SONOMA, Calif.– Zack Pace is the 2018 Pacific Association Manager of the Year, which was voted on by executives, coaches, and broadcasters. The Pacific Association has given Manager of the Year awards since 2014.
Pace led the Stompers to a league best 57-23 record and a championship appearance. This was Pace’s first season with the Stompers, and first professionally.
“I am thankful for the whole Stompers family. From Brett and the front office, host families, sponsors, fans, players, and everyone else involved. With great communication, we all worked hard towards our goals and doing the right thing. It was a pleasure to see a positive atmosphere daily created by everyone on the Stompers family,” said Manager Zack Pace.
Following a successful career of 11 years and 853 games played across the American Association, Frontier League and Pacific Association. Pace played five seasons for the San Rafael Pacifics and won three Pacific Association Championships with San Rafael, including the 2014 season in which he hit .321. Pace had a career .268 average, 810 hits in 3,019 at-bats. He stole 214 bases and finished with a lifetime on-base percentage of .402. The lefty attended college at Sonoma State and most recently coached at his alma mater under head coach John Goelz in 2007 and from 2014 to 2018.
Pace and the Stompers set the Pacific Association single season win total with 57, and an impressive .713 win percentage. “Zack and I shared the same vision from day one. We were able to execute our plans effectively and promote players to higher leagues as well… he exceeded my expectations, and is truly a vital asset of the Sonoma Stompers. From his on field demeanor to his off the field upbeat personality, he embodies the Sonoma culture,” said General Manager Brett Creamer.
Assisting Pace was Sonoma Stompers pitching coach Mike Nunes. Nunes played at Sonoma State in 2004 and was a graduate assistant in 2005, when current Stompers manager Zack Pace joined the Seawolves. After finishing his time as a GA, he pitched in 26 games for the Mesa Miners of the Golden Baseball League, recording a 3.83 ERA. Mike spent 2006 and 2007 with the Sioux City Explorers of the American Association, including the 2006 season with Pace. Since 2015, Nunes has been an assistant coach at Sonoma State, where he assists in coaching the pitching staff.
Wes Phillips rounded out the coaching staff for the 2018 season. Across four years of Division 1 and Junior College baseball, Phillips was a career .292 hitter with five home runs and 57 RBIs. The Wichita native spent 19 games with the Wichita Wingnuts of the American Association in 2017, where he collected nine hits and four runs scored. Phillips coached first base and played in two games with the Stompers during the 2018 season.
The Stompers have now won three of the past four Manager of the Year awards. Former Stomper skipper Takashi Miyoshi won the award in 2016, and shared the title with Vallejo Admirals Manager P.J. Phillips in 2017. Miyoshi spent the 2018 season as a bench coach with the Minnesota Twins Rookie affiliate where they won the Appalachian League championship.