Tim Livingston, Assistant GM, Baseball Ops & Media
Kelsie Whitmore was 0 for 2 when she came to the plate in the fourth inning. It was her first game back after some time away from the Sonoma Stompers, and she was leading off and playing left field on Wednesday afternoon in Sonoma's road matchup with the San Rafael Pacifics.
The Stompers hadn't gotten off to a good start in the game, and Whitmore's at-bat held some importance. Runners were at first and second, and with two outs, it was up to the 18 year old to try and put Sonoma on the board after two trips through the lineup with nothing to show for it.
Down 0 and 2 to Pacifics starter Patrick Conroy, Whitmore was patient at the plate and didn't chase, not even offering at an off speed pitch in the dirt which had struck her out in her previous at bat. When the count was full, Conroy's only choice was to challenge her with the runners going on the pitch.
Whitmore was up for the challenge.
She sharply grounded one through the hole in the right side, and as it got to the outfield grass, it was a historic trajectory both for Whitmore and her team. It was her first professional hit, and in Sonoma's case, it was an opportunity to get on the board.
Daniel Baptista rounded third and headed for home, but after sliding feet first with Maikel Jova's throw coming in, a close call went against the Stompers. Baptista was out, and the Stompers still remained without a run on the day.
Sonoma ended up falling to the Pacifics, 4-2, but Whitmore's single proved to be a highlight that transcended the final score. It was another step forward in the joint venture by the Stompers and Virginia Dare Winery that gives women an opportunity to play professional baseball. The fact the hit came in the situation it did was tremendous for the team, even if the controversial call at the plate dulled some of the excitement.
After her hit, Whitmore's Stomper teammates excitedly yelled to have the ball thrown their way so that she could have the ball she recorded her first hit with. On a Wednesday afternoon with dozens of kids looking on at a Kids Day promotion for the Pacifics, the fans roared with approval, roaring again when it was announced over the PA that it was indeed her first hit.
The other side of the story is that the Stompers lost again to the Pacifics, their eighth loss in 11 games against San Rafael this season. They left nine runners on base and had a couple of situations with runners in scoring position where they couldn't cash in.
Sonoma will get their opportunity to bounce back against the Pacifics back in the friendly confines of People's Home Equity Ballpark on Thursday evening when they take on San Rafael in the series finale at 6 p.m. Gregory Paulino will get the start for the Stompers against Patrick Barnett.
Tickets are available for the game online at StompersBaseball.com and can also be purchased at the Arnold Field box office 45 minutes before first pitch. It's recommended that people intending to sit in the grandstand behind home plate purchase their tickets ahead of time.
For more information on the Stompers, visit the team's Fan Shop located at 234 West Napa Street in downtown Sonoma or email the team at info@StompersBaseball.com.