American Legion baseball: One bad inning costs Petaluma

By MICHAEL COIT
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Coming out on the short end of one big inning, Petaluma fell Friday in an opening-round game at the American Legion World Series.

Petaluma put up three in the top half of the third inning, but Gonzales, La., answered with eight for the 8-5 win in Shelby, N.C.

The Western Regional champions look to stay alive in the double-elimination tournament. Petaluma plays at 10 a.m. today. The game will be streamed on ESPN3.

The 87th American Legion World Series runs through Tuesday in Shelby, nestled in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains.

Petaluma is among two teams making its first appearance in the Legion World Series. Three squads are back for a second time. The remaining three programs have combined for 20 trips, including Gonzales with six alone.

Still, the Leghorns from Petaluma Post 28 are playing with confidence in the national championships. Petaluma lost only once in taking the California and Western Regional titles.

Staying hot, Petaluma took a 4-0 lead against Gonzales. The first run came on a single by Ryan Walsh of Rancho Cotate to score Weston Bryan (Casa Grande).

Petaluma put up three more in the third inning. The big blow was a two-run, inside-the-park home run by Ryan Haug (Rancho Cotate), scoring Chase Stafford (Casa Grande).

The lead was short-lived. Gonzales combined five hits with a pair of Petaluma errors to push across eight runs. Gonzales stole five bases in the inning, including a theft of home.

Second-best at the plate among the eight finalists, Petaluma could not dig out of the hole in the series opener.

Gonzales starter Austin Tanner settled down and went eight innings for the win.

Deep on the mound, Petaluma will go to its stable of arms with the hope of surviving and advancing.

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