Stompers Defeat Diamonds in Dramatic Fashion in First Game of Season

 Sonoma Stompers catcher Issac Wenrich hits a home run against the Pittsburg Diamonds Friday to tie the Pacific Association season-opening game at three. Sonoma would go on to win 7-5 in the 11th. (James W. Toy III / Sonoma Stompers)

Sonoma Stompers catcher Issac Wenrich hits a home run against the Pittsburg Diamonds Friday to tie the Pacific Association season-opening game at three. Sonoma would go on to win 7-5 in the 11th. (James W. Toy III / Sonoma Stompers)

Hayley M. Slye / Media Relations

PITTSBURG, Calif.– The 2016 Pacific Association champion Sonoma Stompers Professional Baseball Club, presented by Virginia Dare Winery, opened the 2017 season with a hard-fought road victory over the Pittsburg Diamonds 7-5 Friday.

“To me, this is not only a one-game win,” said Stompers manager Takashi Miyoshi. “Opening day’s game, to win, it means a lot. I feel like I won ten games.”

The Stompers were down to their last three outs when catcher Isaac Wenrich sent a ball over the fence in right to tie the game at three.

“Earlier on in the game I was kind of struggling against that lefty, he had my number the whole night,” Wenrich said. “I thought to myself, just keep (my hands) inside… I just got lucky I didn’t miss it.”

The game went to the tenth inning, causing the Pacific Association’s new tie-breaker rule to apply. The Stompers began the frame with runners on first and second as Matt LoCoco laid down a sac bunt to set up a two-RBI double from Matt Hibbert.

Pittsburg responded with a two-RBI triple of their own before righty Adam Ogburn struck out two Diamonds to end the 10th.

“To give up a triple like that, it’s easy to get deflated and I actually saw him gain more confidence,” Wenrich said.

With the bases loaded in the top of the 11th, Eddie Mora-Loera sent a ball to the left field corner to give the Stompers another two-run lead, which proved to be the difference in the game.

“Bases loaded situation, pitcher’s got to come to me. I really was just trying to put a good swing on it and let the ball fall where it falls,” Mora-Loera said.  

Prior to Wenrich’s shot, Diamonds pitching had all but silenced the Stompers’ bats since the fifth. The Stompers responded with their own solid performances on the mound. Righties Jacob Cox and Ryan Richardson kept the Diamonds off the board as well in that span.

“We probably have the best bullpen in the league, and it showed tonight,” Wenrich said.

Wenrich ignited the Stompers in the first two innings of the game, throwing out a runner to end the first, then flipping a bloop single to left and stealing a base in the top of the second. Wenrich also scored the Stompers’ first run of the season as second baseman Kevin Farley knocked him in and collected his first professional hit and run batted in.

Mike Jackson Jr. started for the Stompers Friday and relied on solid Stompers defense early.

“He didn’t have his best stuff but he’s a bulldog, he battled through it,” Wenrich said.

Pittsburg went 36-42 last season, finishing third in the Pacific Association. Right-hander Juan Espinosa is scheduled to start the second game of the series at Winter Chevrolet Stadium Saturday at 5 p.m.

STOMPERS TICKETS

Opening Day at Peoples Home Equity Ballpark at Arnold Field is June 13. Tickets and merchandise are available now either online, at the fan shop at 234 W Napa Street or at the box office on game day.

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For more information, contact the front office at 707-938-7277.