Petaluma hopes to exact revenge for its only league loss this season when the Trojans host the undefeated Analy Tigers on Friday in a pivotal Sonoma County League baseball game.
Midway through the league season, the Tigers are 7-0 and alone at the top of the SCL standings, while the Trojans are hot on their tails at 6-1.
Petaluma’s only SCL misstep came against Analy on April 5, when the Trojans allowed the Tigers to score five runs in the first inning and committed five errors en route to an 11-3 loss.
Heading into Friday’s showdown, Analy is on an eight-game winning streak while Petaluma has won six in a row. The outcome could be crucial for both teams.
Meanwhile, Sonoma Valley is waiting in the wings for either team to falter, at 5-2 in league play.
“It’s been good, healthy competition the last couple years,” said Trojans coach Paul Cochrun. “It’s been back and forth and that’s been really good.”
Analy coach Jeff Ogston knows Petaluma will be up for the game.
“Without a doubt,” he said. “They, by far, did not play the game they are capable of playing last time. It was kind of a fluke, definitely with the final score, and they also didn’t take care of the ball. That’s not like them.”
In that game, the Trojans allowed four walks in the first inning and committed a handful of errors to dig themselves a hole. No. 8 hitter Jordan Parks hit a bases-loaded double to knock in three runs for the Tigers. Parks later homered.
“We had a couple bad innings, hit the ball hard but didn’t have a lot to show for it,” Cochrun said. “We had a couple innings just spiral.”
But, he said, the Trojans have played better lately and intend on bringing their focus Friday in a game that could have SCL title implications as league play heads into its final stretch.
“Those are the kind of games you want to be in,” Cochrun said.
Analy’s Nolan Alvarez, hitting a team-leading .463, and Devon Ogston (.375) have been key for the Tigers. Ogston, the leadoff hitter, has had a hit in every game this year except against Petaluma.
“He’s been our spark plug. Typically, how he goes, we go,” said the coach, also his father. “He’s been doing a great job of getting on base and making things happen.”
He has been a force on the basepaths too. In 18 games, Ogston has been successful in 16 of 17 stolen-base attempts.
Three sophomores have been ripping it up for Petaluma, including Danny Marzo (.417), Nick Andrakin (.385) and Kempton Brandis (.378).
They have benefited from the leadership of senior Luke Wheless, Ogston said. Wheless, a senior outfielder and pitcher, is hitting .396.
Neither coach would reveal his starting pitcher for Friday. Both said their staffs are deep enough that there will be options after Tuesday’s games.
Analy’s Evan Peelen is 4-1 with a 2.60 earned run average and Ryan Calderon is 4-2 with a 2.53 ERA.
Petaluma’s Jared Robison (2-1, 1.45 ERA) and Marzo (3-1, 2.75 ERA) have carried the starting burden, but Connor Richardson, Cole Petersen and Wheless have all made at least five appearances for the Trojans as well.