Petaluma softball falls to Concord

Petaluma pitcher Dana Thomsen gave up the game's only run on Tuesday. The Trojans lost to Concord, 1-0, in an NCS Division 2 semifinal. Photo credit: John Burgess / The Press Democrat

Petaluma pitcher Dana Thomsen gave up the game’s only run on Tuesday. The Trojans lost to Concord, 1-0, in an NCS Division 2 semifinal.
Photo credit: John Burgess / The Press Democrat

By MICHAEL COIT
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Familiar softball playoff foes faced off in another big game, with Petaluma’s season again ending in a one-run loss to Concord.

So good for so long — winners of 26 straight — the Trojans could not muster a key hit to match Concord in the 1-0 home loss Tuesday. Petaluma knew the Minutemen would be tough, yet was confident of returning to the North Coast Section Division 2 final.

“What our team did this year was pretty good. It would have been great to go all the way,” said Nicole Wiecks, one of three senior starters. “We just weren’t able to come through.”

Both teams had base runners in five of the seven innings. Concord managed a two-out, run-scoring single in the fifth, while Petaluma left three runners in scoring position.

“We were very determined. This was a tough game to lose,” said Katy Bisges, who had three hits.
Strong defense and steady pitching from Kell
y Drake carried Concord to the win and a return to the section champion-ship contest. Concord defeated Petaluma in last season’s title game. Petaluma won the section two years ago, the school’s fifth softball championship.

“We wanted to get back to the championship. We knew they we’re going to be tough,” Drake said. “There was pressure. We just needed to believe in ourselves.”

The much-anticipated matchup was expected when the playoff seedings were announced. Petaluma was No. 1 seed and Concord No. 4, promising the potential of a semifinal showdown.

“There’s pressure in the playoffs. You just know if you lose you’re out,” Wiecks said. “It was even a bigger game because it was Concord.”

Runs would be at a premium with Drake and Petaluma ace Dana Thomsen leading their teams.

Thomsen managed five strikeouts to match the five hits she scattered. In one dominant stretch, Thomsen set down eight Concord batters in succession.

Backing her up was a defense that made one error and several heady plays to help keep a fast Concord squad mostly off the bases.
The best scoring chance for Petaluma came in the fourth inning. Bisges led off with a single, moved to second base on a sacrifice bunt, and over to third following a ground-out. Miranda Swanson hit a deep drive to center field that stayed in the ballpark on this breezy day and was gathered in by Monique Cook.

Concord broke through in the fifth with a leadoff single by Adrianna Ross. A ground-out and sacrifice bunt moved the runner to third base and Courtney Davis knocked in the game’s lone run with a sharp single to center field.

In both the sixth and seventh innings, Petaluma moved a runner to second base with two outs. Drake stranded the Trojans, ending the game with her fourth strikeout.

The right-hander’s best pitches were a screwball and a change-up, hitting the corners of the plate to help keep Petaluma’s hitters off-balance.
“I’ve been working on confidence and trusting our defense,” Drake said. “We have a great defense. We’re just consistent.”

Having not lost since the season opener, the Trojans liked their chances at home.

Even with the defeat to Concord, Petaluma should continue to be a section power.

The Trojans had six sophomore starters this season who will anchor the program for two more years.

“It was an amazing season. We worked hard,” Bisges said. “We have a lot of hope.”

You can reach Staff Writer Michael Coit at 521-5470 or mike.coit@pressdemocrat.com.

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