Geoff Safford, Media Relations Assistant
With the Stompers having already clinched the Pacific Association title, there wasn’t a whole lot on the line in the game Saturday night at Albert Park. Many of the normal starters were not in the lineup and three pitchers took the field on defense. Pitcher Erik Gonsalves also hit for himself in the lineup. The game Saturday was not played for records or championships, but for the pure love for the game of baseball that these players have. It showed on the field in a 10-5 win over the Pacifics
Starter Nick DeBarr entered the sixth inning with a three run lead. But the Stompers offense had another big rally in them to come roaring back. Six Stompers hitters in a row reached with the tying run coming in on an RBI single by Adam Ogburn. Erik Gonzalves came to the plate after Ogburn with two runners on. On the first pitch of the at bat, Gonzalves launched his first home run of the season over the left field wall to give his team a three run cushion. All of the pitchers had eight RBIs combined. Jose Flores also doubled into deep left center field in the ninth to add on three insurance runs. For one night this group of pitchers went out and just enjoyed themselves, and had fun playing the game they loved.
“That was one of the most fun I’ve had in my life. That’s what happens when a group of players have fun, good things happen,” said Gonsalves. “I took two steps out of the box and realized that it was going to go out. I will always remember the game tonight because I was able to hit my first home run as a professional.”
Gonzalves also picked up the win for the Stompers pitching seven innings allowing two earned runs. Gonzalves in the process became the first Stomper in the history of the franchise to hit a home run, and pick up a win as a pitcher in the same game. Evan Neiser and Sean Conroy pitched two shutout innings to close the door on the Pacifics with Conroy striking out the side to put a bow on the game in the ninth.
The Stompers (47-30, 24-14 second half) will take the field for the final time in 2016 Sunday afternoon at Albert Park in the series finale against the Pacifics (40-37 19-19 second half). Sonoma has won eight in a row against the Pacifics in the second half, and will go for their third straight series sweep of the Pacifics. Sonoma had won three games all season at Albert Park coming into the series. It will not be a game that features talk of a pennant race or second half records, but if it is anything like the game Saturday it sure will be entertaining.