STOMPERS WALK OFF ON VALLEJO FOR SERIES SPLIT

 (James W. Toy III / Sonoma Stompers)

(James W. Toy III / Sonoma Stompers)

SONOMA, Calif. – The Sonoma Stompers welcomed the Vallejo Admirals to Arnold Field for the first time since the 2017 Pacific Association Championship game and left the weekend with a series split, winning on Sunday in exciting walk-off fashion.

Saturday night’s game started out strong for Sonoma, as the Stompers maintained a 3-1 lead after four inning. However, the Vallejo offense turned on the jets and didn’t look back and the Admirals scored 18 unanswered runs before each team scored one in the ninth for a 20-4 final.

Infielder Kam Stewart and outfielders Rob DeAngelis and Miles Williams combined to record the final five outs in what was the team’s largest loss of the season.

The team rebounded well on Sunday, playing the first regular season day game at home since 2015 and coming out on top, 11-9.

“Yesterday wasn’t a good day, we played sloppy yesterday,” manager Zack Pace said after Sunday’s win. “I’m really proud of our guys that they did that today and fought back and stayed in the game the whole time. These guys grinded out their at-bats and found a way to win the ball game.”

The Stompers once again started out ahead as a two-RBI single from Daniel Comstock broke a 1-1 tie in the second and they maintained a 3-2 advantage heading into the fifth.

Vallejo scored five runs in the fifth to take a lead, but Sonoma did not give up. They chipped back, scoring a run in the sixth on an Eddie Mora-Loera single, but the Admirals countered with a run of their own in the 8th.

A triple from Mora-Loera and single from Comstock added two runs in the bottom of the eighth, then Marcus Bradley doubled with two on and two outs in the ninth to send the game into extra innings.

International tiebreaker rule in effect, neither team could score in the 10th, but the Admirals scored in the 11th to lead 9-8.

With one out and two runners on in the bottom of the 11th, Kam Stewart played hero and crushed a three-run home run to the opposite field in right to win the game, 11-9.

“That’s a dream come true right there, hitting those,” Stewart said. “I knew I hit it well, I didn’t know if I had enough to get it out over in right. I just got a fastball middle-out, put a good swing on it and she left the yard for me.”

Picking up his first win of the season, Jacob Cox pitched the final three innings, giving up only one hit and an unearned run, while striking out four Vallejo hitters.

“Guy is a stud, he shut the door, gave us a chance to win,” Pace said. “He did an outstanding job, there’s no way we win that ball game without him.”

After an off day Monday, the Stompers welcome the Napa Silverados to Palooza Park at Arnold Field for two games, including Napa Night on Wednesday.

STOMPERS ROUTE CLIPPERS ON PRIDE NIGHT

 (James W. Toy III / Sonoma Stompers)

(James W. Toy III / Sonoma Stompers)

SONOMA, Calif. – The Sonoma Stompers held their fourth annual Pride Night Friday at Palooza Park at Arnold Field and for the fourth straight season, came out victorious, topping the Martinez Clippers 10-5.

Early on, the game stayed close with both teams scoring three runs over the first four innings. Three first inning hits for the Stompers, capped off with a two-RBI double from Kenny Meimerstorf tied the game after one inning, then a bases loaded walk from Rob DeAngelis tied the game again in the fourth.

The Stompers took control in the fifth and didn’t look back, scoring in each of their final four innings, seven total in the second half of the game.

Patient eyes all across the lineup resulted in nine walks in that timespan. Sonoma also sent two sacrifice flies to the outfield and Meimerstorf capped off the offense outpouring with a two-run homer in the eighth, his eighth home run of the season, increasing his lead in the Pacific Association.

Seven Stompers recorded a hit in the game, with seven scoring a run and six driving one in.

Dominic Topoozian made his fifth start of the season and picked up his fourth win in the process, striking out five over seven strong innings.

“It was hot today, but it’s fun to compete when it’s warm, especially when the bats are alive,” he said. “We’re confident in one another, fighting each pitch. Being able to win on these days is huge.”

Topoozian, who prides himself on his control and ability to throw strikes, issued a first pitch strike to 25 of the 31 hitters he faced, putting both himself and the team in a position to come out on top.

Despite Martinez scoring twice in the ninth, Brandon Erickson was able to escape further danger and finished off the ballgame in the ninth, securing the team’s fourth straight victory on Pride Night.

Looking ahead, the Vallejo Admirals will come to Sonoma for games Saturday and Sunday. Saturday’s game will feature a 6:05 p.m. start and is #SonomaStrong night, benefiting the Rebuild Northbay foundation. The team will be celebrating our resilient community and welcome a few local organizations actively working to alleviate the effect of the fires.

