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Leghorns win three of five in Chico

Published: Thursday, June 20, 2013 at 3:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, June 19, 2013 at 4:03 p.m.

The Petaluma Leghorns came out swinging early and often to start the annual Chico Father’s Day tournament, but two one-run losses would break their stride, and they ended the tournament with a 3-2 record.

Facing the host team Chico Nuts, Petaluma proved that home field is not always an advantage. With the mercy rule in place, the Leghorns won,10-0, in a shortened five-inning game.

Highlighting the win were a pair of back-to-back home runs hit by Casa Grande alums, Anthony Bender and Weston Bryan in the fourth inning. Bender, the Leghorns’ three-hole hitter, smashed a two-run blast to knock in Ryan Huag. Up next, Bryan showed why he is the cleanup hitter, hitting a home run of his own.

The Leghorns were full of multi-hit performances.

Bender knocked in four runs and added another hit. Chase Stafford was a spark from the leadoff spot, putting together a three-for-four game and scoring a run. Ryan Walsh was a perfect three-for-three, coming up a home run short of the cycle while knocking in two runs and scoring a run. Dom Deville and Huag each went two-for-three and Deville knocked in a run while Huag scored once.

Brandon Hagerla threw all five innings with pinpoint control.

Petaluma’s next opponent was the Spanish Springs Bandits. Once again, the Leghorns bats were ready to go.

The Leghorns defeated the Bandits, 6-2. Bender, Blake Patrick and Stafford each put together two-for-four games with a double each. Bender knocked in two runs, Patrick scored twice and Stafford scored a run.

This time, Walsh was only nearly perfect, going three-for-four with a run scored. Nick Marks pitched the first six innings, with Bender closing the last inning.

After scoring 16 runs in two games, the Leghorns turned to Petaluma High’s ace, Scott Hilbert.

To stay perfect in the tournament, Hilbert gave the Leghorns a complete-game, one hit shutout performance, to lead the team to a, 3-0, win over the Sonoma Stack. Both his fastball and off-speed left the Stack clueless at the plate.

In this low-scoring affair, Patrick had the lone multi-hit game. He went two-for-three and both knocked a run in and scored a run. Bender and Walsh also continued hitting, smacking a run-scoring double each.

After going perfect in the first three games, Petaluma finally met its match in a nail-biting matchup against the Walla Walla Bears, losing 5-4. Bender, Stafford and Walsh once again tried to lift the Leghorns with their bats. The trio had two hits each.

The Leghorns first got on the scoreboard in the third inning, with a two-run double by Bender, knocking in Stafford and Charlie Parnow. Stafford led off the fifth inning with power from the top of the lineup, hitting a solo shot to give the Leghorns their third run. The last run of the game for Petaluma was a double by Hilbert, knocking in Deville.

For the Leghorns, another wild one-run game concluded their time in Chico with another defeat.

Scoring 11 runs and smacking the ball all over the yard, usually ends with a win. Despite an offensive marathon, Petaluma lost to Yollo 12-11.

Stafford once again provided power to start up the Leghorns’ offense, hitting a grand slam in the fourth inning. The big fly started an offensive barrage, with the Leghorns scoring a combined nine runs in the fourth and fifth innings.

Providing surprising power was Hilbert, who usually makes his mark on the mound. Hilbert provided the Leghorns with four runs batted in, and smacked in their last two runs of the game with a home run in the seventh.

Making the All-Tournament team were: Bender, Stafford and Walsh. Stafford and Walsh each went 10-for-17, hitting .588. Stafford added two home runs. Bender was eight-for-19 at the plate, with eight runs batted in, four doubles and a homer.

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