Geoff Safford, Media Relations Assistant
The Sonoma Stompers kicked off the 2016 campaign on Tuesday night with a tough 13-5 loss in Pacific Association play against the Vallejo Admirals on a rare warm evening at Wilson Park.
The night began with a lot of excitement as Hall of Famer Orlando Cepeda threw out the first pitch during the pre-game festivities. The game itself unfortunately ended up being a disappointment for the Stompers as they were dominated from the beginning.
Starting pitcher Sean Conroy was awarded the opening day start for Sonoma but struggled with location and allowed Vallejo to jump on him early. The Admirals scored five runs in the first inning, highlighted by a two-run home run by Gadiel Baez. Conroy did not make it through the fourth inning and allowed 10 earned runs to come to the plate. This was the most runs Conroy has allowed in a single game during his pro career.
The fourth, fifth, and sixth hitters in the lineup were the biggest problem for the Stompers staff as they made loud contact throughout the game and went a combined 7-for-14. The offensive onslaught was highlighted by right fielder Derrick Philips, who finished a homer shy of the cycle and went 3-for-5 with four RBIs.
After the Admirals jumped out to an early five-run lead, the Stompers did bounce back early on with a three-run rally in the third inning that at the time cut the deficit to two. All three runs were unearned thanks to five Admirals errors in the inning. Vallejo finished with eight errors for the game.
It was a long night offensively for Sonoma overall as they finished with only three hits. In a game that featured many bizarre moments, Admirals starter David Dinelli had four strikeouts in the sixth inning. Ethan Szabo was the lone bright spot in the order as he finished 2-4 with an RBI.
The Stompers will have a chance to bounce back on Wednesday night in game two of the series with first pitch scheduled for 6:35 at Wilson Park. Oliver Garcia will get the start for Sonoma, which is highly anticipated based on his performance in spring training. The Dominican Republic native impressed with his velocity and devastating breaking ball in exhibition games earlier in May.
Opening day in Sonoma will be on Tuesday, June 7 at People’s Home Equity Ball Park at Arnold Field in Sonoma. The Stompers will take on the Admirals to begin a three game series.
First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m.. Tickets for that game, and every game this season, are available on stompersbaseball.com. Both tickets and Stompers merchandise are also available at The Fan Shop located at 234 West Napa Street in beautiful downtown Sonoma. For more information, please email info@StompersBaseball.com or call (707) 938-7277.