ZACK PACE SECURES MANAGER OF THE YEAR

SONOMA, Calif.–  Zack Pace is the 2018 Pacific Association Manager of the Year, which was voted on by executives, coaches, and broadcasters. The Pacific Association has given Manager of the Year awards since 2014.

Pace led the Stompers to a league best 57-23 record and a championship appearance. This was Pace’s first season with the Stompers, and first professionally.

“I am thankful for the whole Stompers family. From Brett and the front office, host families, sponsors, fans, players, and everyone else involved. With great communication, we all worked hard towards our goals and doing the right thing. It was a pleasure to see a positive atmosphere daily created by everyone on the Stompers family,” said Manager Zack Pace.

Following a successful career of 11 years and 853 games played across the American Association, Frontier League and Pacific Association. Pace played five seasons for the San Rafael Pacifics and won three Pacific Association Championships with San Rafael, including the 2014 season in which he hit .321. Pace had a career .268 average, 810 hits in 3,019 at-bats. He stole 214 bases and finished with a lifetime on-base percentage of .402. The lefty attended college at Sonoma State and most recently coached at his alma mater under head coach John Goelz in 2007 and from 2014 to 2018.

Pace and the Stompers set the Pacific Association single season win total with 57, and an impressive .713 win percentage. “Zack and I shared the same vision from day one. We were able to execute our plans effectively and promote players to higher leagues as well… he exceeded my expectations, and is truly a vital asset of the Sonoma Stompers. From his on field demeanor to his off the field upbeat personality, he embodies the Sonoma culture,” said General Manager Brett Creamer.  

  Manager Zack Pace congratulating Marcus Bradley in a home game, 2018 in Sonoma, (James W. Toy III / Sonoma Stompers)

Manager Zack Pace congratulating Marcus Bradley in a home game, 2018 in Sonoma, (James W. Toy III / Sonoma Stompers)

Assisting Pace was Sonoma Stompers pitching coach Mike Nunes.  Nunes played at Sonoma State in 2004 and was a graduate assistant in 2005, when current Stompers manager Zack Pace joined the Seawolves. After finishing his time as a GA, he pitched in 26 games for the Mesa Miners of the Golden Baseball League, recording a 3.83 ERA. Mike spent 2006 and 2007 with the Sioux City Explorers of the American Association, including the 2006 season with Pace. Since 2015, Nunes has been an assistant coach at Sonoma State, where he assists in coaching the pitching staff.

Wes Phillips rounded out the coaching staff for the 2018 season. Across four years of Division 1 and Junior College baseball, Phillips was a career .292 hitter with five home runs and 57 RBIs. The Wichita native spent 19 games with the Wichita Wingnuts of the American Association in 2017, where he collected nine hits and four runs scored. Phillips coached first base and played in two games with the Stompers during the 2018 season.

The Stompers have now won three of the past four Manager of the Year awards. Former Stomper skipper Takashi Miyoshi won the award in 2016, and shared the title with Vallejo Admirals Manager P.J. Phillips in 2017. Miyoshi spent the 2018 season as a bench coach with the Minnesota Twins Rookie affiliate where they won the Appalachian League championship.



COX CLAIMS RELIEVER OF THE YEAR

SONOMA, Calif.– The Sonoma Stompers are excited to announce that pitcher Jacob Cox has won the 2018 Pacific Association Reliever of the Year award. “This award means a lot, it shows what a long season of consistent hard work can achieve. However, I definitely couldn’t have gotten it without my team. They’re the ones who always gave me the opportunity to come in and do my job,” said pitcher Jacob Cox.

The former Cal State University Monterey Bay alumnus set the Pacific Association saves record in 2018 with 26 saves, breaking former Houston Astros pitcher Sammy Gervacio’s 2017 record of 18. “The past three years playing for Sonoma have prepared me for the next level by showing me what professional baseball is compared to collegiate ball. The level of competition is much higher and the margin for error is almost non existent,” said Cox.

