STOMPERS BRING BACK JACKSON, JR. AND CARRANZA FOR 2017

The two Stompers veterans are returning as player-coaches for their fourth season.

Sonoma, Calif.--The Sonoma Stompers Professional Baseball Club, presented by Virginia Dare Winery, welcome back two very familiar faces to help defend their 2016 title in their fourth season. Designated hitter Joel Carranza and pitcher Mike Jackson Jr. have both agreed to terms and will join the Stompers for their forth seasons with the club as player-coaches.  Both players have been a part of the Stompers since the team’s inaugural season, and were contributors on the 2016 Pacific Association Champion squad.

Carranza had one of the best individual seasons in franchise history in 2016. The Pembroke Pines, Florida native headlined a dominate offensive attack on his way to his first Most Valuable Player Award in the Pacific Association. He led the league in batting average at .316, and was second in home runs with 15. It was a long time coming for Carranza who is the franchise leader in home runs with 44 in three seasons.

Carranza spent part of the 2015, and 2016 season with the Trois-Rivieres Aigles of the Canadian-American Association before returning to Sonoma on Jun 8, 2016. Carranza is looking forward to once again calling Sonoma home as the Stompers defend their title.

“Sonoma has always felt like a home away from home to me,” Carranza said. “Since day one everyone in town and the Sonoma Stompers organization has supported me and made me feel like family. With such a great support system between the front office, my host family and all the fans, it makes coming back to Sonoma an easy decision. I'm looking forward to the season, seeing the team again and doing everything I can to help this organization win another championship.”

The veteran right-hander Jackson Jr. had one of the best seasons of his professional career in his third season in Sonoma as the ace of the pitching staff. The Pittsburgh product lead the Pacific Association in wins (8-2) and was second in ERA at 2.84. Jackson Jr. had one of the most dominant stretches of any pitchers in the league in the second half of last season.

Jackson Jr. dominated the league going 5-0 with a 1.49 ERA in his last five starts of the season. Jackson Jr. finished the season with the Long Island Ducks of the Atlantic League after being called up on August 15. Despite missing the last few weeks of the regular season, Jackson Jr. still finished second in the Pitcher of the Year voting behind San Rafael’s Patrick Conroy. The Sonoma fan favorite will return to mound in Sonoma with hopes of building upon what he accomplished last season with the club.

Team President and General Manager Theo Fightmaster was thrilled to bring back two important pieces of the 2016 team back to Sonoma.

"It's hard to describe just how important these guys are to our organization," Fightmaster said. "They've both been here since Day One. They're integral to what we've accomplished, and what we hope to accomplish this season."

Sonoma begin its season on Jun. 2 against the Pittsburg Diamonds. Season Tickets for the upcoming 2017 season at People’s Home Equity Ballpark at Arnold Field are available now on stompersbaseball.com. The Stompers’ home opener is on Jun. 13 against the Vallejo Admirals.

Full Season tickets, mini-plans and partial season tickets are on sale on our website, www.stompersbaseball.com, or at the Stompers Fan Shop, located at 234 West Napa Street in Sonoma. Group events and Group Tickets are also available now. Please email jen@stompersbaseball.com, or call 707.938.7277 for questions and more information.

STOMPERS ADD TO FRONT OFFICE WITH NEW ASSISTANT GENERAL MANAGER, JEN RAMOS

Northern California Native Brings Robust Skill set to Stompers Organization

Sonoma, Calif. – Jen Ramos, accomplished Digital Journalist with a Master’s of Science in Journalism from the University of Southern California who worked for the NHL’s San Jose Sharks, has been named the new Assistant General Manager of the Stompers Professional Baseball Club, team president Theo Fightmaster announced on Monday.

According to Fightmaster, the first move since the team’s recent acquisition by Jon Sebastiani, Ramos’ addition, will add a new dimension to the organization.

“Jen comes to us highly regarded among her peers, and greatly respected by her references, several of whom I know and trust,” Fightmaster said. “She brings a wide array of skills, a positive mix of experiences – both professional and academically – and she’s seen the game from different angles; be it as a fan, a writer and an analyst.”

Ramos will be tasked with many responsibilities, among them serving as the director of ticketing and fan experience, and she will have a hand in the club’s promotions and media relations. In addition to helping build a team that can defend the Stompers’ 2016 Pacific Association Championship, Ramos will work improve the business operations too.

“Jen’s worked in small businesses, and she’s worked with the Sharks,” Fightmaster said. “She’s spent a lot of time writing about and attending minor-league baseball games. I’ve been very impressed by her understanding of not only who the Stompers are, but what we’re striving to become.”

