Petaluma's softball task won't be easy today

By ERIC WITTMERSHAUS
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
 

For Petaluma’s softball team and coach Kurt Jastrow, there’s no mystery surrounding today’s NCS semifinal opponent, Alhambra. The Bulldogs (22-4) handed the Trojans (23-3) a rare loss back on April 21, scoring the tying and winning runs after a two-out error in the bottom of the seventh.
 

“We booted the ball, and they got a couple of runs afterward and beat us 6-5,” Jastrow said. “They will take advantage of any mistakes you make.”
 

That said, third-seeded Petaluma is an opportunistic club in its own right.
 

“If they give us extra outs, we can score on them, too,” Jastrow said.
 

The Trojans are the only Empire team with a game today. Another half-dozen will play Wednesday. In baseball, Petaluma will travel to Dougherty Valley while Sonoma Valley hosts Acalanes. Having already upset No. 1 Clear Lake on the road, Cardinal Newman’s softball team heads to Salesian. Analy plays in Novato in a softball rematch against San Marin, which knocked the Tigers out of the playoffs a year ago.
 

Like Petaluma, St. Vincent de Paul’s baseball and softball teams are both still alive. The boys head to Dublin to play Valley Christian while the girls entertain Redwood Christian.
Point Arena’s baseball team has already guaranteed itself a home NCS title game on Friday, when the third-seeded Pirates play host to No. 6 Ferndale.
 

Of all those teams, only Jastrow’s is a defending NCS champion. The longtime coach credits a deep lineup, crisp defense and the pitching of junior Dana Thomsen with bringing the Trojans this far.
Thomsen, in particular, has been brilliant lately. She got the win in Petaluma’s SCL-clinching victory at Analy, then beat North Bay League champion Rancho Cotate in the final game of the regular season. She’s coming off a no-hitter in Friday’s 5-0 win over Alameda.
 

“She’s been steady all year,” Jastrow said of his 14-3 pitcher, who has shouldered more of the burden this year with Gina Barnacle suffering from a bone bruise. “I think right now, she’s the best pitcher in the Empire.”
Today’s game will be a rare matchup of defending NCS champions. No. 2 Alhambra won the Division 3 title last season.
One of the keys to beating the Bulldogs will be figuring out what to do with leadoff hitter Kylee Perez. The sophomore shortstop has hit 15 home runs this season, according to MaxPreps, following a freshman campaign in which she went deep at least nine times.
 

“She hit one against Casa. She hit one against Arroyo. She hit one against us,” Jastrow said. “The kid is just phenomenal. She seems to hit one a game. She’s one of the best I’ve seen as a high school hitter.”
 

The Trojans, who scored 21 runs in an opening-round win over San Lorenzo, can put the bat on the ball, too.
“Allie Corids, TJ Watts, Chelsea Martin, they’ve all been swinging the bat really well,” Jastrow said. “Gina’s been starting to pick it up pretty good. We’re hitting pretty much throughout our lineup.”
 

 

For updates from today’s 4 p.m. game at Alhambra, follow PDPreps on Twitter.
 

Eric Wittmershaus is The Press Democrat’s online sports editor. You can reach him at 521-5433 or eric.wittmershaus@press