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Head coach Mike Firenzi is finding out early on what kind of team he has at Redwood High this season. The Giants, despite their youth, are carving a path through some of the MCAL’s top tier baseball teams to start this year’s league schedule.
Redwood completed a crucial two-game sweep of rival Tam on Friday with a 5-1 victory in Mill Valley, behind a complete-game effort from junior pitcher Rex Solle, who held the Red-tailed Hawks to just six hits.
“Our pitcher had a dominant arm today,” Firenzi said of Solle. “I felt confident in our pitching game going into this game. … In baseball, pitching makes the world go around.”
Pitching has been solid for the Giants (8-1, 4-0 MCAL), who opened the league season with sweeps of San Marin and Tam. The Giants’ next test comes against San Rafael next week.
“We beat two of the top teams in the league already this year,” Firenzi said. “I’d be happy if we were 2-2 at this point. The kids are playing well defensively and they’re getting just enough hits to get runs on the board.”
Firenzi, who is now just two games shy of his 500th career win, said “It’s a milestone. It just means I’ve been coaching a long time.”
Tam head coach Nathan Bernstein remained positive after the game, noting that Redwood scored only two earned runs. Without some crucial errors, the game would have been much closer.
“I’m proud of our guys,” Bernstein said. “They played a tough two games against Redwood, but they didn’t get rattled. We had a couple bad breaks. … Redwood executed when they had the chance. They have strong bats.”
Tam (4-6, 4-2) got on the board first on Friday, after Solle gave up back-to-back hits and hit the next batter to load the bases. Kaiden Dossa scored from third on a sacrifice fly by senior Carson Frame. Solle, who struck out 11 batters and walked none, bore down to ring up the next two batters and end the inning.
Dossa and Tyler Buxton each finished with two hits, while Miles Gensler and Colin Lam each had one hit for Tam.
The Giants took advantage of three Tam errors, beginning in the top of the third inning. Theo Trono led off the inning with a single off Tam starter Eli Solem, then advanced to second on an errant throw. Solle laid down a short grounder and made it safely to first base when the throw hit him in the back. The error allowed Trono to score the tying run, then Solle later scored the winning run from second on a single by senior Rory Minty. With the bases loaded, Minty scored on a long-hit sacrifice fly to give the Giants a 3-1 lead.
The Giants added a pair of insurance runs in the top of the seventh, with an RBI single from sophomore Tyler Sofnas to score pinch runner Jack Corvi. Sofnas worked his way around the basepaths with a stolen base, followed by a single from junior Gavin Soper and a fielder’s choice that put senior Rory Coughlan on first.
Trono and Sofnas each tallied two hits and reached base three times. The Giants needed just five hits to keep the momentum rolling in their favor.
“It’s amazing to think that just a couple of years ago some of these kids were in Little League,” Firenzi said. “This is the youngest team I’ve ever coached. Coming into this season, I knew we had a good team, but I figured we’d be playing our best ball in April.”
If that’s the case, then the Giants could be ahead of the game.
Meanwhile, the Red-tailed Hawks are ready to move on from this loss as they entertain non-league foe Rancho Cotate on Saturday before opening an MCAL home-and-home series with Terra Linda on Tuesday.
“We’re goldfish. We have short memories,” Bernstein said. “We put this loss behind us and look forward to the next game.”
Bernstein expects this won’t be the last meeting between the two rivals, looking ahead to a possible playoff matchup.
“I love playing Redwood,” Bernstein said. “To have games like this with this intensity early in the year is exciting. … We ‘ll play them again. Somehow we always seem to get matched up against each other.”
Prep baseball: Redwood win moves coach closer to milestone
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