Geoff Safford, Media Relations Assistant
Baseball players are creatures of habit. Many players have specifics routines they follow almost religiously on game days. Stompers Manager Takashi Miyoshi’s pregame meal of a McDonald’s cheeseburger is one of many examples of this. The Stompers success over the Admirals this season has started to become a habit for the club. Coming into the game Saturday, Sonoma was 8-2 overall against the Admirals. Saturday night at Wilson Park, however, was anything but routine for the Stompers.
Sonoma had to be feeling good heading into the home half of the seventh inning. The Stompers were leading 8-1 after a four run rally in the top half of the inning. The Admirals seemed to be unraveling and looked more interested in arguing with the umpires than playing the game. But somehow, the Admirals were able to bounce back in a big way. Vallejo seems to play better from behind as they have multiple come from behind victories on the season. Sonoma had a first row seat to this during the home opener on June 7 as the Admirals stunned the Stompers by erasing a late inning lead. Saturday’s comeback may have been the best yet for Vallejo.
13 batters came to the plate in the seventh for the Admirals, and nine of them singled off of three different Stomper relievers. 10 base runners reached in the inning. A game that seemed over was somehow tied at 8-8 headed into the top of the eighth. The top and bottom half of the seventh took almost an hour to play alone.
After getting punched in the gut by the Admirals, the Stompers found themselves in a close game. Sonoma was on the wrong end of a big rally, and sometimes that can demoralize a team. But this team stayed the course even when things seemed to be crumbling and snuck by in a 9-8 victory. It was not pretty, but they found a way to win the game in the end.
The single that put the Stompers back on top in the eighth by Mason Morioka wasn’t smashed. But Morioka hit a ground ball into the right spot right back up the middle and scored Joel Carranza to give the Stompers the lead back. Morioka finished the game 3 for 5 with two runs scored and an RBI. Matt Hibbert was also a highlight offensively as he finished with a team leading three RBIs and a run scored. Hibbert was 2 for 3.
Austin Delmotte turned in one of the gutsiest performances for any Stomper so far this season out of the pen on Saturday. Delmotte was the last pitcher to enter the disaster that was the seventh inning and got the final out of the inning. He then proceeded to go the rest of the way, throwing 2 scoreless innings to preserve the win. Delmotte did so after pitching the night before. It is not completely uncommon for a reliever to pitch on two straight nights. But for Delmotte to pitch multiple innings after pitching Friday night as well was as gutsy as it gets.
Delmotte got credit for the victory, his first of the season. Starter Oliver Garcia was solid in his five innings of work, but watched his chances for a victory go by the wayside in the seventh when Vallejo tied the game. Garcia allowed one run on only three hits while striking out six.
Sonoma (13-9) has now defeated Vallejo (9-14) five consecutive times overall, and a win Sunday will give them their second straight series sweep over the club. The win Saturday also gave the Stompers the outright lead in the Pacific Association. Gregory Paulino will get the start for Sonoma, and the Stompers will look to get the big righty some more run support. Sonoma has only mustered 2 runs total in the last 2 games that Paulino has started.
Tickets for future Stompers home games are available on StompersBaseball.com. Fan merchandise, and tickets are also available for purchase at The Fan Shop located at 234 West Napa Street in Sonoma. If you have any questions, contact the Stompers at firstname.lastname@example.org.