Since the end of the 2018 season with Sonoma, Cox has been promoted to the Lake Erie Crushers of the Frontier League. “This does not come to a surprise to me. He’s been dedicated to his progression since day one. His mindset to not stay complacent and remain persistent of moving up were vital to his success, I believe,” said General Manager Brett Creamer. “I’m most looking forward to the new experiences and the continual growth of my game to become the player I want to be,” said Cox.

  Jacob Cox pitching against the Martinez Clippers, 2018 in Martinez, Calif. (James W. Toy III / Sonoma Stompers)

Jacob Cox pitching against the Martinez Clippers, 2018 in Martinez, Calif. (James W. Toy III / Sonoma Stompers)

The Stompers were second in the league with a 4.65 Earned Run Average, and first in saves with 28. “The bullpen was a strong point of our team, and Cox was the backbone of the pen. He’s a great competitor with great tools, I look forward to seeing Cox continue success in his career,” said Manager Zack Pace.

Cox finished his spectacular 2018 season with a 4-0 record and an impressive 2.62 ERA in 37.2 innings pitched. “He’s the real deal, and he took advantage of every opportunity that was given to him this past season,” said Creamer. Cox currently holds the Sonoma Stompers record in games pitched (70) and saves (32).

Sonoma Stompers pitcher D.J. Sharabi placed fifth in reliever of the year voting. The San Jose State alumnus finished the season at 8-1 with a 2.45 ERA in 47.2 innings pitched. “Sharabi was a key contributor out of the bullpen for us and was essential to our success as a team,” said Creamer. Sharabi struck out a career high 51 to just 37 hits allowed.

The Manager of the Year and Pitcher of the Year winners will be revealed on Dec. 10. The Executive of the Year will be announced on Dec. 11, and the 2018 Pacific Association MVP will be announced Dec. 12.



MEIMERSTORF EARNS ROOKIE OF THE YEAR HONORS!

SONOMA, Calif.– Kenny Meimerstorf takes home the 2018 Pacific Association Rookie of Year title. “This award is incredibly meaningful to me. Going into my first professional season I didn’t know what to expect,” said Meimerstorf. The Nevada native attended Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas where he spent four years on varsity hitting for a .406 average, 41 home runs, 188 RBIs, and 163 runs scored in 157 games. Kenny’s stellar 2013 Senior season earned him 2nd-team High School All-American.

After Kenny’s spectacular High School stint, he attended and played at the University of Arizona for the 2014 season. Kenny then transferred to the College of Southern Nevada, where he hit .282 in 63 games. Meimerstorf finished his college career at Florida International University.

For the Golden Panthers, Meimerstorf drove in 70 runs, hitting 13 home runs and totaling 38 extra-base hits over his two seasons. Battling a labrum injury in 2017 as a senior Meimerstorf performed at a high level hitting .324 with eight home runs and 32 RBIs, slugging .498.

 After a successful 2017 senior season, Meimerstorf signed with the Sonoma Stompers for the 2018 season. For the Stompers, the outfielder homered in eight of his first 20 games as a professional. “Half way through the season when I started to reminisce on how far we’ve come as a team and as a player was truly inspiring. The whole year my goal was to win a championship at the end of the year, but Rookie of The Year was always my second goal. After a year of hard work and dedication I am so happy to receive this award and I’m feeling more driven to work harder for the next season,” said Memierstorf. On June 16th, Meimerstorf hit go ahead grand slam off of former MLB veteran J.P. Howell of the San Rafael Pacifics in a 5-3 victory.

 “Kenny showed us a lot of grit this season. Based on his successful track record, we knew what he was capable of. This season was no different,” said General Manager Brett Creamer. The Bishop Gorman product finished second in the Pacific Association in both runs batted in (74) and home runs (23) while playing in 78 of the 80 games.