"I'm excited to serve as the new Assistant General Manager for the Stompers and bring my expertise to the team," Ramos sad. "With a diverse background in numerous fields, I feel like I can help the team develop from its current success into something even bigger." 

Ramos graduated from the University of Southern California in 2016, with a master’s of science in journalism, where she was part of Lambda Pi Eta, the communications and journalism honors society. She’s a member of the Association for Women in Sports Media, the Society of American Baseball Researcher and the Internet Baseball Writers Association of America.

ABOUT THE STOMPERS

Founded in 2014, the Sonoma Stompers have garnered local and national support by providing a fun, community atmosphere that is pitch perfect. On the national level, the Stompers have received attention for the team’s 2016 homerun additions of female athletes Kelsie Whitmore, whose Stompers memorabilia was recently enshrined into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, and Stacy Piagno. These additions made the Stompers the first co-ed professional baseball team since the 1950’s to have more than one female player on the roster simultaneously.

The Sonoma Stompers play ball at Peoples Home Equity Ballpark at Arnold Field, located at 234 W. Napa Street, Sonoma, CA 95476. The 1,400-seat stadium is in the heart of Sonoma, just off the historic plaza. The Stompers hit the field for the 2017 season beginning in May. For more information on the Sonoma Stompers, please visit www.stompersbaseball.com.

KRAVE JERKY & SONOMA BRANDS FOUNDER JON SEBASTIANI ACQUIRES SONOMA STOMPERS BASEBALL ORGANIZATION

Kelsey Minigan and Jon Sebastiani pose in their new Stompers Baseball caps in front of the Sonoma Brands office on East Napa Street in downtown Sonoma, Calif. Photo courtesy Robbi Pengelly/Sonoma Index-Tribune.

Kelsey Minigan and Jon Sebastiani pose in their new Stompers Baseball caps in front of the Sonoma Brands office on East Napa Street in downtown Sonoma, Calif. Photo courtesy Robbi Pengelly/Sonoma Index-Tribune.

Sonoma-Based Entrepreneur to Give Back to Community Through Local Baseball Team

Sonoma, Calif. – Jon Sebastiani, accomplished entrepreneur and Founder of KRAVE Jerky and Sonoma Brands (ZÜPA NOMA, SmashMallow, DANG Foods), announces today the acquisition of the Sonoma Stompers Professional Baseball Club. The Sonoma Stompers play as a member of the Pacific Association Professional Baseball Clubs and were 2016 Pacific Association Champions. Sebastiani’s latest entrepreneurial endeavor reaffirms his commitment to the Sonoma region and the preservation of the area’s strong tourism, family values and traditions.

“I am very proud to call Sonoma my hometown; a region so rich is culture and tradition,” said Jon Sebastiani. “I am thrilled to continue the growth of the Sonoma Stompers organization by elevating fan experiences and making the club an even larger part of the fabric of our community.”

Read the exclusive story in the Sonoma Index-Tribune.

Founded in 2014, the Sonoma Stompers have garnered local and national support by providing a fun, community atmosphere that is pitch perfect. On the national level, the Stompers have received attention for the team’s 2016 homerun additions of female athletes Kelsie Whitmore, whose Stompers memorabilia was recently enshrined into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, and Stacy Piagno. These additions made the Stompers the first co-ed professional baseball team since the 1950’s to have more than one female player on the roster simultaneously.

"I'm excited to see the Stompers remain under local ownership, and I look forward to working together to continue to promote women in baseball," says Francis Ford Coppola, whose Virginia Dare Winery is a premier sponsor of the Sonoma Stompers.  It was Francis Coppola who originally approached the Stompers and brought forth the effort to promote the recruitment, development and advancement of women in baseball. 

"I'm very much looking forward to continuing this amazing journey with the Stompers,” said Theo Fightmaster, General Manager of the Sonoma Stompers.  “We've been part of historic moments in baseball, we've sent players to major league organizations and we’ve won a lot of games. I'm grateful for everything Eric and Lani Gullotta, and Derek Rampone did to help usher in this great era of Stompers Baseball, and I'm excited to begin working with Jon in writing the next chapter of baseball in Sonoma." 

The Sonoma Stompers play ball at Peoples Home Equity Ballpark at Arnold Field, located at 234 W. Napa Street, Sonoma, CA 95476. The 1,400-seat stadium is in the heart of Sonoma, just off the historic plaza. The Stompers hit the field for the 2017 season beginning in May. For more information on the Sonoma Stompers, please visit www.stompersbaseball.com.

