Theo Fightmaster, Vice President & General Manager
Dear Sonoma Stompers Faithful,
After three seasons, a couple near misses, and more memories and incredible opportunities than we very likely deserve, the Sonoma Stompers are Pacific Association Champions!
The 2016 Stompers season was a roaring success.
We captured the franchise’s first title with a mark of 47-31, 16 games above 500, and six games better than league stalwarts, the San Rafael Pacifics. As an organization, we won our second and third League Half-Season titles – and let me remind you we’ve only played six half seasons in our existence. Our 47 wins were most in franchise history, and when Jose Flores struck out Brent Gillespie for the final out on Friday, Aug. 26, it marked the earliest a team had ever clinched the Pacific Association crown outright. But the success went beyond the box scores.
Thanks to Francis Ford Coppola, his extraordinary team at Virginia Dare Winery, and veteran broadcaster and baseball expert, Joe Castellano, the Stompers made national headlines (again) for the signing of Kelsie Whitmore, Stacy Piagno and Anna Kimbrell. The trio of women performed admirably while helping the Stompers become the first professional baseball team with multiple women on the roster since the Negro Leagues in the 1950s.
And of course, there was the great core of players who day in, day out simply outperformed the competition.
Charter members of the 2014 Stompers team; Matt Hibbert, Mike Jackson Jr., Joel Carranza, Derrick Fox and Erik Gonsalves were integral to this championship, and I’m thrilled that they played the role they did in bringing a title to Sonoma. Carranza led the Pacific Association in hitting, boasting a .316 batting average, and slugged 15 home runs (second most in the league), despite not joining the team until June 7.
2015 standouts Daniel Baptista, Gregory Paulino, Mark Hurley and Yuki Yasuda, along with newcomers like Flores, Taylor Thurber, Jose Flores, Mason Morioka, Juan Espinosa, Randy Santiestiban, Oliver Garcia, Chaz Meadows, Eddie More-Loera, and Caleb Bryson helped fortify a core of the most complete team we’ve had here in three years.
And thanks to the incredible dedication of Manager Takashi Miyoshi, Bench Coach Chris Matthews and Assistant G.M. of Baseball Operations, and Play-by-play man extraordinaire – Sonoma’s own Tim Livingston – we only got stronger in the season’s final weeks. The additions of Ryan Richardson, Randy Keen and Adam Ogburn bolstered our pitching staff. And late-season acquisition, Scott David, was the bolt of lightning that helped our lineup surge to the finish line.
Our ballpark staff was also in championship form this summer. In my estimation, we delivered the best fan experience in our three years. Our game day staff was courteous and hardworking, our concessions were made hot and fresh, with only the best ingredients we could find, thanks to our partners at Sonoma Market.
At the end of every season, we get to look in the mirror and say “that was the best summer of our lives,” but you should know that without your support – be it the season tickets you bought, the sponsorship you spend your hard-earned marketing dollars toward, the player (or players) you warmly hosted – this simply can’t happen.
A team like the Sonoma Stompers exist only because a community like you supports it. And we hope to continue to earn your support for many more seasons.
Vice President, General Manager