“His outstanding work ethic on a daily basis showed with his results. Kenny is well deserved for his award and I look forward to watching him grow throughout his career,” said Manager Zack Pace

  Kenny Meimerstorf hitting a home run against the San Rafael Pacifics, 2018 in Sonoma, Calif. (James W. Toy III / Sonoma Stompers)

Kenny Meimerstorf hitting a home run against the San Rafael Pacifics, 2018 in Sonoma, Calif. (James W. Toy III / Sonoma Stompers)

The 2017 Pacific Association Rookie of the Year winner was Michael Rizzitello of the San Rafael Pacifics who most recently played for the Evansville Otters of the Frontier League in 2018. Meimerstorf is the first Stomper to win the award since Mark Hurley in 2015. “We had such an amazing squad and we were a family on and off the field. We had a great group of guys that loved to compete day in and day out. We constantly pushed each other to be better everyday and that’s why we were the best team that has ever been in the Pacific Association… I am beyond blessed to be a part of the Stompers family,” said Meimerstorf.

Meimerstorf also helped the Stompers walk off twice during the 2018 season. Most notably on July 6th vs. The Napa Silverados where Kenny sent a towering fly ball to left field for his second home run of the game. The post game interview can be found here. “In the upcoming 2019 season my goal is to win a memorable championship and to show up with a winning mentality. I hope to move on to a top tier league to compete for a spot and ultimately move on to affiliated baseball to continue chasing my dreams,” said Meimerstorf.

Sonoma Stompers standout pitcher Tyler Sharp finished fourth in Rookie of the Year voting. Sharp’s rookie season consisted of a 6-2 record and a league leading 2.90 ERA. In 80.2 innings pitched, he struck out 79 batters to just 68 hits allowed. The Antelope Valley College alumnus also collected 2 saves.

COMSTOCK WINS GILDED GLOVE!

SONOMA, Calif.– Daniel Comstock took Gilded Glove honors for the 2018 Pacific Association season at the catcher position. The former Arizona Diamondbacks 2015 18th round draft pick played in 49 games for Sonoma, hitting .362 with nine home runs and 50 runs batted in before getting called up to the Southern Illinois Miners of the Frontier League. “Getting catcher of the year is an honor… achieving this award is a milestone in my career that I will never forget,” said Comstock.  Comstock proceeded former catcher Isaac Wenrich who won the award in 2017.

 “Being apart of the Sonoma Stompers family has been a huge blessing in my baseball career and my life. I had the opportunity to play professional baseball in my backyard,” said Comstock. The Petaluma native attended Petaluma High School where he hit .433 in four years of Varsity baseball.

 The righty then attended Menlo College where he held a .355 career batting average with 27 home runs in three seasons before getting drafted with the Diamondbacks.

 “Comstock had an outstanding year, he’s a very knowledgeable and talented player. Comstock was the heart of the team, his character and work ethic helped create the teams identity,” said Manager Zack Pace. Comstock’s 2018 success began on opening night vs. the Martinez Clippers where he went 3-5 with two home runs and a career high six runs batted in.

 “Daniel’s positive outlook and leadership tendencies really helped us out throughout the season. He represented himself like a true professional on and off the field,” said General Manager Brett Creamer.

 The Sonoma Stompers also had catchers Ryan Cooper and Mitchell Ho who finished seventh and tenth respectively in Gilded Glove voting. “The Stompers have been a class act organization since day one and everyday I get to wear that Stompers jersey, it is truly an honor,” said Comstock.


PACIFIC ASSOCIATION INTRODUCES NEW COMMISSIONER, THEO FIGHTMASTER

Former Sonoma Stompers GM appointed executive of burgeoning pro league

SAN FRANCISCO — The Pacific Association of Professional Baseball Clubs has formally named Theo Fightmaster the league’s next commissioner. Fightmaster, who began his Pacific Association career as a front office executive with the San Rafael Pacifics in 2011, also served as the general manager of the Sonoma Stompers from 2014 through the 2017 season.

During Fightmaster’s tenure the Stompers were on the cutting edge and garnered national acclaim for the organization’s progressive tactics. After Sonoma’s 2014 inaugural season, the Stompers partnered with former Baseball Prospectus contributors and managing editors, Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller, to bring analytically driven and experimental ideas to the front office and to the field. The story of the 2015 season was chronicled in the New York Times best-selling book “The Only Rule Is It Has to Work.”

