NCS baseball: Dragons succumb to ‘small ball’


San Marin manufactured most of its runs thanks to wild pitches and stolen bases while defeating visiting Sonoma Valley, 5-3, in an NCS Division 3 semifinal baseball game on Wednesday.
Five wild pitches and four stolen bases played a role in four of the Mustangs’ runs.

“They were running and we couldn’t do anything about it,” Sonoma coach Don Lyons said.
“They played small ball successfully, stealing bases and using the sacrifice to move runners up. Then, wild pitches gave them extra bases. That was the difference.”

Sonoma outhit the Mustangs, 6-5, and came back from a 3-0 deficit to tie the score in the fourth.
The Novato team scored the go-ahead run in the fifth on a single, sacrifice bunt, wild pitch and sacrifice fly.

They added an insurance run in the sixth with a base hit, stolen base, wild pitch and single through a drawn-in infield.
San Marin, the bracket’s top seed now with a 22-5 record, advances to Saturday’s final and will face either Miramonte or Acalanes. Those teams play today after being rained out Wednesday.

Freshman Dan Deely got the Sonoma offense going with a triple in the third and trotted home when starting pitcher Sean Hickey balked.
Chandler Kelley and Kevin Deely knocked in the final two Sonoma runs.
No one got more than one hit for the Dragons.

San Marin’s Brad Smith came on in the fourth and held Sonoma scoreless while improving his record to 8-3.
Sam Alton, 8-4, went the distance for Sonoma.
Catcher Sam Morgan said Alton wasn’t as sharp as usual. Opponents were hitting .195 against him going into the game.

“He didn’t have his best stuff,” the junior said. “Still, he was around the plate most of the time and gave us a chance to win.
“Sam is the ace of our staff and San Marin was just the better club.”
Morgan and Lyons agree Sonoma had a successful season, especially after the way it began.

“We were 3-4 and one of those losses was 17-1 to Acalanes,” Lyons recalled. “The season was slipping away and at that point, the team held a meeting.
“The kids pledged to have a better work ethic and we worked on the problems that were hurting us. That meeting saved our season.
“I’m proud of what they accomplished.”

After the rocky start, the Dragons finished 14-5. They were 9-3 in Sonoma County League, a game back of co-champs Petaluma and Casa Grande.
They earned the No. 4 seed in their bracket and defeated Eureka and Novato in the first two rounds.

“We started winning some games and got some swagger,” Morgan said. “It turned out to be a good year.”
Lyons is already looking forward to next year.
“Our infield was made up of all underclassmen and we only had one senior on the pitching staff,’ he said. “We should be good next year.”