About Jon Sebastiani
Jon Sebastiani is a graduate of Santa Clara University with a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and holds a dual MBA from the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley and Columbia University. His expertise in establishing and growing successful food brands has been cultivated through years of managing operations in previous positions, as managing partner of Wines.com, President of the premier California winery destination Viansa Winery, and most recently leading the jerky renaissance as Founder of KRAVE Jerky. In 2016, following the acquisition of KRAVE Jerky by The Hershey Company, Sebastiani launched Sonoma Brands. Sonoma Brands is a one-of-a-kind consumer products incubator and venture fund, set to revitalize stagnant industry categories with innovation. Sonoma Brands has since invested in Dang Foods and has launched two brands under its incubator umbrella; ZÜPA NOMA and SmashMallow. For more information on Jon and Sonoma Brands, please visit www.sonomabrands.com. 

About Virginia Dare Winery
Virginia Dare Winery, American wines since 1835, pays tribute to America’s winegrowing heritage. The existence of the 400-year-old scuppernong “Mother Vine,” a variety of muscadine, growing on Roanoke Island, North Carolina is intertwined with the story of one of the first English settlements in the New World, which later mysteriously disappeared without a trace, leaving nothing but a spellbinding story of mythical and mysterious characters – each of which grace the labels of our wines. Crafted with grapes from the finest viticulture regions in California, our wines are rich with characteristics befitting an American legend: Pure. Natural. Distinctive. Learn more by visiting Virginia Dare Winery located at 22281 Chianti Road, Geyserville, CA 95441.

Happy Holidays From The Stompers Baseball Club

There were a lot of reasons to celebrate for the Stompers in 2016 as the Stompers won the first, and second half pennants to clinch their first ever Pacific Association Championship James Toy III/Sonoma Stompers

There were a lot of reasons to celebrate for the Stompers in 2016 as the Stompers won the first, and second half pennants to clinch their first ever Pacific Association Championship

James Toy III/Sonoma Stompers

This Holiday Season,the Sonoma Stompers Professional Baseball Club is grateful for each and every one of our fans and the support they showed us all year long.

2016 saw us bring our first championship to Sonoma. We helped reintroduce the game of baseball to women and girls all over the country, thanks to Kelsie WhitmoreStacy PiagnoAnna Kimbrell, and of course with the vision and support of Francis Ford Coppola and his new venture, Virginia Dare Winery in Geyserville, Calif.   

Between the lines, we saw an Original Stomper, Joel Carranza, named the Pacific Association's 2016 MVP -- an honor that was truly well deserved. Our manager, Takashi Miyoshi, was named the league's Manager of the Year, and countless other players, coaches, and front office members made this year a truly rewarding success for our entire organization and its fans. 

From the bottom of our hearts, thank you. We hope you are there for whatever exciting things come next.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holiday, and have a fantastic New Year, 

Theo Fightmaster -- GM

Time is quickly running out to purchase your early bird season ticket packages for the 2017 season. The Early bird season ticket sale ends on December 31 so buy your tickets today. James Toy III/Sonoma Stomper

Time is quickly running out to purchase your early bird season ticket packages for the 2017 season. The Early bird season ticket sale ends on December 31 so buy your tickets today.

James Toy III/Sonoma Stomper

This holiday season, don't miss your oppotunity to purchase season tickets to see the 2016 Pacific Association Champion Sonoma Stompers Professional Baseball Club. Our early bird prices will save $100 or more on ticket packages. Tickets are available in all five sections of the park and start at $379 dollars per seat for every home game.

Tickets are selling fast, and the best seats are awarded on a first come, first serve basis. The sale will only last until December 31 so do not wait. Hit a home run this holiday season and give the gift of heart-pounding professional baseball!


WEREWOCOMOCO CLUB - $699 per seat

FRONT ROW PREMIUM RESERVED - $549 per seat

HOME PLATE PREMIUM RESERVED - $499 per seat

HOME PLATE RESERVED - $449 per seat

Save on all Stompers alternate hats this holiday season. All alternate hats will be 35% off for a limited time. These hats are perfect stocking stuffers for all the Stompers fans in the Family.

Save on all Stompers alternate hats this holiday season. All alternate hats will be 35% off for a limited time. These hats are perfect stocking stuffers for all the Stompers fans in the Family.

This Holiday Season, Take your pick from a wide variety of Stompers hats, and save for a limited time! 

All Stompers alternate hats will be 35% off at The Fan Shop, and when you purchase them online.

When shopping online use Promocode 'Tipofthecap' to receive the special discount price. 

To see the selection of hat that we have to offer CLICK HERE.

For more information about the Stompers visit us at 234 West Napa Street in downtown Sonoma, or give us a call at 707.938.7277.

