BIG BATS HELP STOMPERS SWEEP SILVERADOS

  The Sonoma Stompers celebrate after outfielder Kenny Meimerstorf hits a walk-off home run to secure the team’s sweep over the Napa Silverados on July 6th, 2018. (James W. Toy III / Sonoma Stompers)

The Sonoma Stompers celebrate after outfielder Kenny Meimerstorf hits a walk-off home run to secure the team’s sweep over the Napa Silverados on July 6th, 2018. (James W. Toy III / Sonoma Stompers)

SONOMA, Calif. – With two close losses opening up their homestand, the Sonoma Stompers focused their attention to one of the Pacific Association’s two newest teams, the Napa Silverados and looked to get back into the win column. The Stompers did just that, sweeping the Silverados with 8-6 and 9-8 wins Thursday and Friday.

Thursday’s game began on a high note as colon cancer survivor Casey Thornhill experienced the chance to live out a lifelong dream by pitching in a professional baseball game. Thornhill started the series opener against Napa and despite walking the leadoff hitter, exited the field to thunderous applause from the crowd.

One of Thornhill’s close friends, former San Francisco Giants pitcher Noah Lowry was on hand during the game to sign autographs for fans and support the game’s starting pitcher.

After a back-and-forth beginning, Lowry’s half-inning appearance on the radio broadcast in the bottom of the fourth inning coincided with the game’s turning point, as Rob DeAngelis’ first of two RBI singles with two outs in the game gave Sonoma a 4-3 lead.

“I’m trying to get good pitches to hit always and I’ve been seeing the ball well, so that’s been really helping,” DeAngelis said. “I’m just trying to get a lead for the team.”

Behind a strong combined pitching effort from Brandon Erickson, Vijay Patel, D.J. Sharabi and Jacob Cox, the Stomper offense added insurance in the seventh and eighth innings to hold on and win 8-4.

DeAngelis and Miles Williams both experienced two-hit, multi-RBI days, with Williams crushing his sixth home run of the season in the second inning, at the time giving Sonoma a 2-1 lead. Patel earned his fourth victory of the season win after 3.2 innings of one-run relief.

After the late-inning insurance Thursday, the offense exploded quickly Friday, with the Stompers scoring six runs in the first inning. The first seven hitters reached base in that inning and Kenny Meimerstorf added an early bang when the cleanup hitter connected for his third grand slam of the season to help the game’s cause.

While Napa slowly chipped away, starter Juan Espinosa quietly turned in one of his best starts of the season, throwing seven innings and allowing just five hits and walking one batter.

That walk ended a season streak of 43 straight batters faced without issuing a walk for the right-hander, the second longest such streak in 2018 for Stompers pitchers, trailing only Dominic Topoozian’s 69 earlier this year.

Even though Napa took an 8-6 lead in the top of the eighth, Sonoma capitalized in the bottom half, tying the game on a Napa fielding error.

After D.J. Sharabi pitched a scoreless ninth inning, Meimerstorf prevented his team from heading into extra innings for the sixth time in 2018, instead sending a fly ball deep into the Sonoma night sky for a walk-off solo home run, the Stompers’ fifth walk-off of the year.

Additionally, the shot was Meimerstorf’s second homer of the game, his 11th of the season and second walk-off this year.

“He threw me all fastballs that AB, trying to attack me and I just sat on one and got ahold of it,” Meimerstorf said. “It’s always fun hitting one [home run], when you hit two, it’s even better.”

Entering the weekend red-hot, Sonoma turns their attention to a Martinez Clippers team currently in their best stretch of the season. The Clippers come to town for two, with Saturday’s game being a 6:05 p.m. start and Sunday’s scheduled to begin at 1:05 p.m.