All-Empire Large School Softball: Petaluma’s Thomsen provided pitching firepower

By PHIL BARBER
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Petaluma senior Dana Thomsen (Conner Jay / The Press Democrat)

Petaluma senior Dana Thomsen (Conner Jay / The Press Democrat)

The Petaluma softball team lost its first game of the season, and its last. In between, the Trojans were unbeatable, notching 26 consecutive victories. You don’t win that many games without a steady presence on the mound, and Petaluma had the steadiest in Dana Thomsen.

“I consider her the best pitcher in our area, and one of the best in the Bay Area,” Trojans coach Kurt Jastrow said. “She faced all the tough teams. We made sure when we had a tough game that she was the one on the mound. I can only remember really one bad outing she had, and that was early in the year against Rancho Cotate. Other than that, she kept us in every game, I don’t care who it was against.”

Thomsen went 17-1 with an earned-run average of 0.71 and 145 strikeouts against 16 walks, making her a natural choice for our 2013 Large School Player of the Year.

Jastrow had Thomsen on his varsity squad since midway through her sophomore season, and knew she was a likable athlete. Yet he didn’t know how she’d respond to the leadership responsibilities he would ask of her as a senior, on a team that included six sophomores in the starting lineup.

“The girls liked her, but she was always a fun-loving type kid,” Jastrow explained. “She’d make kids laugh. I didn’t know when things got tough, if she could drop the hammer a little. I didn’t know if she had it in her. But she took on the role. There were a couple times at the end of the year when it was clear she was very motivated.”

Thomsen was a good hitter, too. Batting in the No. 2 slot, she hit .391 and rapped seven doubles, making Cal Hi Sports’ all-state second team as a “multi-purpose” player.

“In our system, the No. 2 has to be able to sacrifice, give herself up for the team, and she did that without complaint,” Jastrow said. “She’s just an all-around very good player. We will definitely miss her.”

Thomsen first became a starting pitcher out of necessity, when her 10-and-under team found itself short on arms. She says she was “an underdog” until she hit about 14. By that time, she was working with Casa Grande and Loyola Marymount graduate Jen Heliotes, who turned Thomsen into an ace.

“She’s a power pitcher,” Jastrow said. “She threw the ball 61, 62 (miles per hour). We worked on her changeup at the beginning of the year, and toward the end of the year it was real good. And she had great location. She just didn’t walk anybody. She dominated some teams I didn’t think could be dominated.”

Like Alhambra. In the five games before they played Petaluma, the Bulldogs scored a total of 63 runs. In the six games after they met, they scored 86. Alhambra got one run in seven innings against Thomsen, who picked up the 2-1 victory.

The Trojans swept through an undefeated Sonoma County League season and North Coast Section playoff victories over San Lorenzo and Livermore. Petaluma finally fell in a Division 2 semifinal, losing 1-0 to Concord — the same team that had eliminated the Trojans in the 2012 championship game.

“I’m still stuck on last year,” Thomsen said. “I don’t think this year has really sunk in yet. I don’t feel I’m done with softball.”

Of course, she isn’t. Thomsen was ready to accept a scholarship to Humboldt State, but changed her mind and will play at Santa Rosa JC this coming year. She wants to keep her options open — including the chance to pitch for a Division I program.

You can reach Staff Writer Phil Barber at phil.barber@pressdemocrat.com.

 ALL-EMPIRE LARGE-SCHOOL SOFTBALL

PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Dana Thomsen, Petaluma, Sr.

FIRST TEAM
Gina Barnacle, 1B, Petaluma, Sr.
Brianna Gerhardt, C, Petaluma, So.
Julianna Gutierez, C, Sonoma Valley, Sr.
Kazja Faagata-Averbuck, 1B/P, Rancho Cotate, So.
Mikaela Francis, SS, Maria Carrillo, Sr.
Keilani Fronda, OF, Rancho Cotate, Sr.
Robin Johnson, P, Maria Carrillo, Jr.
Denia Vera, P, Santa Rosa, Jr.
Rosalina McClelland, 1B, Analy, Fr.

SECOND TEAM
Vickie Espinoza, DH/1B, Rancho Cotate, Fr.
Joelle Krist, 2B, Petaluma, So.
Courtney Ludlow, P, Casa Grande, Sr.
Madi Ortega, 3B, Analy, Sr.
Maria Ragusa, OF, Analy, Sr.
Amber Rose, OF, Sonoma Valley, Jr.
Angelica Terrel, C, Windsor, Jr.
Brittney Veler, 2B, Maria Carrillo, Jr.
Alison Wendler, Util., Santa Rosa, Sr.

THIRD TEAM
Kayla Allen, SS, El Molino, So.
Megan August, OF, Maria Carrillo, Sr.
Katy Bisges, OF/P, Petaluma, So.
Hanna Chew, C, Maria Carrillo, Fr.
Caitie Diedrich, 2B/3B, Analy, Jr.
Kayla Douglas, 2B/SS, Cardinal Newman, Jr.
Allison Lopez, SS, Piner, Sr.
Lisa Nadell, 3B, Casa Grande, So.
Ashley Vail, 3B, Sonoma Valley, Sr.

COACH OF THE YEAR
Kurt Jastrow, Petaluma

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