Geoff Safford, Media Relations Assistant
Opening night began with so much excitement from the crowd at People’s Home Equity Ballpark at Arnold Field in Sonoma. The Stompers came out strong in the first half of the game and looked to be well on their way to an opening night victory. However, the Vallejo Admirals had other plans and spoiled the Stompers home opener as as they defeated the Stompers by a score of 5-4 in 10 innings. It was the kind of loss that feels more like a kick in the stomach than anything else.
A capacity crowd in Sonoma enjoyed a good start from Oliver Garcia as he delivered just what manager Takashi Miyoshi was looking for out of his starter. “In Garcia’s first start last week he began to tire in the early innings, and lost his stuff on the mound. We would love to get five or six innings from him tonight.”
Garcia delivered to the delight of the crowd. In his five plus innings of work, he allowed only one earned run, four hits, and struck out seven batters. It is becoming clear after two starts that Garcia has some of the best strikeout stuff on the team. He threw well over 90 miles an hour and the Admirals struggled to catch up. Juan Espinosa backed up his effort with a solid outing out of the bullpen throwing two-plus innings, allowing three hits and striking out five.
It was fitting that they both pitched well as Espinosa and Garcia are linked off the field. Garcia hails from the Dominican Republic, and struggles at times to speak English. Espinosa is fluent in both Spanish and English, so he helps Garcia communicate. The dominance they had was something that could never be lost in translation.
Meanwhile, the Stomper offense got the crowd on their feet in the middle of the game thanks to a pair of home runs from the meat of the order. In the fourth inning, both Matt Petrone and Caleb Bryson went deep with solo shots, as Petrone’s second of the year and Bryson’s third homer made it 2-0. Bryson has now homered in three of his past four games. The Stompers would add on in the sixth with two more runs to take a 4-1 lead. The Stompers had chances to score more as they left 12 men on base, and that would prove to be costly.
Vallejo proved to be a team that could come from behind as they did so in all three games over last weekend against the league champion Pacifics. They were asked to do that once again on Tuesday, and delivered against closer Austin Delmotte.
Delmotte allowed the Admirals to score two runs before Taylor Thurber came in to pitch. Thurber allowed the tying run to score on a bizarre play where the Admirals stole home after a strikeout.
Vallejo got a huge contribution offensively from Darian Sandford, Jackson Valera, and Gerald Bautista. Those three hitters combined for 10 of Vallejo’s 12 hits, and Bautista was a perfect 4 for 4 in the game. In the end, it was a little small ball for the Admirals that won the game for them. They scored the lead run in the top of the 10th on a suicide squeeze play.
The Stompers rallied in the bottom of the tenth with runners at second and third, but a strikeout by Derrick Fox ended the threat, and the Admirals came pouring out of the dugout to celebrate the win. Tim Holmes picked up his first win of the season for Vallejo, and Thurber picked up the loss. Carlos Pinales also got credit for a save, his first of the year.
Sonoma took one on the chin in the first game they played this season against the Admirals, and were able to come back in that series by winning the next two. They will look for a little more of the same on Wednesday night, as Stomper veteran Gregory Paulino will get the start for Sonoma. Paulino started against Vallejo last week in a Stomper win, and allowed three runs on six hits in four plus innings. He will be tasked with turning this series around for the home team.
Tickets for game two of the series are available on stompersbaseball.com, or will be available at the Arnold Field box office 30 minutes before game time. First pitch will take place at 6 p.m. You may also purchase tickets and fan merchandise at The Fan Shop located at 234 West Napa Street in downtown Sonoma. If you have any questions email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.