 

Stompers Support Sonoma Comunity During Rawhide's Holiday Roundup

The Sonoma Stompers are giving back to the community with Rawhide's Holiday Roundup, a toy and sports equipment drive benefiting our community. All items donated will benefit local youth. Danielle Joy/Sonoma Stompers

The Sonoma Stompers are giving back to the community with Rawhide's Holiday Roundup, a toy and sports equipment drive benefiting our community. All items donated will benefit local youth.

Danielle Joy/Sonoma Stompers

Sonoma Stompers

This holiday season, The Sonoma Stompers Professional Baseball Club is debuting Rawhide's Holiday Roundup, a holiday drive to support Sonoma Valley youth.

For the second year in a row, the Stompers are partnering with Sonoma Raceway as a donation center for its 14th Annual High Speed Toy Drive.

Toys collected during the toy drive, which runs through Tuesday, Dec. 6, will be distributed to more than 250 children at the raceway's annual Race to the Holidays Christmas Party on Saturday, Dec. 10. All children are pre-registered for the party through one of six Sonoma Valley non-profit youth organizations. New, unwrapped toys and gifts for children from newborns to 12 years old are needed.

As part of Rawhide's Holiday Roundup, the Stompers are also asking fans to help give the gift of sports to deserving Sonoma Valley Youth. Fans can bring any
pre-owned and usable sports equipment to the Stompers Fan Shop weekdays between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. until Dec. 23. 

All fans that donate can register to win an autographed baseball, signed by the 2016 Pacific Association Champion Stompers! This ball includes the autograph of all three female players who suited up with the Stompers, Kelsie Whitmore, Stacy Piagno and Anna Kimbrell, as well as 2016 Pacific Association Manager of the Year, Takashi Miyoshi and league MVP Joel Carranza.
Fans will also receive a gift from the Stompers just for donating toys or equipment before Dec. 23.

Visit us at 234 West Napa Street, in Downtown Sonoma, call 707.938.7277 for more info, or online at www.Stompersbaseball.com.

Carranza Named League's Most Valuable Player

It was announced Monday that Joel Carranza was chosen by managers, general managers, and broadcasters from the Pacific Association as the league's most valuable player. James Toy III/Sonoma Stompers

It was announced Monday that Joel Carranza was chosen by managers, general managers, and broadcasters from the Pacific Association as the league's most valuable player.

James Toy III/Sonoma Stompers

By Geoff Safford, Broadcast & Operations Assistant

Every team needs a heartbeat. A player whose importance to the team extends from the field to the clubhouse. Joel Carranza embraced that role for the Sonoma Stompers Professional Baseball Club in 2016, and then some.

Since joining the Stompers, Carranza has been one of the most consistent hitters in the Pacific Association. In 2014, he set the Pacific Association single season home run record with 19. The following year he belted 10 homers, batted .358 before being promoted to the Trios Rivieres Angels of the Canadian American Association of Professional Baseball. In 2016, he returned as did his steady dominance as Carranza was named the League’s Most Valuable Player.

The Stompers Joel Carranza was named the 2016 Pacific Association MVP, while first baseman, Daniel Baptista, finished third in the voting. Voting was conducted by the league's front offices, manager, coaches and broadcasters.

The Stompers Joel Carranza was named the 2016 Pacific Association MVP, while first baseman, Daniel Baptista, finished third in the voting. Voting was conducted by the league's front offices, manager, coaches and broadcasters.

The Pembroke Pines, Florida native returned to Sonoma on June 7 in a player-coach role, routinely hit cleanup in the lineup, and helped manager Takashi Miyoshi as a hitting coach. Carranza took his game to a new level in 2016 on the strongest offensive team in the Pacific Association. The Stompers offense powered its way to a Pacific Association championship. 
Carranza becomes the second player in the three-year history of the Stompers to receive the MVP award, joining 2014 winner Jayce Ray. 

“Joel had a remarkable season for us again. He's been so consistent, each and every year he's great,” said Vice President and General Manager Theo Fightmaster. “When he came back in June, our team grew up. Everyone realized then that we were good enough to win, and that's certainly thanks in part to Joel's confidence, and the confidence he infused into our clubhouse. This is a long time coming.”

Carranza had a league best .316 batting average, was second to only San Rafael’s Jake Taylor with 15 home runs, and was third in the league with 60 RBIs. He also had a .406 on base percentage, and .982 OPS (on base plus slugging percentage). But Carranza’s importance to the team extended bar beyond the box score. 

Sonoma broke barriers in 2016 by signing Kelsie Whitmore and Stacy Piagno to the club on July 1. Having women in a clubhouse is not a situation that most – if not all of the – Stompers players had ever experienced. Carranza took it upon himself to work with Whitmore to improve her offensive game. Whitmore faced a huge challenge being the youngest member of the team. The mentorship from Carranza helped Whitmore earn her spot in the Stompers clubhouse.

