Hayley M. Slye / Director of Media Relations
PITTSBURG, Calif.– The Sonoma Stompers Professional Baseball Club, presented by Virginia Dare Winery, became the only team in Pacific Association history to reach 50 wins in a season with an 8-0 victory over the Pittsburg Diamonds on Tuesday.
Sonoma starter Erik Gonsalves pitched a complete-game shutout, the first of his career, to ensure a Stompers victory at a critical moment in the season.
“I just tried to get into the seventh and keep it as close as possible for my team to stay in there and win the ballgame,“ Gonsalves said. “I try to just go one pitch at a time.”
With the Vallejo Admirals defeating the San Rafael Pacifics on Tuesday, the Stompers remain tied with Vallejo at the top of the Pacific Association standings with just two regular season games left to play.
“He pitched a hell of a game, saved our bullpen,” said left fielder Brennan Metzger. “We may need them these next couple games to grind out a couple of wins, so for him to come in there and just shut the whole thing down was awesome.”
Metzger also contributed a solo shot to left field, his fourth home run in three games. Coming into Saturday, he had hit just three in 62 games on the season.
“I started watching some video of myself from a couple years ago and just realized what my hand position was and noticed that I’ve been a little bit lower,” Metzger said. “So I tried to go back to the higher hand slot and it’s working out really well.”
A methodical approach at the plate and solid defense also helped the Stompers stay afloat in a game in which they recorded five hits but drew 13 walks.
“That just goes to show our approach. We’re going to be patient at the plate, we’re not going to swing at bad pitches and we’re going to stick to what we do best. We were able to apply pressure without getting hits today so it worked out well,” Metzger said.
Three inning-ending double plays made three quick innings for Gonsalves, who scattered four hits and issued three walks.
“The defense helped me out big time,” Gonsalves said. “Without those outs, I’m probably not even going in the seventh inning.”
With the victory, the Stompers improve to 50-26 on the season, 22-15 in the second half. If the Stompers aren’t in first come Thursday night, a championship game will be held at Peoples Home Equity Ballpark on Friday at 7:05 p.m.
“We know we’re in a battle right now with Vallejo and what they do is out of our control. The only thing we can control is us,” Metzger said. “This was a big one for us to get off on the right foot.”
Tickets for a possible championship game 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.