Redwood Giants ride the Bulls through the dirt to secure a 7-3 victory

With humidity in the air and the stands filled with cheering voices, the blue and white uniforms took the field on Friday afternoon. After taking a hefty defeat from San Marin on Thursday, the Redwood boys’ varsity baseball team prevailed in their latest matchup against the Branson Bulls, taking home a 7-3 victory.

The Giants began a strong first inning with senior Kyle Felder starting as pitcher. Felder had two walks followed by a pop up to center field caught by junior Lucas Roy and a ground out to Felder to end the inning. The Giants kept the Bulls to zero runs through the top of the first.

Karl Somerville
Giants senior Kyle Felder pitches during the first inning at Moody field

During the bottom of the first, Redwood managed to break through the Bulls’ defense and score two runs. Senior Genki LeClair was first to bat, hitting a pop fly to center field caught by the Bulls outfield. With one out, Roy hit a bunt down the third base line and made it safely to first base. Next up to bat was senior third baseman Jackson Barry who hit a single up the third base line, advancing Roy to second. Junior Satoshi Miki then hit a ground out, keeping Redwood batters at both first and second. With two outs, senior Jack Morken managed to pop the ball over the third baseman’s head, letting Roy score and Barry advance. The inning ended with a ground out from junior Jackson Reed.

“We hit well. We’ve only scored one run in the past two games so it felt good to finally break through with seven runs and I think this will spark our offense [going into the rest of the season],” Barry said.

With Felder again pitching for the second inning, he quickly shut down the Bulls batting, moving Redwood into the bottom of the second. Junior Jake Gassman began the Giants at bat with a single, proceeding to steal all the way to third. With one out, Roy hit a pop fly into left field which allowed Gassman to score, advancing Redwood’s lead to 3-0. Roy then managed to steal both second and third, eventually tagging up off a sacrifice pop fly from Barry to move Redwood’s lead to 4-0. Miki brought the inning to an end with a pop out to right field.

Karl Somerville
Giants senior Jackson Bender warms up to pitch during the third inning

Shortly after the top of the third inning began, senior Jackson Bender came in for Felder after the Bulls managed to score two runs against the Giants, resulting in a score of 3-2. With two outs already, Bender finished the top of the third with a strikeout to bring the Giants up to bat.

The Giants entered the bottom of the third with high spirits as Gassman hit up the gap between first and second, ending with Reed getting out in a pickle between second and third. To add to the inning’s energy, the Bulls’ pitcher overthrew to third base attempting to get Gassman out, which allowed him to score and advanced the Giants’ lead to 4-2. This happened a second time during the inning, allowing LeClair to score and giving the Giants a three-point lead of 5-2.

Karl Somerville
Bulls senior Oliver Sellman runs to home plate after a home run

With Bender on the mound, the fourth inning began but quickly came to a close after two groundouts fielded by Bender and a pop out to left field. Redwood scored zero runs during the bottom of the fourth.

Another string of exciting defensive plays kept the adrenaline running high for the Giants during the top of the fifth. With no outs and one player on second, Bulls’ junior Andrew Ashley hit a pop fly to the outfield which was fielded by senior Sam Warren, who then made an impressive throw to get an out at third base. Then, Bulls’ junior Benji Breakbill hit high to mid-left field which Roy made a diving catch for to end the top of the fifth. Sophomore Ben Cohen took the mound during the sixth inning but was replaced by senior Robbie Wilson for the seventh.

Although Cohen is only a sophomore on the varsity team, he feels included and supported by the upperclassmen players.

“I’m humbled. I’m really happy I get to challenge myself by playing at the highest [high school] level. All these guys are my friends,” Cohen said.

The Giants scored one run during the bottom of the fifth while the Bulls only managed to score one run during the top of the sixth, leading the Giants to a 7-3 victory. Although Coach Mike Ferenzi believes that this year’s team is much less experienced than teams in the past, the athleticism of the players makes up for it.

“I think that when this rain goes away and we start playing on a more consistent basis these guys will work through it. We’ve never practiced more than two days in a row on the field. I think that once we get on a regular playing cycle we will be fine,” Ferenzi said.

With the hope of no rain, the Giants will next take on the Tamalpais Hawks on Tuesday, March 12 at 4:30 p.m.