Geoff Safford, Media Relations Assistant
The Pittsburg Diamonds trailed the Stompers 8-4 headed into the eighth inning in a game that had so much on the line for both teams. This Diamonds team would not go down without a fight. They had won four games via the walk-off this season and rallied for three runs to cut the lead to one. The fans were sitting on the edge of their seats as the Diamonds loaded the bases with only one out threatening to take the lead.
Even in the pressure situation, Jose Flores was able to get two very important outs to keep the Stompers lead intact. He went back out for the ninth inning and closed out a second consecutive first half championship for Sonoma, as the Stompers held on for an 8-7 win over the Pittsburg Diamonds. Champagne was flowing and it was all smiles on the field after the game.
Sonoma clinched the pennant with a 22-16 record, doing it in the penultimate game of the first half. This game was like many of the close games the Stompers won throughout a truly competitive league. Even when things were looking bleak when the Diamonds charged back in the eighth inning, bench coach Chris Mathews had a lot of confidence that they would get the job done, “I knew that we had the best guys out their, and with Jose [Flores] on the mound he’d keep us in it. I never doubted our guys, we had worked so hard to get to this moment and I had faith that we would pull it off,” said Mathews.
Veteran leadership is a huge factor on this team, and one of the main clubhouse leaders Joel Carranza proved why he is in that role with a fantastic performance at the plate. Carranza finished 3 for 5 with an RBI and a run scored. Sean Conroy also delivered with a solid start to keep his club out in front. Conroy pitched 6 2/3 innings allowing six hits and four runs to pick up the win.
The Stompers also made the Diamonds pay for the mistakes they made, as Pittsburg committed three more errors. A large part of the four run rally the Stompers made in the sixth was aided by an error made in left field by Rich Mejia.
The Stompers will close out the first half with one more game against the Pittsburg Diamonds on Thursday evening at People’s Home Equity Ballpark. It will be a night of celebration for the Stompers Wednesday, but they won’t have a lot of time to celebrate as the second half of the season begins on the road Friday night against the Vallejo Admirals.
The journey to the Pacific Association title is just beginning for these Stompers. Sure with this win the Stompers have ensured a chance to play for the Pacific Association championship on August 30. But if Sonoma wins the second half as well, this team would clinch the Pacific Association Championship without having to play in a championship game.
Tickets for future Stompers home games will be available on StompersBaseball.com. On Thursday July 13, all tickets and concessions will be half off to celebrate the first half pennant. Coors Light will also be half off. It has also been announced that Stacy Piagno will start the game at first base for the Stompers.
Fan Merchandise and tickets are also available at The Fan Shop located at 234 West Napa Street in Sonoma. For more information contact the Stompers at firstname.lastname@example.org.