“I'm proud of him. He took on a bigger role this year serving as a hitting coach too. And it shouldn't go unnoticed that he was integral in helping Kelsie (Whitmore) feel more comfortable earning her spot in this organization,” Fightmaster said. 

Whitmore agreed, saying “As a teammate and (someone who feels like a) little sister to Joel, I'm honored to say how proud I am of his accomplishments. He deserves every bit of this award and earned it through his hard work and dedication. He's a great teammate and ‘big brother’ that I would never trade.”

Although the Stompers enjoyed a fantastic season overall in 2016, they fell on hard times at the beginning of the second half. They struggled offensively and dug a hole for themselves in the standings. Carranza, who was a 32nd round pick of the Tampa Bay Rays in the 2007 MLB Amateur Draft, took this slow start as hard as anyone in the clubhouse. Carranza truly wanted to bring a championship to Sonoma, and it showed with his performance down the stretch. Carranza hit nine of his 15 home runs in the second half of the season, and added 13 multi-hit games in the after the break. 

“Joel is a true professional baseball player. He was an excellent leader for all of the players in the clubhouse,” said Stompers Manager Takashi Miyoshi. “I am extremely happy that he was named MVP because of all that he has done for the Stompers organization.”

Carranza joined Mason Morioka, Mark Hurly, and Miyoshi as the members of the Stompers organization that won post season honors for their work in the Pacific Association. Carranza was not alone on the ballot for MVP as first baseman Daniel Baptista finished 3rd in the voting. Baptista overcame a slow offensive start to the season and finished second on the team in batting average at .304, and had a team leading 61 RBIs.

The winners of the awards from the Pacific Association of Professional Baseball Clubs are selected by managers, general managers, and broadcasters from around the league. 

Stompers Hurlers Receive High Praises During Awards Season

Mike Jackson Jr. (left) and Taylor Thurber (right) showed well in the Pacific Association Pitcher of the Year voting. Jackson Jr, and Thurber finished 2nd, and 3rd respectively.  James Toy III/Sonoma Stompers

Mike Jackson Jr. (left) and Taylor Thurber (right) showed well in the Pacific Association Pitcher of the Year voting. Jackson Jr, and Thurber finished 2nd, and 3rd respectively. 

James Toy III/Sonoma Stompers

Sonoma Stompers Staff Report

Without the steady work of Mike Jackson Jr. and Taylor Thurber, it’s hard to imagine the Sonoma Stompers Professional Baseball Club capturing the 2016 crown.

The two right-handed hurlers were stalwarts of the Stompers rotation, and the league took notice as the Jackson and Thurber finished with a second and third-place finish, respectively, in the Pacific Association Pitcher of the Year voting.

San Rafael's Patrick Conroy narrowly eclipsed Sonoma's Mike Jackson in the the voting for the 2016 Pacific Association Pitcher of the Year. Voting was conducted by the league's front offices, managers, coaches and broadcasters.

San Rafael's Patrick Conroy narrowly eclipsed Sonoma's Mike Jackson in the the voting for the 2016 Pacific Association Pitcher of the Year. Voting was conducted by the league's front offices, managers, coaches and broadcasters.

In his third season with the Stompers, Jackson Jr. was at his very best. Prior to his promotion to the Long Island Ducks (Atlantic League, Ind.), the 27-year-old Pennsylvania native went 8-2, with a 2.84 ERA, and a WHIP (walks plus hits per innings pitched) of 1.132. In 76 innings, spanning 12 starts, Jackson Jr. allowed just 59 hits, struck out 61 batters and walked just 27. His eight wins were tied for most in the league (J.R. Bunda, San Rafael), and his 61 strikeouts were 11th-most in the association, despite him not making a start after Aug. 10. His ratio of hits-to-innings of 7-to-9 was the best figure among any pitcher who made more than three starts. Only San Rafael’s Patrick Conroy, who was named the league’s top pitcher for 2016, had a better ERA among pitchers who made more than 10 starts. 

The veteran, and a charter member of the 2014 Stompers Inaugural season team, took his game to another level in 2016, and also served as a leader in the clubhouse for manager Takashi Miyoshi. From Spring Training, Jackson Jr. served as the leader of the pitching staff.

Thurber, 23, was nearly just as valuable. In his first year in Sonoma, Thurber won seven games, posted a 2.95 ERA, and boasted a WHIP of 1.148. The Appalachian State University product, was seventh in the league in strikeouts (70), and had a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 4.38 (best among all pitchers who made more than one start). Opposing batters hit just .246 off Thurber, and they were often attempting to hit from behind in count as he led all qualifying pitchers with a .714 first-pitch-strike percentage. 

