MILL VALLEY — It was a great run.
But in the end, the Davis American 10-11-year-old All-Stars met their match in the form of Petaluma National. The locals were eliminated from Little League Section 1 tournament play, 14-1, on Monday at Strawberry Field.
“It was a really, really great experience … especially for the kids,” said Davis skipper Jessie Catacutan, who had many of these same players on last year’s 9-10 district championship team.
“We were facing the best of the best and this year we won a game in the section. That’s something to be really proud of. These kids are already winners … they played with dignity and class. Our guys played hard.”
The 2013 District 64 champions were coming off of a heart-stopping 12-11 elimination-game decision over Sonoma on Sunday — but the rematch with Petaluma went pretty much the way the Friday game between the two teams went (an 11-1 DALL setback).
On Monday, a Mikey Finerty single opened the game for Davis.
He eventually tallied on Iain Smith’s infield single and the score stayed 1-0 until Petaluma tallied three times in the third inning. Another run in fourth put the advancing Nationals in control, but it was Ryan Gallagher’s grand slam in a 10-run Petaluma fifth that ended the game on a 10-run-differential ruling.
Ironically, it was Gallagher who allowed a walk-off slam to Mill Valley in PNLL’s weekend loss, Catacutan told The Enterprise.
But back in the fourth — trailing only 4-1 — DALL was in position to challenge.
With a runner at first, Finerty smashed a deep drive to right. The Petaluma fielder made a fine running catch.
Had it not been caught, Davis would have been in business at 4-2, Finerty standing at least on second base and the 2-3-4 spots in the order coming up. On this night, it wasn’t meant to be.
In the Sunday win, DALL found itself trailing, 11-5, in the bottom of the fourth inning.
“Before we batted … I asked the kids to score a touchdown and an extra point,” Catacutan said with a chuckle. “We needed seven runs to win.”
The kids were paying attention …
Davis scored six times in the fourth: Smith’s two-run double tying things at 11-11. Smith was 3-for-4 with a pair of two-baggers, three RBIs and two runs scored.
Then the Americans added the much-needed “extra point” in the fifth, thanks to Josh Catacutan driving home Ethan Ramos.
With the younger Catacutan pitching scoreless baseball over the last 2 1/3 frames, Sonoma was eliminated.
Ramos went 3-for-4 with two RBIs and two runs scored. Finerty was 2-for-3 with three runs scored and Jack Walsh was 3-for-4 with two runs batted in and two more scored.
Cade Sanders’ hit drove in a run and the slugger also scored twice.
Defensively, DALL sparkled Sunday …
Kooper Kijanka made two diving plays in the final inning — one keeping the lead-off batter off base. These gems came after Roland Watts had earlier snagged a bases-loaded liner to prevent further Sonoma damage.
Finerty and Jack Carsel also were solid afield.
Petaluma and South Oakland meet Tuesday as Mill Valley sits as the only unbeaten tournament team.