Division 6 baseball: Tomales captures first NCS trophy

By RICHARD J. MARCUS
FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

TOMALES — The postgame celebration by the Tomales High School baseball team on its home diamond Saturday was the first of its kind.

The Braves have a rich and successful athletic tradition, but this was their first North Coast Section baseball championship.

Tomales defeated defending Division 6 champion Point Arena, 5-3, to add a baseball trophy to the school’s already impressive trophy case.

“We are a football school, so to win it in baseball is sweet,” said Tomales coach Bill Tucker, who is in his 18th season at the Braves’ helm. “It’s awesome. I can almost retire and go out a winner.”

Tomales starter Morgan Giammona pitched a complete game in 92 pitches, giving up three hits and no earned runs.

“Winning this means everything to me,” Giammona said. “All the work I put in over four years paid off. Today my curveball was OK. My fastball was working when I was locating it where I wanted.”

The Braves staked out a 3-0 lead in the first inning against Point Arena starter Tim Sanders, who worked four innings and was charged with four earned runs.

Tomales loaded the bases with three singles — two of which came via bad hops in the infield. Ivan Gomez drove in a run with a sacrifice fly and Cody Titus stroked a sharp single to left field to plate two more runs.

“In the last couple of games we have been hitting the ball,” Tucker said.

Point Arena got a run in the second inning thanks to a wild pitch with a runner on third base who had reached on an error. Tomales took advantage of two errors by Point Arena to tack on two more runs in the fourth inning for 5-1 lead. The Pirates battled back for two runs in the sixth inning but went down quietly in the seventh.

“Timmy did fine. He had to work a lot harder than he needed to,” said Point Arena coach Trevor Sanders. “Our defense didn’t come through for him.”

Each team had five errors but Point Arena’s infielders also had plenty of trouble navigating balls hit through Tomales’ chopped-up and very slow infield. Braves batters beat out a handful of infield hits that would have been outs on a more groomed field.

“It’s terrible,” Tucker said of the infield condition. “It’s definitely to our advantage and we know that. It is certainly a home-field advantage.”

Meanwhile, in the top of the fifth inning Tomales’ defense converted a ground-ball double-play and threw a Point Arena base-runner out at the plate to extinguish a Pirates’ uprising.

“That double-play got us out of a jam,” Tucker said. “We had a couple of miscues but overall I thought we played well.”

Perhaps another edge for Tomales was the late arrival of the Pirates, who had a long drive from Mendocino County after taking the SAT tests Saturday morning. Point Arena players only had a few minutes to warm up and stretch before the start, which was pushed back twice due to the situation.

“It was a long drive and there was no preparation time but I’m not putting huge weight on that,” Sanders said. “This is a great rivalry. I’m stoked for Tomales. It was their year.”

“Point Arena didn’t get to take the infield/outfield before the game,” Tucker said. “But we were sitting around waiting for a while which isn’t good either.”

After Giammona closed out the final Pirates batter on a called third strike, Braves players embarked on a wild celebration near the mound followed by an ice-cooler victory bath for Tucker.

“Coach has never won it all,” Morgan said. “I can’t imagine what it feels like for him.”

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