The Stompers have been well represented thus far in the postseason awards balloting. Outfielder Mark Hurley and catcher Mason Morioka were both recognized as the league’s top defenders at their positions, and Manager Takashi Miyoshi was named the Manager of the Year. Right-hander Juan Espinosa, and fellow Miami product, Randy Santiesteban, finished third and fourth, respectively, in the race for Rookie of the Year.

Reliever Jose Flores, who assumed the closer role for the Stompers late in 2016, finished third in voting in Reliever of the Year honors, and late-season acquisition Ryan Richardson finished fifth.  

The Pacific Association voting is comprised of the league’s front offices, managers, coaches and broadcasters.

On November 14, the league will announce the 2016 MVP. In 2014, former Stomper Jayce Ray, won the award. San Rafael’s Matt Chavez took home the hardware in 2015. Both played the next season with the Wichita Wingnuts of the American Association. Ray is currently in the Boston Red Sox organization, where spent the 2016 season reaching as high as Double-A. 

Miyoshi Chosen As 2016 Manager Of The Year

Sonoma Stompers Manager Takashi Miyoshi was selected by General Managers, Managers, and Broadcasters from around the Pacific Association as the 2016 Manager of the Year.  James Toy III/ Sonoma Stompers

Sonoma Stompers Manager Takashi Miyoshi was selected by General Managers, Managers, and Broadcasters from around the Pacific Association as the 2016 Manager of the Year. 

James Toy III/ Sonoma Stompers

Geoff Safford, Broadcast & Operations Assistant

 

When Takashi Miyoshi joined the Sonoma Stompers Baseball Club in 2015 as a bench coach, his role became much larger than anyone could have anticipated. 

The Japanese born and Tokyo resident Miyoshi was brought in after spending time as a third base coach with the Texas Air Hogs in the American Association where he had the opportunity to be part of a championship team. But Miyoshi still sought out the opportunity to do what no other Japanese native had ever been given the chance to do in American professional baseball – a chance to manage.

In the middle of the 2015 season Miyoshi got his chance, and in his first full season as manager in 2016 he took his club to a Pacific Association Championship. The Stompers broke franchise records for the number of wins (47), and winning percentage (.603). Yoshi (as he’s called) also became the first manager in the history of the Pacific Association to lead a club to first half, and second half pennant in the same season. On Wednesday it was announced that Miyoshi was voted the Manager of the Year for the 2016 season.

 “The Stompers have the most professional, hardest working, most dedicated manager in all of independent baseball – maybe beyond,” said Vice President and General Manager Theo Fightmaster. "We are so lucky to have a serious, smart, organized and open-minded person like Yoshi at the helm. He deserves this recognition, and I hope he soon earns a chance prove his worth at the next level,” 

Yoshi became the first ever Japanese born manager in the history of American professional baseball when promoted in 2015. His home country of Japan is a baseball crazed nation and Miyoshi brought a dream of representing his country in its favorite game. He started his first full season as manager of the Stompers in 2016 with something to prove after falling just short of a title in 2015.

Unlike 2015, the 2016 Stompers played their best baseball in the final month of the season, and enjoyed the earliest title clinch in Pacific Association history.  

For that, and other reasons, Miyoshi was recognized by managers, general managers, and broadcasters of the Pacific Association. Miyoshi’s name was on every ballot that was cast, and received double the amount of votes of the second place candidate (Vallejo Admirals Manager P.J. Phillips).

2016 Manager of the Year Voting Results

All league awards voting is determined by a weighted points system. A first-place vote is worth 5 points, second and third-place votes are worth 3 points and 1 point, respectively.

All league awards voting is determined by a weighted points system. A first-place vote is worth 5 points, second and third-place votes are worth 3 points and 1 point, respectively.

“I am extremely humbled to be named the Manager of the Year. I would like to thank the Stomper ownership, and my team,” Miyoshi said. “I would also like to thank Theo Fightmaster, Assistant General Manager Tim Livingston, my bench coach Chris Matthews, and our players. Lastly I would like to thank the fans who supported us all summer long, our great host families, and sponsors. Without all of you, I would not have been named named Manager of the Year. I won this award because of all of your support. Thanks for all the trust, love and support.”

Miyoshi lead a Stompers team that scored the most runs (485) and had the lowest team earned run average (4.01) of any team in the league. They also were tops in run differential as the Stompers scored 127 more run than their opponents (358). The next best run differential in the league was the Pacifics who allowed 15 more runs (417) than what they scored (402).

