NCS playoffs: Seeds grab the spotlight

By HOWARD SENZELL
FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Petaluma senior Dana Thomsen, who pitches against Concord on Tuesday, has established herself as the Empire’s top pitcher with an 0.71 earned run average and 145 strikeouts. (Photo by Alvin Jornada, The Press Democrat)

Petaluma senior Dana Thomsen, who pitches against Concord on Tuesday, has established herself as the Empire’s top pitcher with an 0.71 earned run average and 145 strikeouts. (Photo by Alvin Jornada, The Press Democrat)

Of the 36 Redwood Empire baseball and softball teams that began a quest for a North Coast Section title, nine are still alive heading into the second week which begins Tuesday.

Included in the group are three No. 1 seeds — Casa Grande (Division 2 baseball), Petaluma (Division 2 softball) and Tomales (Division 6 baseball).

The Lady Trojans will be the first team among the top seeds to play as they host No. 4 Concord in a semifinal contest Tuesday at 4 p.m. Casa Grande has a date on Wednesday with No. 5 College Park with the winner advancing to the title game.

As for Tomales, the Braves have already earned a spot in the championship game and will welcome No. 2 Point Arena on Saturday.

The Petaluma-Concord matchup features the schools that have won the past three Division 2 titles. The Minutemen prevailed in 2010 and 2012, the Trojans in 2011.

Concord beat Petaluma, 2-0, in last year’s championship and earlier this season, the Trojans got a measure of revenge, breaking up a scoreless game with three runs in the seventh.

Petaluma has won 26 straight since a loss to Pinole Valley in the season opener on March 7. Concord’s record is 20-4.

Led by Brie Gerhardt’s .523 average, the Trojans are hitting .404 as a team. Pitcher Dana Thomsen has established herself as the top pitcher in the Empire with an ERA of 0.71 and 145 strikeouts.

Runs also figure to be hard to come by the following afternoon in the Casa Grande-College Park game with the Gauchos’ Anthony Bender and the Falcons’ Joe DeMers taking the mound.

Bender sports a 10-0 record and 0.26 ERA while sophomore DeMers’ stats are 9-2 and 1.11.

“Both pitchers are outstanding,” Casa coach Paul Maytorena said. “I think the winner will be the team that executes. Getting the sacrifice down and moving the runner along will be important and so will playing smart defense.”

The Gauchos captured the NBL title en route to a 26-2 record while College Park brings a 20-5 mark into the game. The Pleasant Hill school finished second in the Diablo Valley League.

Tomales will be seeking its first NCS baseball title on Saturday. The Braves moved on to the championship game with an 11-2 victory Friday against California School for the Deaf.

Point Arena eliminated Ferndale, 4-3, on Saturday to advance.

Other Empire teams still alive heading into week two are: Sonoma Valley and Analy (both in Division 3 baseball), St. Vincent (Division 5 softball) and Laytonville and Anderson Valley (Division 6 softball).

THIS WEEK’S SCHEDULE

NCS baseball and softball playoffs

TUESDAY

Softball

Division 2 semifinal

Concord at Petaluma, 4 p.m.

Division 5 semifinal

Holy Names at St. Vincent, 4 p.m.

WEDNESDAY

Baseball

Division 2 semifinal

College Park at Casa Grande, 4 p.m.

Division 3 semifinals

Sonoma Valley at Acalanes, 4 p.m.

Analy at Sir Francis Drake, 7:30 p.m.

Softball

Division 6 semifinals

Anderson Valley at Ferndale, 4 p.m.

California School for the Deaf at Laytonville, 4 p.m.

SATURDAY

Baseball

Division 6 championship game

Point Arena at Tomales, 1 p.m.

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