Geoff Safford, Media Relations Assistant
The Stompers entered the rubber match of the series against the Admirals with a little bit of uncertainty as starting pitcher Randy Keen made his Stompers debut on the mound Thursday for the Stompers. Not only was it Keen’s debut, but it came in a huge spot with the Stompers in the middle of a pennant race in the second half in the Pacific Association. But Keen proved that he was up to the challenge in a magnificent performance on the mound in the 6-1 win over the Admirals Thursday night at People’s Home Equity Ballpark.
Keen went the distance in his first start with the Stompers allowing only one run on four hits. Keen allowed a solo home run and two singles in the first inning. But after that point Keen slammed the door shut on the Admirals allowing only one more hit in the final eight innings.
Keen overwhelmed the Admirals by keeping the ball down and in the zone. Keen threw 74 of 107 pitches for strikes and struck out nine batters on the night. Even though Keen was making his debut, he and catcher Mason Morioka made it seem as though they had been working together for a while longer. Keen a native of Napa was able to put on a show in front of a lot of family and friends that were in attendance.
“I had a good feel of all my pitches and I knew I could put it wherever I wanted to. Morioka always knew the right pitch to call and we were on the same page all night,” said Keen. “I just wanted to come out here to help this team in any way I could. To pitch the way I did in front of family and friends was unbelievable. I feel numb right now; I can’t put into words how amazing of a moment this is for me.”
Sonoma’s offense provided more than enough help for Keen highlighted by a three hit night for Joel Carranza. Carranza was 3 for 5 with 3 driven in. Carranza gave the Stompers the lead in the third on a three run blast into right center field. It was Carranza’s fifteenth home run of the season which is tied for the most in the Pacific Association. Carranza also singled home a run in the seventh to extend the Stompers lead.
The Stompers (45-30, 22-14 second half) did not gain a game on the the San Rafael Pacifics (40-35, 19-17 second half) as they won in Pittsburg by a score of 10-3. That means the second half champion will be crowned in a weekend battle in San Rafael beginning Friday. If the Stompers win one of the final three games of the regular season at Albert Park, they will be champions of the Pacific Association for the first time in franchise history.