But the 2016 season was not always a walk in the park. After winning the first half pennant, Sonoma began the second half with a 7-10 mark, and fell five games behind a San Rafael team that gave the Stompers many problems in the first half. But the Stompers went on a pennant-clinching run in the month of August that culminated in them overtaking first place, and never looking back.

The Stompers finished with a remarkable 18-6 mark down the stretch, and scored over thirteen runs in six of those contests.  That run included an eight-game winning streak against the defending Pacific Association Champion Pacifics.

The final two individual awards for the 2016 Pacific Association season will be announced on November 7, and November 9. On November 7, the winner of the Pitcher of the Year award will be announced. Finally on November 9 the winner of the league’s Most Valuable Player will be revealed.

Two Stompers Take Home Defensive Player Of The Year Honors

Catcher Mason Morioka (top), and left fielder Mark Hurley (bottom) were voted as defensive players of the year at their positions for the 2016 season. James Toy III/Sonoma Stompers

Catcher Mason Morioka (top), and left fielder Mark Hurley (bottom) were voted as defensive players of the year at their positions for the 2016 season.

James Toy III/Sonoma Stompers

Geoff Safford, Broadcast & Operations Assistant

The Sonoma Stompers Professional Baseball Club, presented by Virginia Dare, has built a tradition of great defense since their inaugural season in 2014. In 2015, seven Stompers were selected as Defensive Players of the Year, and that tradition continued in a championship season in 2016. 


Defense was a huge part of the Stompers success this year, and players from around the Pacific Association were rewarded for their efforts by being named Defensive Players of the Year at their positions. This season, two Stompers were chosen for their efforts. 

For the second consecutive year, Mark Hurley was elected the top defensive left fielder in the league, and Mason Morioka was chosen for his work behind the plate. The winners were voted on by managers, general managers, and broadcasters from around the Pacific Association. 


“Once we worked out some of the kinks on defense in the early part of the season, our defense was as much of a reason as any that we were able to win the championship,” said Vice President, and General Manager Theo Fightmaster. 


Coming into opening day, the starting catching position was a questions mark for the Stompers, after the 2014 and 2015 honorees Andrew Parker and Isaac Wenrich, respectively, had departed. But Morioka brought his experience from the Frontier League and American Association and signed with the Stompers during spring training, and ultimately filled a void for the ball club. 


 "I only know one thing. Without Morioka, we would not have won the 2016 Championship,” said Stompers Manager Takashi Miyoshi. “He has done tremendous job for our organization. There are no words to express how much I respect the man he is on and off the field."


Morioka played with a chip on his shoulder after being released from spring camp by the Vallejo Admirals, a team he spent time with the season before. Morioka proved with his play that he not only belonged in the Pacific Association, but he was one of the league’s best talents. 


The 25-year-old catcher’s play was something special and the numbers bore that out. The Torrance, Calif. native had 24 assists – second most by any catcher on the season – and Morioka committed only six errors (a league low among starting catchers). He also had the second highest fielding percentage (.988), and number of putouts (462) on the team. The Stompers could not have done what they did in 2016 without the veteran behind the plate. 


“I’m so happy for Mason. I don't think there is anyone more deserving of this award than he is,” Fightmaster said.  “Hell, he could have earned this honor solely based on his performance the night we clinched the second half, if you ask me. There was no better all-around player at their position in this league in 2016 than Mason.”


Morioka’s value was also shown in the batters box as he asserted himself as one of the Pacific Association’s best hitters. Morioka was the best hitting catcher in the league with a .292 batting average to go along with five home runs and eight doubles. He also did a great job of getting on base by finishing with 30 walks, and a .382 on base percentage. Morioka’s OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage) of .793 was the best of his professional career. Morioka was fourth on the team with 44 runs scored, 66 hits, 34.875 runs created and eight doubles. He led the team with three triples, and drove in 31 runs. 


“This feels pretty awesome,” Morioka said. “This is my first award in my pro career, and I have to thank the whole organization from ownership to (Stompers Manager Takashi Miyoshi) and (bench coach) Chris Matthews, my teammates who believed in me, and my family and friends who supported me this season.”


Hurley earned the reputation of being a fantastic outfielder for his work in left field during his rookie year of 2015. The Hollister native and Cal State Monterey Bay product committed just three errors during the entire season, was named the Defensive Player of the Year in left, and was recognized with the league’s Rookie of the Year Award. Hurley built on that success to have an even better year statistically on defense in 2016. 


Hurley was one of the most consistent outfielders in the league, boasting the highest fielding percentage on the team among qualifying positions player (.989,) and only committed one error during the entire season. Hurley added three assists from the outfield (most on the team, and among the top five in the league).


“Mark is a true fighter.  He never complained, and never showed any weakness while on the field,” said Miyoshi.  His character brought us to different level of professionalism. I am extremely honored to call him my left fielder."


