“It was like a fireworks show, it was fun,” said designated hitter Joel Carranza “Everybody was relaxed, and that’s the key to our success”
A seventh-inning grand slam by the Pacifics’ Ricky Gingras drowned a Sonoma lead Friday, but Manager Takashi Miyoshi’s Stompers used the long ball to put San Rafael in deep water early Saturday.
“(Miyoshi) let us know that obviously wasn’t good enough, and we had to come in with a little better focus today,” said catcher Isaac Wenrich. “Yoshi always sticks with us. The coolest part about it is he never shows the emotion to knock us down, it’s always to build us back up and today was just a testament to that.”
In the first at bat of the game, Matt Hibbert hit a solo shot to left. Pacifics starter Ben Herrick gave up two home runs, two hits and three walks before recording an out against the Stompers. The start was the first of the Sonoma State product’s professional baseball career.
“It’s always fun to open up on a big inning against the Pacifics. There’s such a rivalry between us,” Carranza said.
One of those home runs came off the bat of Carranza, the reigning Pacific Association Most Valuable Player. The shot tied former Pittsburg Diamond and San Rafael Pacific Mike Taylor’s all-time Pacific Association record for career home runs. Carranza has been with the team since its expansion year of 2014. He lead the league in home runs that season.
“It’s quite a feat to accomplish. It’s one of the best feelings, besides winning the championship,” Carranza said. “Now it’s to take that step and (break the record.) Hopefully it will happen tomorrow.”
The Stompers hit five home runs in the game, two from Isaac Wenrich. Kevin Farley also recorded his first professional home run in the sixth to give the Stompers a 19-5 lead.
Two San Rafael outfielders (Kyle Aide and Brandon Montalvo) took the mound in the matchup.
“Baseball can change so easily from one day to the next. You can be 0 for 4 one day with three Ks and the next day you can have two or three extra base hits,” Farley said.
In the series, the Stompers and Pacifics have combined for 10 home runs. Sonoma will return to San Rafael for a 1:05 p.m. series-deciding game Sunday for a rubber match featuring 2016 Pacific Association Pitcher of the Year Patrick Conroy against Ty’Relle Harris, who has emerged as a dominant force on the mound since his Stompers debut June 7.
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