NCS softball: Petaluma's bats scorch San Lorenzo

By MICHAEL COIT
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

PETALUMA — Petaluma made a pinball machine of the Trojans’ softball field, pounding nearly as many hits as runs in an opening section playoff win Tuesday.

Playing with the passion of a defending North Coast Section champion, Petaluma plastered San Lorenzo, 21-1. The Trojans banged 19 hits — seven for extra bases — while pitching and playing defense like a team ready for tougher contests.

“Today’s game was the first hurdle in the sections,” said catcher and co-captain T.J. Watts. “You can always get better. The next teams we play are going to be better.”

Starting only one senior, San Lorenzo is a young team that did well to reach the sectionals for the first time in more than a decade.

“We expected to do better today. They definitely forced us to make plays,” said Brenna Lopez, who had one of the Rebels’ two hits. “Our goal next year is to get to Petaluma’s level.”

Hitting has been Petaluma’s strength. The bats were hot Tuesday.

Scoring five runs to open the game, Petaluma had back-to-back two-run singles from first baseman Gina Barnacle and right fielder Brie Gerhardt.

Even better the next inning, Petaluma had 10 straight batters reach base with one out and scored 11 before San Lorenzo could record the third out — on a line drive. Outfielder Meghan DeCoit’s two-run double and Barnacle’s single to knock in two more chased the Rebels’ starting pitcher. Third baseman Allie Corids blasted a three-run double and had three doubles in the contest.

San Lorenzo couldn’t match the hit parade. Petaluma ace Dana Thomsen didn’t allow a hit and struck out five in facing the minimum over three innings. A pair of Petaluma relievers finished the game.

Also emptying the Petaluma bench, coach Kurt Jastrow kept his entire team sharp for the playoffs.

With Thomsen pitching strong and the defense playing error-free softball, Petaluma is formidable again this season.

“We’re at the best we can be this year,” Watts said.

Next up for Petaluma is a Friday quarterfinal at home against Alameda. The Trojans, seeded third in Division 2, shut out Alameda, seeded sixth, earlier this season

Deep, talented and playing as well as any team in the Empire, Petaluma is ranked fifth overall in the NCS.

Claiming the Sonoma County League title and streaking after a pair of losses a month ago, Petaluma will be tough to beat.

“People are expecting an NCS title again,” Watts said of Petaluma fans. “We believe in ourselves and just work at it.”