STOMPERS CLINCH FIRST PLACE, TIE LEAGUE WINS RECORD

  Bronson Butcher drive in the go-ahead run in the eighth inning of the Sonoma Stompers game against the Napa Silverados, August 28, 2018 in Napa, Calif.(James W. Toy III / Sonoma Stompers)

Bronson Butcher drive in the go-ahead run in the eighth inning of the Sonoma Stompers game against the Napa Silverados, August 28, 2018 in Napa, Calif.(James W. Toy III / Sonoma Stompers)

NAPA, Calif. – Now winners of 54 games in 2018, the Sonoma Stompers clinched first place in the Pacific Association regular season standings, while also tying the league’s record for wins in a season with their 13-4 victory over the Napa Silverados.

The game began as a pitcher’s duel, with neither team scoring in the first three innings. Innings four through six saw just four combined runs scored, but with time running out, the Stompers tied the game in the seventh and took control in the eighth.

Tyler Sharp delivered another good outing, striking out seven over five innings of two-run ball. He did not walk anyone and gave up just three hits.

Cole Watts and D.J. Sharabi followed him in the game, keeping the offense within reach.

Tim Henry drove in his first run as a Stomper on a sacrifice fly in the fourth but the hitters struggled to score runs until the seventh when walks to Rayson Romero and Marcus Bradley proved costly to the Silverados, as both later scored in the inning to tie the game.

Sonoma sent 15 batters to the plate in the eighth inning and scored nine runs on the power of an error, two hit batters, three hits and six walks.

The first nine batters in the inning reached base with Bronson Butcher giving the Stompers a 5-3 lead on a 2-RBI bases-loaded single. Romero was hit by a pitch to load the bases once more and the next three Stompers walked with the bases loaded to bring home three more runs.

Up five runs, 8-3, Brock Hartley punctuated the inning with a grand slam to increase the lead further. Sonoma loaded the bases again but held off scoring more until the ninth when the Stompers added their 13th run of the game.

Jacob Cox pitched the ninth inning, giving up a run but holding the end of of the game down for the 13-4 victory.

“I’m proud of these guys, they battled all the way through,” Stompers manager Zack Pace said. “They found a way to battle back like they always do. I was hoping we were going to score some runs there and we put up the nine-spot, I got to breath a little bit and relax a little bit.”

With first place clinched, the Stompers turn their attention to preparing for postseason play, which begins Saturday, Sept. 1.