Hayley M. Slye / Director of Media Relations
Vallejo, Calif.– The Sonoma Stompers Professional Baseball Club, presented by Virginia Dare Winery, evened a series against the Vallejo Admirals crucial in deciding the Pacific Association second half with a strong 9-5 victory on Saturday night.
“That team over there, is really good and If we don’t silence them early, they crawl back into ballgames, and that’s what they did,” said catcher Daniel Comstock. “Baseball is a game of momentum and I think we did a good job of keeping it on our side tonight.”
Comstock and Brennan Metzger combined to make a loud statement in the second off of Vallejo starter Brent Adheen, firing a pair of two-run home runs over the outfield fence to put Sonoma up 4-0. Metzger hit another home run in the fifth, his fifth of the year.
“I was up there and just couldn’t find a way to get the barrel on it and finally I got (the first one) connected and it felt pretty good. It feels good when you hit the ball hard,” Metzger said. “I was watching some video of myself last night and just tried to take some of those things I was watching and bring it into the game today.”
Vallejo answered back with one run in the second and three in the third, tying the game at four. First baseman Graylin Derke collected three RBIs by the third inning off of Sonoma starter Scott Plaza, one a solo shot to right field. Derke’s jack was one of five in the contest.
Plaza went seven innings, keeping the Admirals scoreless in four of them and protecting a Sonoma lead that gained one run in each of the middle innings. RBI base hits from Derke and Nick Akins Sr. made the third the Admirals’ only multi-run inning.
“That was awesome, that’s a real easy situation for a pitcher to just kind of fall and crumble when things aren’t going his way, but he stuck with his stuff and grinded through it and gave us seven great innings tonight,” Metzger said.
The Stompers did not let up. Sonoma worked reliever Alex Fishberg for four straight walks in the sixth. In the eighth, Matt LoCoco hit a leadoff triple, setting the stage for Matt Hibbert to drive him in. An error allowed Sonoma to take a 9-5 lead in the frame.
Reliever DJ Sharabi came in for plaza in the eighth and sent the remainder of the Admirals back to the dugout in order. Plaza and Sharabi’s efforts were backed by Masa Miyadera’s solid defense at third base.
“Masa playing defense, making fundamental plays every time, that was game-changing. Some of the plays he made tonight saved us,” said manager Takashi Miyoshi. “If we go into a playoff game, defense and pitching always win games. This game to me, was huge, because now I know how to be ready for that one game.”
With the victory, the Stompers improve to 20-15 at one game back in the Pacific Association standings and nullify the chance of Vallejo clinching the second half over the weekend.
Sonoma sends starter Ty’Relle Harris to the mound Sunday at 1:05 p.m., looking to take the series and move back into a tie for first.
“Playoff time, we see everyone get intense, everybody trying to do too much, everybody wants to score. But the key to win a playoff game in a time like this, we just have to stay who we are and stick to our strengths,” Miyoshi said.
Tickets for a possible championship game in Sonoma and Stompers merchandise are available now either online or at the fan shop at 234 W Napa Street in downtown Sonoma. For more information, please contact the front office at 707-938-7277, or email email@example.com.