By HOWARD SENZELL
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
PETALUMA — Brie Gerhardt and Katie Bisges were both perfect at the plate and Dana Thomsen tossed a three-hitter as visiting Petaluma defeated crosstown rival Casa Grande, 6-1, Tuesday afternoon.
The performances by Gerhardt and Thomsen weren’t out of the ordinary; they’ve been solid all season. For Bisges, on the other hand, this was a breakout game.
The sophomore had only one hit in 14 at bats this season before her 3-for-3 game against Casa. To make the day sweeter, she finally got a hit on an inside pitch. “I’d been struggling with inside pitches,” Bisges said. “Pitchers had been getting me out all year with that pitch.”
That all changed in the second inning when Bisges connected on an inside pitch from Courtney Ludlow and hit it solidly into the outfield.
“What a relief that was,” she said. “That really boosted my confidence. After that, I went up to the plate expecting to get a hit.”
She did just that with singles up the middle in both the fourth and sixth innings.
Gerhardt is hitting the ball no matter where it’s thrown. Following her 3-for-3 and four-RBI afternoon, the sophomore’s batting average is a lofty .450.
Thomsen’s pitching stats are just as impressive. She’s started all six games for the 5-1 Trojans and completed five. Her ERA is just above one run per game.
Casa got its run in the first and it was unearned. Thomsen struck out seven, including the last two batters she faced.
The Trojans took the lead for good, 2-1, in the third. They added two runs in the fourth and put the game away with two more in the sixth. Gerhardt knocked in the last four.
“Brie (Gerhardt) beat us,” Casa coach Joanna Martin said. “She was outstanding.”
Petaluma coach Kurt Jastrow concurred.
“Her teammates put her in position to drive in runs and she came through,” he said.
As expected, emotions in the crosstown rivalry ran high.
“Our girls were amped at the start,” Jastrow said. “Everyone knows everyone and some of the girls play on the same team in junior Olympic ball.
“It took us a few innings to settle down and then we started hitting.”
In years past, when both schools were in the Sonoma County League, they had a home-and-home series. Now, with Casa having moved to the North Bay League, the teams only meet once.
Petaluma will open SCL play April 2 at Elsie Allen while Casa, now 3-3, debuts in the NBL on Thursday at Maria Carrillo.