STOMPERS UNABLE TO COMPLETE COMEBACK, FALL IN SAN RAFAEL

 (James W. Toy III / Sonoma Stompers)

(James W. Toy III / Sonoma Stompers)

SAN RAFAEL, Calif. – Looking to win three consecutive games for the first time in 2018, the Sonoma Stompers traveled to Albert Park to take on the San Rafael Pacifics, but a big sixth inning propelled the Pacifics to a 4-2 win Thursday night.

The first half of the game saw a pitcher’s duel between San Rafael’s Fernando Baez and Sonoma’s Patrick Conroy, with neither team scoring after four innings.

The Stompers got on the board first in the top of the fifth when Eddie Mora-Loera drove in Kam Stewart but after San Rafael scored three in the bottom of the sixth, the Stompers were unable to climb back on top for the rest of the game.

Robert Maislin relieved Conroy during the bottom of the sixth, delivering 1 ⅔ innings of quality relief before giving way to Ryan Richardson to pitch the eighth.

Sonoma countered the Pacifics’ run in the bottom of the eighth with a run of their own in the top of the ninth on a Miles Williams RBI single that plated Daniel Comstock, but the comeback fell short as that was all they could muster in the ninth.

The team begins a five-game homestand Friday night against the Martinez Clippers with a 6:05 p.m. first pitch scheduled in the team’s annual Pride Night.

SONOMA SWEEPS VALLEJO BEHIND OFFENSIVE OUTPOURING

 (James W. Toy III / Sonoma Stompers)

(James W. Toy III / Sonoma Stompers)

VALLEJO, Calif. – After topping the Vallejo Admirals late Tuesday night, the Sonoma Stompers continued to roll Wednesday night, sweeping the series and winning 8-3.

Once again, the scoring began early as Daniel Comstock crushed a two-run home run in the first inning to give Sonoma a 2-0 lead. After Vallejo tied the game up in the bottom half, Daniel Baptista broke the tie in the third inning with a three-run homer of his own to bring the lead to 5-2.

A solo home run from Kenny Meimerstorf in the fifth and two more runs in the sixth gave the Stompers eight runs in the game and a comfortable lead for the remainder of the evening.

“I worked on a couple of things during BP and tried to translate it to the game,” Meimerstorf said. “I have a plan every time I come into the box and I try to execute that plan and I don’t waver from it.”

Ethan Gibbons started for the Stompers and threw six strong innings, striking out five Admiral hitters to pick up his third straight win.

Ryan Richardson made his return to Sonoma after playing overseas in Japan, pitching a 1-2-3 eighth inning with two strikeouts.

PIAGNO AND WHITMORE NAMED TO TEAM USA

Kelsie Stacy 2.jpg

SONOMA, Calif. – After a successful week at the USA Baseball Women's National Team Trials in Cary, North Carolina, former Sonoma Stompers players Stacy Piagno and Kelsie Whitmore were named two of the 20 players to the 2018 Women’s National Team roster.

Piagno and Whitmore became the first female teammates on a men’s professional baseball team since the 1950’s when the Stompers signed them in 2016. Piagno went on to become just the third woman to win a game in such a league last season, when she pitched seven one-run innings against the Pittsburg Diamonds.

Whitmore has been on the Team USA roster since 2014, while 2018 will be Piagno’s sixth year on the roster.

“I’m most looking forward to playing against Japan,” Piagno said. “The past few cups, we’ve come in Silver next to Japan, we’re all kind of waiting to get back on the field and prove ourselves. I’m looking forward to the opportunity to win a gold medal.”

Piagno pitched in one game at the Women’s National Team Trials, starting and winning the second game of the series for the Stars team.

Whitmore saw action in 15 games as a Stomper, taking 23 at-bats and scoring two runs.

“Kelsie the most selfless player that I've ever played on a team with. She's always wanting to learn,” Team USA teammate and Arizona State softball player Jade Gortarez said. “That's one of the reasons she enjoyed her time in Sonoma, having the opportunity to learn the style of professional play. She's really one of the better players at making adjustments in-game."

In four at-bats in the Trials series, Whitmore went 3-4 with a double and RBI, also walking once in the three games. She also took the hill twice, throwing two innings and striking out two batters as a member of the Stars team.

Whitmore and Piagno will return to the National Training Complex in North Carolina August 16 to practice in anticipation of the VIII WBSC Women's Baseball World Cup, August 22 to 31 in Viera, Florida.

