Petaluma Leghorns survive in American Legion World Series

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The Petaluma Leghorns state championship team broke out in a big way in Friday’s western region game at the American Legion World Series.

Facing a Tucson, Arizona, squad in a do-or-die game, the team made up of high school-age players from Petaluma and beyond surrendered the game’s first run in the first inning, but clawed their way back for a 9-3 victory at the Fairfield tournament.

Petaluma starter Riley Cronin gave up a two-out RBI double to Tucson in the opening frame but went on to throw five innings while allowing just three runs on five hits for the victory.

Petaluma didn’t get on the board until the bottom of the fourth inning. Nick Andrakin opened the Petaluma half of the inning with a double to left-center, then advanced to third on a one-out wild pitch.

Jack Gallagher reached base after being hit by a pitch and with runners at the corners, Joe Kramer singled to knock in Andrakin and tie the game at 1-1. The Leghorns weren’t done yet, however, and when batter Garret Lewis was also hit by a pitch, it loaded the bases for Elvis Zarco with two outs.

Zarco battled to a full count before delivering a single to left to score Gallagher and Kramer, putting Petaluma ahead 3-1.

Tucson tied the game in the top of the fifth but Gallagher responded with a two-run double to reclaim the lead for the Leghorns. who padded their advantage in the sixth by scoring on a bases-loaded wild pitch, a two-run double by Andrakin and a bases-loaded walk to Kramer.

Petaluma plays the team from Honolulu, Hawaii, at 7 p.m. Saturday for a chance to advance to Sunday’s western region bracket final.

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