Additionally the Stompers signed the game’s first openly gay player, Sean Conroy, in 2015, and partnered with Francis Ford Coppola’s Virginia Dare Winery in 2016 in an effort to create more opportunities for women in professional baseball. The Stompers recruited Kelsie Whitmore and Stacy Piagno in an effort to integrate the game. The Stompers went on to win the Pacific Association championship that season, and enjoyed a better-than .600 winning percentage in the four seasons under Fightmaster.

“Theo Fightmaster is someone who realized years ago, that to make an impact in the sports world, he would need to think outside the box,” said Billy Bean, VP & Special Assistant to the Commissioner MLB. “His ability to bring progressive minded people together that work as a team caught my attention a few years ago. In that time, his name, while being one of the best in pro sports, has started to become synonymous with innovation. I can’t wait to see what he does next.”

Off the field, Fightmaster guided the Stompers through three separate ownership groups and was part of a front office that lead Sonoma to profitability in their third year of operations. Sonoma saw sponsorship revenues grow for four consecutive seasons (2014-’17), and enjoyed increased ticket sales and food and beverage revenues year over year from ’14 to 2016.

Part of his vision for the Pacific Association is to bring new revenues in the form of corporate partnerships. More immediately, to usher in new ownership to San Rafael. The Pacifics, the charter member of the Association and one of independent baseball’s signature franchises is currently up for sale.

“This league means a great deal to me, as do many of the people in it.” Fightmaster said. “I’ve put literal blood, sweat and tears into this, and I hope to see it continue to grow and stabilize as a premier independent league that offers excellent and well-valued entertainment.

“This league has done so many incredible things in such a short period of time; from experimenting with robotic umpires, to five-man infields, re-introducing the idea of the bullpen fireman role and giving opportunities to gifted players regardless of gender or sexual orientation, and I’m eager to see what’s next. We’ve raised a lot of money for great local organizations and causes, and been significant contributors to the local economies where we play.”

A lifelong Sonoma County resident, Fightmaster is a graduate of the Arizona State University, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree studying at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications. In 2017 he was recognized by the North Bay Business Journal as one of the regions top 40 executives under forty. He resides in Santa Rosa with his wife, who is a teacher, and two sons. They are expecting a baby girl in March 2019. Fightmaster sits on the board of directors for the non-profit Children & Family Circle, which helps provide free day care for parents of children from infancy to 2 years old. He and his wife have also served as foster parents for multiple children.

ABOUT THE PACIFIC ASSOCIATION

Founded in 2013 by four North American Baseball League teams, the Pacific Association now consists of six professional clubs; the Sonoma Stompers, San Rafael Pacifics, Pittsburg Diamonds, Vallejo Admirals, Napa Silverados and the Martinez Clippers. San Rafael has been crowned league champion three times. Both the Silverados and Clippers joined the fold in 2018 as the only independent league on the West Coast grew from four to six clubs.

The league plays approximately an 80-game schedule between the end of May and early Sept. More than 100 players have been promoted from the ranks to higher professional leagues, and nearly a dozen have been signed by Major League Baseball organizations.

SONOMA STOMPERS NAME FORMER PLAYER AS NEW ASSISTANT GENERAL MANAGER

  Eddie Mora-Loera, October 8, 2018 in Sonoma, Calif.( Sonoma Stompers)

Eddie Mora-Loera, October 8, 2018 in Sonoma, Calif.( Sonoma Stompers)

SONOMA, Calif. – The Sonoma Stompers are excited to announce the addition of their new Assistant General Manager Eddie Mora-Loera. He enters his first season in the Front Office with the Sonoma Stompers, and his fifth with the organization. A Bay Area native, Mora-Loera grew up in Oakland and graduated from Bishop O’Dowd High School where he was named first team All-HAAL in 2009-10 and third team All-Bay Area as a second baseman. He then attended Sierra College before transferring to Jacksonville State University in Alabama. In 2014, Mora-Loera held a .317 average with three home runs and 17 doubles to help the Gamecocks capture the Ohio Valley Conference Championship. “I am thrilled that Eddie will be helping us out for the 2019 season, and this is a great opportunity for him,” said General Manager Brett Creamer.