“It’s really crazy how much women’s baseball has grown, just even in the past couple of years,” Piagno said. “With me and Kelsie coming out to Sonoma, I think that got the word out and that opened a lot of doors some girls. MLB and USA Baseball have been hosting a lot of developmental series for younger girls and we’re starting to create opportunities for them to play.”

Since she last suited up for the Stompers in 2018, Piagno coached in the Trailblazer Series with MLB and USA Baseball.

"It's cool because you see other girls who are just like you and create lifelong friends from that,” Piagno said. “And it's cool to share your life with them. Everybody has a little bit of a different story, but in the end they're kind of all the same.”

“To have the opportunity they did to play in Sonoma, I think it was great for them,” Gortarez said. "Kelsie and Stacy show what girls can do, that if you're good enough, you can play at that level.”

STOMPERS SCORE IN 9TH TO BEAT DEFENDING CHAMPION ADMIRALS

 (James W. Toy III / Sonoma Stompers)

(James W. Toy III / Sonoma Stompers)

VALLEJO, Calif. – Facing the Vallejo Admirals for the first time since the Pacific Association Championship game in 2017, the Sonoma Stompers topped the Admirals 5-4, coming from behind to win the game in the ninth inning.

Sonoma jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first as Daniel Comstock and Kenny Meimerstorf each drove in a run, Marcus Bradley and Daniel Baptista respectively.

After soon falling behind, the Stompers inched back, scoring runs in each the fifth and sixth innings.

In the fifth, Bradley singled and stole one of Sonoma’s four bases in the fifth inning, the scored when Comstock reached on an error. Kenny Meimerstorf singled in the fifth and was brought home by Rob DeAngelis with a two-out single that tied the game at four runs.

The contest stayed tied until the ninth when Bradley contributed once again, singling in Rayson Romero to give the Stompers a 5-4 lead.

Bradley and Romero combined to go 5-8 in the game, scoring three of Sonoma’s five runs on the night.

Vallejo was unable to score after the fourth inning in large part because of reliever Vijay Patel. The first year Stomper walked the first batter he faced when taking over for Juan Espinosa in the fifth inning, then retired the next 12 Admirals he faced, striking out a single-game best six over his outing.

“First pitch strikes allowed me to get ahead and and let me dictate the AB from there,” Patel said. “Today felt really good, I made a lot of small adjustments, which helped me. Coming out here and competing felt really good.”

With the lead secure heading to the bottom of the ninth, Jacob Cox entered the game and locked down his league-leading seventh save of the season, striking out two in his perfect inning.

The Stompers and Admirals square off against Wednesday evening once again in Vallejo, with first pitch slated for 6:30 p.m.

TOPOOZIAN DAZZLES AS STOMPERS BEAT J.P. HOWELL AND PACIFICS

 (James W. Toy III / Sonoma Stompers)

(James W. Toy III / Sonoma Stompers)

SAN RAFAEL, Calif. – After falling to the Martinez Clippers Friday night, the Sonoma Stompers rebounded quickly, scoring first against the San Rafael Pacifics and holding the lead through the rest of the game in their 5-3 victory Saturday evening.

In his fourth start of 2018, Dominic Topoozian continued his successful season, throwing seven shutout innings to go along with seven strikeouts. Topoozian only allowed five hits and just one walk in his league-leading third win of the season.

“Today, my changeup really stood out for me, keeping the hitters off balance,” he said. “I’ve always been a good command guy, my thing is first pitch strikes, get the leadoff man out and have 15 pitches or less in an inning and as long as I’m doing those three things, the day is going to go by quick.”

Topoozian averaged 14 pitches an inning over his outing and in a stretch from the second to sixth innings, retired 13 straight Pacifics hitters. The right-hander was also backed with early run support when the Stompers scored four runs in the third inning.

Facing former Major League veteran J.P. Howell for the second time in eight days, Sonoma erupted for four hits in the inning, with Kenny Meimerstorf’s second grand slam in a week breaking what was at the time a 0-0 tie. For the Stompers left fielder, it was his second hit of the season off of Howell.

“I tried to just put a good swing on it and it went out, I was super pumped,” Meimerstof said. “It feels pretty cool to have a couple of hits off of an ex-big leaguer.”

Daniel Baptista’s fifth-inning solo home run, his second of the season the lead to a 5-0 score that stuck until the ninth inning.

D.J. Sharabi pitched a scoreless eighth inning, then after Vijay Patel allowed three runs in the bottom of the ninth, Jacob Cox induced a ground ball for the final out to earn his sixth save of the season.

The Stompers travel to Pittsburg Sunday afternoon for a 1:00 p.m. Father’s Day game against the Diamonds.

