FAIRFIELD — If you were a member of Yolo Post 77’s baseball squad, Wednesday was a good day to lock the doors, take the phone off the hook, turn on the air conditioning and, well, maybe play a video game.
Unfortunately, the locals had to play Petaluma in the first round of the Area 1 American Legion playoffs and stumbled to a 12-1 setback at Yarbrough Field in Laurel Creek Park.
Yolo (17-16) took the field without stalwarts Thomas Galart, Trey Golston and Logan Linney. (Galart had summer school, Golston’s plane was delayed after a college visit and Linney had to work.)
It felt as though Post 77 was beaten before giving the game a chance.
Starting pitcher Andrew Fuentes — he of the two-hit shutout that secured Pioneer High the D-III section baseball title last month — was cuffed for six hits and nine runs in an 84-pitch, two-inning stint.
Fuentes, battling a sore right-leg hamstring, got no help from his fielders as Yolo committed eight errors in the game — three on the lefty’s watch, which led to three unearned runs.
Fuentes’ prep teammate Xavier Mireles came on in the third and was betrayed by four more Post 77 miscues in an outing that featured two innings and three runs (two earned).
“You lose your best hitters …,” Yolo coach Dave Ryan tried to explain, alluding to the absence of the three key players. “And Andrew didn’t have his legs. He was trying to strike guys out. His last three games he pitched smart. Today he was over-thinking. Trying to do everything on his own to make up for (a lack of firepower).”
Trailing 12-0 after four frames, another Pioneer hurler, Colton Gunter, restored order with three scoreless innings as the game ended after seven due to time constraints.
“Petaluma threw a guy who hit 88-89 mph. He was the best pitcher we’ve seen this year,” Ryan said. “It was one of those games. Your pitcher’s hurt, school and work for others. Summer baseball …”
Limited to five hits thanks to the Leghorns’ starter Eric Parnow, Post 77 finally broke through in the bottom of the seventh when Jesuit High shortstop Andy Snow singled with one out, swiped second, went to third on a throwing error and scored when Andrew Bolich of Davis High hit an RBI ground-out to second.
The Blue Devil trio of Bolich, Joe Honig and Jake Miille joined Ethan Chrisp (Esparto) in collecting the other four local hits.
Petaluma (23-10) catcher Bubba Thomason tripled, doubled and singled while scoring three times. Parno had a three-run double in the first and scored twice.
Notes: Post 77 meets Lodi in the losers’ bracket at 10 a.m. Thursday at Yarbrough Field. … Parnow was 4-1 with an 0.89 earned average at Casa Grande High (Petaluma). The junior left-hander drew representatives of four colleges, including Utah and Cal State Fullerton, to the first-round outing. One speed gun recorded 92 mph on a second-inning pitch. … Last year in this tournament, Yolo needed one win in two games against Petaluma to advance. Post 77 dropped both games and Petaluma went on to be the American Legion national runner-up. Earlier this year, the Leghorns beat Post 77 by 17-7 and 9-4 margins.