The Stompers are coming off of a 57-23 record in 2018, which broke the Pacific Association win total that their league rival San Rafael Pacifics have held since 2013. “I am looking forward to contributing to the organization and keeping the positive momentum from 2018 going,” said Mora-Loera.

  Eddie Mora-Loera of the Sonoma Stompers in a game against the Vallejo Admirals, in Sonoma, Calif.(James W. Toy III / Sonoma Stompers)

Eddie Mora-Loera of the Sonoma Stompers in a game against the Vallejo Admirals, in Sonoma, Calif.(James W. Toy III / Sonoma Stompers)

The reliable infielder has tallied 158 games for the Stompers, which is fifth all time. For his professional career the right handed hitter has tallied 127 hits, 80 runs scored, 71 RBIs, and a .251 batting average. “Bringing in Eddie will significantly help what we’re trying to accomplish here in 2019. He’s familiar with the area and is eager to bring the community together,” Creamer said. “We’re trying to grow our brand and find new ways to give back.”

Mora-Loera will assist the team in sales, business development, baseball operations, retail, and all other day-to-day tasks. Mora-Loera previously worked for the City of Oakland where he coordinated youth sport programs. The current Sonoma resident helped grow revenue for the City and coordinated season schedules for over 90 Bay Area teams. “The community support while working for my hometown in Oakland drove me everyday. As a player for the Stompers, I felt that same community support from the fans and host families. My goal is to continue to maintain and grow the support within the community,” said Mora-Loera. In 2017, he worked the Northern California region for the local community business Smashmallow. His main goals were to grow brand awareness and recognition as a sales rep.

PACIFICS SHUT OUT STOMPERS IN PACIFIC ASSOCIATION CHAMPIONSHIP

  Kenny Mathews walks off the mound in the Sonoma Stompers game against the San Rafael Pacifics, September 2, 2018 in Sonoma, Calif.(James W. Toy III / Sonoma Stompers)

Kenny Mathews walks off the mound in the Sonoma Stompers game against the San Rafael Pacifics, September 2, 2018 in Sonoma, Calif.(James W. Toy III / Sonoma Stompers)

SONOMA, Calif. – What was a magical season came to an end for the Sonoma Stompers Sunday night and not in the way they wanted, as the San Rafael Pacifics captured the 2018 Pacific Association Championship with a 6-0 victory over the Stompers.

Angel Ventura compiled the best pitching performance Sonoma saw in 2018, allowing just three baserunners in the game. Kam Stewart and Rob DeAngelis recorded back-to-back hits in the fourth inning and Stewart walked in the sixth, but nobody else reached base for Sonoma in the heartbreaking loss.

San Rafael rallied for four runs in the second inning off Tyler Sharp, who showed uncharacteristic struggles early on.

The Stompers bullpen pitched 7.2 innings of the game and did their best to keep it within reach, combining to allow two runs and five hits, but solo home runs from the Pacifics in the sixth and seventh innings put the final nails in the coffin for Sonoma.

The Stompers still, however, finished the regular season 57-23, seven games ahead of San Rafael in first place, breaking the league’s record for wins in a season. As the offseason begins, the team will prepare to retool for a new season in 2019.

STOMPERS BLANK DIAMONDS TO ADVANCE TO CHAMPIONSHIP

  Ethan Gibbons throws a pitch in the Sonoma Stompers game against the Pittsburg Diamonds, September 1, 2018 in Sonoma, Calif.(James W. Toy III / Sonoma Stompers)

Ethan Gibbons throws a pitch in the Sonoma Stompers game against the Pittsburg Diamonds, September 1, 2018 in Sonoma, Calif.(James W. Toy III / Sonoma Stompers)

SONOMA, Calif. – After a shutout to end the regular season, the Sonoma Stompers continued their pitching prowess, keeping the Pittsburg Diamonds off the board Saturday night for a 5-0 victory in the Pacific Association semifinal game, advancing themselves to the league championship Sunday.

Joseph Broderick’s magic from Friday transferred to Ethan Gibbons, who pitched six shutout innings, allowing only three hits in the first postseason victory in the history of the franchise.

“I just wanted to attack the hitters and give our team the chance to win today,” Gibbons said. “That’s all you can ask out of your starting pitcher and I was happy I was able to do that.”