STOMPERS FALL TO CLIPPERS TO SPLIT SERIES

 (James W. Toy III / Sonoma Stompers)

(James W. Toy III / Sonoma Stompers)

SONOMA, Calif.– Looking to win three games in a row for the first time in 2018, the Sonoma Stompers welcomed the Martinez Clippers back for the second game of a two-game series, but could not complete the sweep as they fell 10-5.

The Sonoma offense erupted early as four hits and two walks produced four runs in the second. Kenny Meimerstorf and Miles Williams both doubled, then Mitchell Ho and Daniel Baptista singled. Kam Stewart also drew one of his three walks on the night with the bases loaded to plate a run.

Mora-Loera hit his second home run of the season in the ninth, but down by five runs, the lead was too much to climb back from.

Patrick Conroy allowed just one run through his first three innings of work but a big fourth inning from the Clippers propelled their offense through the rest of the night.

The Stompers embark on a five game road trip Saturday in San Rafael, then play in Pittsburg Sunday before their off day Monday.

STOMPERS TOP CLIPPERS FOR BACK-TO-BACK WINs

 (James W. Toy III / Sonoma Stompers)

(James W. Toy III / Sonoma Stompers)

SSONOMA, Calif. – Riding the success of a come-from-behind victory on Wednesday, the Sonoma Stompers welcomed the Martinez Clippers into Palooza Park at Arnold Field Thursday evening for the third meeting between the two teams in 2018. Sonoma picked up a 4-2 victory, the team's eighth win of the season and second in as many days.

After taking the lead late on Wednesday, the Stompers jumped out early Thursday, scoring two runs in the first inning on the power of two hits, including a double from Kam Stewart.

While the Clippers scored in the fourth and sixth, Sonoma countered in the fifth and seventh. With two outs in the fifth, Kenny Meimerstorf crushed his fifth home run of the season to stretch the lead to 3-1. After another Stewart double in the seventh, Daniel Comstock singled him in to give the Stompers a 4-2 lead that held for the remainder of the ballgame.

Ethan Gibbons made his third start of the season, his second straight of at least seven innings. Manager Zack Pace then called upon Robert Maislin and Jacob Cox for the second straight night each as the two helped finish off the Clippers.

“It’s fun to go out there and do my job,” Cox said. “It’s fun because [the closer role] is high-risk, high-reward. The team plays their heart out for eight innings, I don’t want to ruin that chance for the win so I do it for them. If you think about doing it for other people, that’s when you’re allowed to put the team on your back and do it for them, not for yourself.”

One of those that Cox played for was Michael Gold, the son of Stompers partner Robin Gold, branch manager at Sonoma’s Union Bank. Michael was in the starting lineup as the designated hitter, batting eighth. With one out in the second, he ripped a ground ball up the middle for a single in his first professional at-bat, retiring with a perfect 1.000 batting average.

The Stompers host the Clippers again Friday night for JDRF Night. First pitch is scheduled for 6:05 p.m.

STOMPERS COME FROM BEHIND TO TOP PACIFICS

 (James W. Toy III / Sonoma Stompers)

(James W. Toy III / Sonoma Stompers)

SONOMA, Calif.– After two losses in four days to the San Rafael Pacifics, the Sonoma Stompers rebounded Wednesday night, coming from behind twice to claim a 3-2 victory.

Juan Espinosa started the game for the Stompers and had his best outing of the season, throwing six innings of one-run ball, while giving up just five hits and striking out six.

Once his outing was complete, Stompers manager Zack Pace turned to Robert Maislin, D.J. Sharabi and Jacob Cox to record the final nine outs of the game, totaling three strikeouts.

The Pacifics struck first in the fourth inning, taking a 1-0 lead that held until the bottom of the sixth when Miles Williams crushed his fifth home run of the season to tie the game at one.

San Rafael answered back in the seventh to take a 2-1 lead, but their lead did not last long. With two outs and a runner on, Kam Stewart blasted a home run deep to left field to give the Stompers a 3-2 lead.

For Stewart, it was his third hit of the day and first homer of the season.

“I was looking for a pitch middle in and I gave it a ride,” Stewart said. “After any big blast like that late in the game, that gives your team the lead, it definitely boosts the confidence and the morale of the club, it gives our pitchers more confidence too, knowing they’re going out there with a lead.”

After Sharabi retired San Rafael in the eighth, Cox set down the Pacifics easily in the ninth, en route to his league-leading fourth save of the year.

The Stompers welcome the Martinez Clippers into town next, with a two-game series starting Thursday. First pitch at Palooza Park at Arnold Field will be 6:05 p.m. Thursday and Friday.