Geoff Safford, Media Relations Assistant
The Sonoma Stompers had an abnormal start to their Sunday against the Pacifics. Not only were they playing on the road in a game that was rescheduled from June 16, but also there was a cow-milking contest on the field before the game. The odd beginning must not have fazed Gregory Paulino as he turned in a pitching performance for the ages in game one of the home and away double header.
The righty Paulino from the Dominican Republic was absolutely dominant and retired the first 18 batters he faced. With the game being a shortened seven-inning contest, Paulino had a chance to pitch a seven-inning perfect game. In the fourth inning, Paulino got two of San Rafael’s toughest hitters in Brent Gillespie and Miakel Jova to break their bats in consecutive at bats. Jova’s bat splintered at the hands and went flying up the third base line. As the game progressed, it was clear that Paulino was doing something special.
Zack Pace broke up the perfect game in the seventh inning with a single to center field on the first pitch of the inning. Paulino was able to eventually settle in and finished the game off without allowing a run. Paulino allowed two hits total and struck out three to carry Sonoma to a 2-0 victory over San Rafael in game one at Albert Park.
Sonoma was able to do just enough offensively thanks in part to aggressive base running. Sonoma finished with three steals in the game with their aggressive approach. Sonoma scored both of their runs via groundouts with runners at third. The victory gave Sonoma momentum as they headed back to Sonoma for game two of the doubleheader Sunday night. Sonoma (16-13) had also tied San Rafael for first in the Pacific Association, which meant game two would decide who would lead the Pacific Association.
Everything seemed to be going the Stompers way early during game two. Sonoma’s offense was clicking, and Mike Jackson Jr. got off to a good start on the hill. Sonoma looked poised to take the lead back. But San Rafael would never go away, and Sonoma let a golden opportunity slip through their fingers.
A five-run sixth inning for San Rafael was the key to the game. Brent Gillespie launched a three run bomb over the right field wall off Austin Delmotte to cap the huge rally, and put San Rafael on top 8-6. Sonoma led 6-0 after the third inning but the Pacifics would not be denied and responded with three runs in the third and the five run rally in the fifth to put themselves in the lead.
Sonoma would battle back with their backs against the wall trailing by three runs at 9-6 with a three run rally to tie in the bottom of the seventh. But Sonoma’s bullpen could not keep the Stompers in the game and San Rafael took down Sonoma 11-9 in eight innings.
This was the second largest deficit Sonoma had given up this season, and San Rafael seemed destined to win this game. They did not pack it in after the Stompers jumped out to an early lead, and were able to battle back and weathered a Stompers comeback attempt to hold on for the win. The Pacifics (17-13) now lead the Stompers (16-14) by one game in the Pacific Association. San Rafael will have an off day tomorrow before taking on the Vallejo Admirals in their next series Tuesday.
Sonoma will have no time to think about Sunday’s tough loss as they will be back in action Monday for the Fourth of July holiday to face the Pittsburg Diamonds. It will be the first game of a three game series. Game one will be at People’s Home Equity Ballpark at Arnold Field, and the final two games will be in Pittsburg.
Jose Flores is scheduled to get the ball Monday for the Stompers. The Stompers usually enjoy an off day on Mondays, but will not get a day off until Thursday. It will be imperative that starters pick up the slack to make up for the lack of rest.
Tickets for the special Fourth of July matchup are still available on StompersBaseball.com. Fan Merchandise, and tickets are also available inside The Fan shop located at 234 West Napa Street. For more information, contact the Stompers at email@example.com.