By PETER FOURNIER
FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
LIVERMORE — The Petaluma High softball team came up on the bad end of a small-ball showdown in the North Coast Section Division 2 playoffs, falling to Livermore 2-0 on Saturday afternoon.
Trojans coach Kurt Jastrow said he was satisfied with how the game turned out, despite the loss, because it’s the type of game he likes to see on the diamond.
“To me, this was a real softball game … 2-0, 1-0, 2-1 games, those are real softball games,” he said. “Bunting, moving runners over, trying to do the little stuff to get your people in position to score — that’s real softball.”
Petaluma (24-3) was stymied by Cowboys ace Samantha Whalen, who allowed two hits in going the distance, striking out seven.
The Trojans stranded one runner in each of the first, fourth and seventh innings, but none of them advanced into scoring position. Whalen allowed a leadoff single in the top of the seventh to Emily O’Keefe but got the next three batters to fly out to close out the game.
Emily O’Keefe had both of Petaluma’s hits. Her other hit was a single in the top of the first inning. Whalen no-hit the Trojans for the next 5⅔ innings.
O’Keefe also reached base on an error in the fourth inning.
Cassie Baddeley shined in center field, robbing Livermore’s Madison Kahwaty of a home run in the top of the third, leaping over the fence and falling over it in the process.
She added a sliding catch on a sinking fly ball a few innings later.
Jastrow said Baddeley’s signature “web gems” were nothing out the ordinary for the first baseman-turned-outfielder.
“She’s by far our best defensive outfielder and one of our best defensive players we have on this team. She makes catches like that’s nothing,” he said.
Baddeley said a teammate was talking to her as she tracked the ball toward the fence.
“I knew I had to run through it to get it,” she said.
When Jastrow first approached Baddeley about making the switch a few years back, she wasn’t exactly on board with the idea at first.
“I had to talk her way into it,” Jastrow said.
But Baddeley, a multi-sport athlete, adjusted to the position, and said once she got accustomed to it, didn’t want to play anywhere else.
“I had the speed, so I just worked really hard at playing the outfield and I fell in love with it,” Baddeley said. “Kurt even tried to put me back at first and I said ‘No, I want to stay.’”
Baddeley has played center field during summer ball the past four seasons.
“I love the adrenaline, diving, sliding and anything to get dirty. It’s that rush, I guess,” she said.
Baddeley doesn’t plan on playing softball — or any other sport for that matter — at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in the fall. That’s the plan at least for now; she said could change her mind.
“I gave sports 10, 15 years of my life, competitively, and I just want to try something different,” she said.
The Trojans will lose five seniors, including University of Arizona-bound Joelle Krist, but Jastrow expects the team to still compete.
“People say ‘our cycle is coming around,’ but we’re going to surprise some teams next year. We’ve got some kids that can play,” he said.