Gibbons was relieved by Vijay Patel, who after starting nine games during the 2018 season pitched three scoreless frames out of the bullpen with three strikeouts to seal the victory and earn a save.

Patel’s three innings continued a scoreless stretch from the staff, a streak of 21 scoreless innings dating back to Thursday’s game against San Rafael.

The offense came alive early in the game, tagging Diamonds starter and former Major League Baseball pitcher Travis Blackley for two runs in the second inning. Bronson Butcher singled to score Brock Hartley and Marcus Bradley brought home Butcher a few batters later with a single of his own to give the Stompers a 2-0 lead.

Sonoma added more in the third when Daniel Baptista reached on an error that scored Rob DeAngelis and Kenny Meimerstorf came home on a Butcher sacrifice fly.

Hartley connected for a solo home run in the fifth inning, adding insurance for good measure and making him one of two players, along with Butcher, to record two hits in the game.

Six different Stompers recorded hits in the victory as the team looks to continue the trend of all-around effort into Sunday.

In a rematch of the 2018 Pacific Association championship game, Sonoma will face the San Rafael Pacifics, this time playing host to their league rivals.

 “Tomorrow we’ve just got to come out like we did today and I think we’ll be just fine,” Hartley said. “The pitching is great, we have a fresh bullpen after the last couple of days and I like our chances.

The Stompers went 8-8 against the Pacifics in 2018, including a 6-2 record in Sonoma. The San Rafael won the right to face Sonoma after a close 3-2 victory over the Vallejo Admirals Saturday evening.

First pitch Sunday will be at 7:05 p.m. from Palooza Park at Arnold Field with the game’s winner taking home the Pacific Association title.

BRODERICK SHUTS OUTS SAN RAFAEL TO END REGULAR SEASON

  Joseph Broderick throws a pitch in the third inning of the Sonoma Stompers game against the San Rafael Pacifics, August 31, 2018 in Sonoma, Calif.(James W. Toy III / Sonoma Stompers)

Joseph Broderick throws a pitch in the third inning of the Sonoma Stompers game against the San Rafael Pacifics, August 31, 2018 in Sonoma, Calif.(James W. Toy III / Sonoma Stompers)

SONOMA, Calif. – In the final game of the regular season, the Sonoma Stompers shut out the San Rafael Pacifics 1-0 on a complete game shutout from Joseph Broderick.

Broderick, a native of West Islip, New York, was one of the top pitchers in the Pecos League in 2018 and joined the Stompers in mid-August.

His first appearance with Sonoma was a rough start against San Rafael on Aug. 10, but after four outings as a reliever without allowing an earned run, manager Zack Pace tasked him with once again facing the league’s top offense.

In the season’s 80th game, Broderick’s complete game was the first from a Stompers pitcher in 2018. The shutout was Sonoma’s fourth of the year and second against San Rafael.

Over nine innings, Broderick allowed just five hits while not walking any batters and striking out 11.

“I figured I’d go out there and attack from pitch one and let the defense make plays and they did,” Broderick said. “Niko [Pacheco] and I were on the same page from pitch one and the defense made plays for me.”

The right-hander only threw 113 pitches, never more than 17 in an inning. He never faced more than four batters in any inning and retired the side in order three times, including in the ninth inning to conclude the game.

While San Rafael’s pitching was strong as well, limiting the Stompers to only four hits, Sonoma was able to take advantage of defensive miscue from Pacifics starting pitcher Nick DeBarr. While DeBarr had to leave the game after suffering an injury on the play, Rob DeAngelis was able to immediately double home Kam Stewart as soon as a new pitcher entered the game.

Marcus Bradley, Stewart and Kenny Meimerstorf were the only other Stompers to record hits in the game.

Finishing the regular season at 57-23 (.713) and on a five-game winning streak, the Stompers prepare for the Pacific Association semifinal, where they will host the Pittsburg Diamonds at 7:05 p.m. at Palooza Park at Arnold Field. San Rafael will host the Vallejo Admirals with the winners of those two meeting in the league championship Sunday.