling that the Redwood first baseman had pulled his foot off the bag before the out was confirmed was upheld.

The fans were ejected and a few pitches later, San Marin’s Cole Chamberlain scored the tying run on a wild pitch.

“We’re all still a little confused about that game,” said Redwood starting pitcher Solle, who allowed just one hit in his five-inning stint — but three runs.

That was the other crazy thing about the game.

San Marin’s Sean McGrath lofted a Solle pitch over the left-field fence for a two-run home run after Chamberlain walked in the first inning.

“It was a change that left me in the middle of the zone,” Solle said. “He does damage with that kind of pitch.”

Amazingly, McGrath’s homer was the only hit in eight innings for the Mustangs.

“If anyone had told me at 4 o’clock this afternoon that San Marin would only have one hit and we would go eight innings, I would have said they were crazy,” Redwood coach Mike Firenzi said.

The madness didn’t stop there.

A San Marin run was also scored on two balks in the sixth.

Redwood’s two-run rally in the bottom of the sixth, which briefly pushed the Giants ahead 5-4, consisted of an error, a hit batter, a wild pitch and finally a runscoring single by Trono.

The teams also committed six errors between them.

“It wasn’t the cleanest game ever,” said Trono, who was on fourth base in five at bats. “But everyone contributes to this team. It was a total team effort today. We found a way to win.”

That brings the game full circle to the winning run in the bottom of the eighth inning, which was preceded by a 12-pitch shutout inning by reliever Matthew Knauer in the top of the inning.

With one out, Ghio was given a five-pitch walk to start the winning rally. Chase Johnson singled down the left field line and TJ Beck bunted both runners up to set up the intentional walk to Trono and the walk-off Soper single.

“We’ve been working all season on chasing fastballs for the first pitch,” Soper said. “I got a fastball on the inside of the plate on the first pitch in my last at-bat. This time I was ready and I really attacked on the field.”

Soper, who was mobbed by his teammates and the returning marauding fans after his winning goal, was almost at a loss for words in the initial aftermath of his heroics.

“This is just amazing,” Soper finally said. “This is what we have been working for all year. Winning the MCAL pennant was our main goal.”

Solle couldn’t have been happier for his teammate.

“I’ve been playing with Gavin since we were eight years old,” Solle said. “We have been dreaming of winning something like this for years. I had 100 percent confidence that Gavin would make it.”

San Marin starting pitcher McGrath did not allow a runner beyond first base until the fourth inning, when doubles by Solle, Knauer and a runscoring single by Ghio accounted for Redwood’s first runs of the game.