Geoff Safford, Media Relations Assistant
Sonoma’s clubhouse has not been as chipper as usually through the first four games of this week. The Stompers had taken four losses on the chin and were frustrated for good reason. One of the leaders in the clubhouse, Joel Carranza, addressed the entire team in frustration Friday after Sonoma’s crushing 13-0 defeat.
Baseball is an unforgiving game if a team gets into a funk. A team can get into a big hole fast if they do not make quick adjustments. Starting pitcher Mike Jackson Jr. came out on the mound with the weight of four losses on his shoulders and did not back down from the challenge. “It was very important for me to come out here and attack these guys on every pitch and every at bat to give the team confidence. I had to come out and dominate and do whatever I had to do to give our team this win,” said Jackson Jr.
Sonoma’s bats had been silenced in recent games, but found its rhythm Saturday at People’s Home Equity Ballpark at Arnold Field in an 8-2 victory over the Diamonds. They used the long ball to put five runs on the board in the first three innings. Mark Hurley’s towering homer in the third seemed like it was headed for Boyes Hot Springs and gave the Stompers a 5-0 advantage. Joel Carranza launched his eighth homer of the season to right center field to jumpstart the offense in the first to give Sonoma a 3-0 lead.
Mike Jackson Jr. has pitched in some low scoring affairs, and was very grateful for the help he received. “The offense helped me out a lot tonight. I told them to not put to put much pressure on themselves and just get the runs they could and that I’d take care of the rest. But my teammates gave me a lot of much needed help tonight,” said Jackson Jr.
Even with the reassurance to his teammates, Jackson Jr. did not need much help on this night, as he was superb in eight innings of work. Jackson Jr. allowed only three hits, one walk, and struck out eight to earn the victory for Sonoma. Both runs that scored on Jackson Jr. were unearned thanks to an error in the fourth. Jackson Jr. is 2-0 with a 0.52 ERA in his last two starts in 17 innings pitched.
The veteran used his knowledge of the game to his advantage in the win. “I’ve watched a lot of baseball over the years and have learned how to pitch in certain situations. Pittsburg is aggressive offensively and I saw they were chasing certain pitches so I kept attacking those spots. You just have to keep throwing that pitch, and if they help you out, they help you out,” said Jackson Jr.
Sonoma (26-21) will look to end the week on a high note by taking the series in the rubber match Sunday evening at 5 p.m. against the Diamonds (24-23). Taylor Thurber is scheduled to start and has pitched like an ace since being moved into the rotation, going 3-0 in three starts. This will be an important game to build momentum, as well, as 6 games against the San Rafael Pacifics looms next week.
Tickets for upcoming Stompers games are available on stompersbaseball.com. Stompers gear and tickets are also available inside The Fan Shop located at 234 West Napa Street. For more information about the team, contact the front office at email@example.com.