Hurley was a key part to an outfield that was solid defensively all season long, and along with center fielder Matt Hibbert and right fielder Derrick Fox committed only 13 errors as a unit. Hurley has established himself as one of the league’s best defensive players at in the Pacific Association after winning this award for the second straight season.


“For two years in a row, Mark has provided us with great stability in left field, and was even better with the glove this year,” said Fightmaster.


Hurley added, “I feel honored to win this award with all the great outfielders in this league. I had such great support from my teammates, the Verdus (my host family), the front office and the fans. They all made this possible. Thank you, Sonoma!”


The Pacific Association will announce the rest of the post season awards over the coming weeks starting with the Rookie of the Year award to be announced Wednesday October 26. On Monday October 31 the Reliever of the Year will be announced with the Manager of the Year award to follow on November 2. The Pitcher of the year and MVP will be announced on November 7, and November 9. 

People's Home Equity Mortgage Lending Extends Partnership With The Stompers Through 2018

The Defending Pacific Association Champion Stompers have extended their partnership with People's Home Equity and will continue to call Arnold Field home through 2018. Geoff Safford/Sonoma Stompers

The Defending Pacific Association Champion Stompers have extended their partnership with People's Home Equity and will continue to call Arnold Field home through 2018.

Geoff Safford/Sonoma Stompers

Theo Fightmaster, Vice President & General Manager

 

Sonoma, Calif. – The Sonoma Stompers Professional Baseball Club has extended its partnership with the North Bay’s leading mortgage provider, Peoples Home Equity Mortgage Lending, through the 2018 season.

A Presenting Partner of Stompers Baseball in 2016, Peoples Home Equity Ballpark at Arnold Field, will continue to serve as the home of the 2016 Pacific Association Champions. Last spring, the mortgage provider became the first organization to acquire the naming rights to the Stompers home ballpark.

It was an iconic season for the Stompers at Peoples Home Equity Ballpark, as the club garnered unprecedented attention for their on-field achievements in 2016. On July 1, along with Francis Ford Coppola’s Virginia Dare Winery, the Stompers started two females in outfielder Kelsie Whitmore and pitcher Stacy Piagno, becoming the first co-ed professional baseball team since the 1950s when Toni Stone, Mamie “Peanut” Johnson and Constance Morgan achieved the distinction of becoming the first women to play alongside men in the Negro Leagues. 

On July 22, the team added catcher Anna Kimbrell, and all three female players appeared in the game that night against the Pittsburg Diamonds.

The Stompers enjoyed a franchise best 47-31 record in 2016, clinching the league title for the first time in team history. They became the first Pacific Association team to win both the first and second half titles since 2014. The first half title was clinched at Peoples Home Equity Ballpark on July 13 in a thrilling 8-7 win over Pittsburg.

Since 2014, Peoples Home Equity Ballpark at Arnold Field has hosted such notable guests as former San Francisco Giants great, J.T. Snow, current Washington National’s manager, Dusty Baker, former American League MVP Jose Canseco, former Boston Red Sox hurler, Bill “Spaceman” Lee.

In 2015, the Peoples Home Equity Ballpark set the stage for the New York Times Best-Selling book, “The Only Rule Is It Has to Work: Our Wild Experiment Building a New Kind of Baseball Team,” authored by Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller. The two authors spent the 2015 season serving as the Stompers Baseball Operations department, and chronicled their experience in their bestselling book.    

On June 25, 2015, Sean Conroy became the first openly-gay player in the history of the sport, and debuted with a 14-strikeout shutout victory over the Vallejo Admirals. That moment was recognized in international headlines, and enshrined in the  National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York.

In their three seasons, the Stompers have compiled a record of 133 wins 100 losses, have enjoyed three consecutive years of increased attendance, sponsorship support and per-cap revenue growth, while continuing to offer the best family entertainment option in the Sonoma Valley. 

The Stompers will open the 2017 season approximately on June 1, as the look to defend their championship title. Full Season tickets, mini-plans and partial season tickets are on sale now; simply stop by the Stompers Fan Shop, located at 234 West Napa Street in Sonoma, or email info@stompersbaseball.com.
 
About Peoples Home Equity, Inc. NMLS #63371

Formed in 2001, Peoples Home Equity, Inc. is dedicated to the simple goal of helping Americans achieve the dream of responsible home ownership. We are a fully functional Conventional and Government HUD-approved lender that closes two billion dollars in mortgage loans annually. We have over 70 branch locations in 27 states. By working hard to earn trust and respect with every transaction, we continue to grow and prosper alongside our home buyer and Realtor partners.