Stompers Media Services
The Sonoma Stompers Baseball Club – presented by Virginia Dare Winery – have made history already this season by bringing in Kelsie Whitmore and Stacy Piagno to the team in a venture to assimilate women into professional baseball.
This journey, which began with Francis Ford Coppola’s belief that women, if given the opportunity, could compete effectively in pro baseball, will take the next step on Friday, July 22. The Stompers welcome U.S. Women’s National Team (USWNT) star catcher Anna Kimbrell to the team, where she and Whitmore will form the first female battery in pro baseball history.
Kimbrell, 25, has played in each of the last four Women’s Baseball World Cups with the USWNT, where she has been teammates with both Whitmore and Piagno. Kimbrell was the catcher during Piagno’s no-hitter against Puerto Rico in the Pan-Am Games on July 23, 2015.She will be with the team until July 27.
“Anna’s success at the national level with Team USA, her experience catching both Stacy and Kelsie, and her experience playing wood-bat, men's league baseball made her a natural fit for this team and this project,” said Stompers general manager Theo Fightmaster, “She's exactly the kind of player Francis (Ford Coppola) was envisioning when he brought this endeavor our way. We’re excited to see what the women can do, and having Anna join the team is just the next step in the advancement of women in baseball. We only wish her schedule allowed her to be with the team for a longer period of time.”
The native of Fort Mill, South Carolina was a standout at the University of Alabama-Birmingham as a softball player during her college days, but has been waiting for this opportunity in baseball for a long time.
In a post on Twitter from July 14, Kimbrell announced she would be coming to the Wine Country to play the game she loves so much. “Excited to announce that I will be joining @StacyPiagno & @KelsieWhitmore w/ the @SonomaStompers #dreamsdocometrue”.
All three women will be stalwarts of the USWNT when they travel to South Korea in September to take part in the 2016 Women’s Baseball World Cup. It will be Whitmore’s first start of the season for the Stompers, but she has had experience pitching on the USWNT before, pitching to a 1.40 ERA during the 2015 Pan-Am Games.
Sonoma will host the Pittsburg Diamonds that evening, with the historic first pitch set for 6 p.m. Tickets are available online at StompersBaseball.com and can also be purchased at the Arnold Field box office beginning 45 minutes before the game.
ABOUT THE SONOMA STOMPERS
The Sonoma Stompers Professional Baseball Club was founded in 2014 and is a member of the Pacific Association of Professional Baseball Clubs. It plays its home games at Peoples Home Equity Ballpark at Arnold Field, just a block away from Sonoma’s historic plaza. The independent baseball club has had two players in its history signed by Major League Baseball organizations, as Sonoma’s own Jayce Ray was signed by the Boston Red Sox in 2015 and Santos Saldivar was signed by the Milwaukee Brewers shortly before the 2016 season. For more information on the team, visit StompersBaseball.com or visit the team’s Fan Shop located at 234 West Napa Street, Sonoma, CA 95476.
ABOUT VIRGINIA DARE WINERY
Virginia Dare Winery, American wines since 1835, pays tribute to America’s winegrowing heritage. The existence of the 400-year-old scuppernong “Mother Vine,” a variety of muscadine, growing on Roanoke Island, North Carolina is intertwined with the story of one of the first English settlements in the New World. The Colony later mysteriously disappeared without a trace, leaving nothing but a spellbinding story of mythical and mysterious characters – each of which grace the labels of Virginia Dare wines. Crafted with grapes from the finest viticulture regions in California, the wines are rich with characteristics befitting an American legend: Pure. Natural. Distinctive. Learn more by visiting Virginia Dare Winery located at 22281 Chianti Road, Geyserville, CA 95441.