Liberty runs out of gas in American Legion Western Regional final

Charles Parnow hit a pair of two-run home runs to carry Petaluma (Calif.) to a 9-0 win over Liberty in the American Legion Western Regional championship game Monday at Surprise, Ariz.

Parnow, Petaluma’s No. 9 hitter, belted a two-run homer with two outs in the sixth inning and a two-run blast with one out in the eighth. He finished 3-for-5 with three runs and four RBIs.

Petaluma scored a run in the first inning and added two in the fifth before Parnow’s power took over. Robert Busse supplied two doubles and two RBIs.

Petaluma advanced to the American Legion World Series, which begins Friday in Shelby, N.C.

Liberty, which beat Tucson (Ariz.) 13-1 earlier Monday to advance to the final, had two early chances to score. The Patriots (33-5) were unable to capitalize after putting runners at first and second with one out in the first and first and second with no outs in the fourth.

“We had baserunners on,” coach Mike Eshragh said. “We just couldn’t get the big hits, the two-out hits to produce the runs. We came out in the first game ready to play, and the California team is older than we are. We just ran out of gas with our short roster.”

Liberty starter Dan Skelly, who pitched eight innings Thursday and three in relief Sunday, allowed four runs on nine hits in six innings before giving way to Nathan Bennett, the winner in Monday’s first game.

“Skelly and Bennett threw a ton of pitches,” Eshragh said. “Our pitchers gave us everything they had.”

Jesse Keiser, Preston Pavlica and Giovanni Battistoni each had two of the Patriots’ 10 hits.

In the first game, Keiser went 4-for-4 with three RBIs and four runs in a seven-inning victory over Tucson.

Michael Vargas was 3-for-5 with three RBIs, and Josh McCollum went 3-for-4 with four runs for Liberty, which scored three runs in the third inning, five in the fifth and three in the sixth.

“Our goal when we got here was to advance to North Carolina,” Eshragh said. “We came up a little short, but if you had told me at the start of the year we would be 33-5, I would have taken it.”