STOMPERS BLANK DIAMONDS TO ADVANCE TO CHAMPIONSHIP

  Ethan Gibbons throws a pitch in the Sonoma Stompers game against the Pittsburg Diamonds, September 1, 2018 in Sonoma, Calif.(James W. Toy III / Sonoma Stompers)

Ethan Gibbons throws a pitch in the Sonoma Stompers game against the Pittsburg Diamonds, September 1, 2018 in Sonoma, Calif.(James W. Toy III / Sonoma Stompers)

SONOMA, Calif. – After a shutout to end the regular season, the Sonoma Stompers continued their pitching prowess, keeping the Pittsburg Diamonds off the board Saturday night for a 5-0 victory in the Pacific Association semifinal game, advancing themselves to the league championship Sunday.

Joseph Broderick’s magic from Friday transferred to Ethan Gibbons, who pitched six shutout innings, allowing only three hits in the first postseason victory in the history of the franchise.

“I just wanted to attack the hitters and give our team the chance to win today,” Gibbons said. “That’s all you can ask out of your starting pitcher and I was happy I was able to do that.”

Gibbons was relieved by Vijay Patel, who after starting nine games during the 2018 season pitched three scoreless frames out of the bullpen with three strikeouts to seal the victory and earn a save.

Patel’s three innings continued a scoreless stretch from the staff, a streak of 21 scoreless innings dating back to Thursday’s game against San Rafael.

The offense came alive early in the game, tagging Diamonds starter and former Major League Baseball pitcher Travis Blackley for two runs in the second inning. Bronson Butcher singled to score Brock Hartley and Marcus Bradley brought home Butcher a few batters later with a single of his own to give the Stompers a 2-0 lead.

Sonoma added more in the third when Daniel Baptista reached on an error that scored Rob DeAngelis and Kenny Meimerstorf came home on a Butcher sacrifice fly.

Hartley connected for a solo home run in the fifth inning, adding insurance for good measure and making him one of two players, along with Butcher, to record two hits in the game.

Six different Stompers recorded hits in the victory as the team looks to continue the trend of all-around effort into Sunday.

In a rematch of the 2018 Pacific Association championship game, Sonoma will face the San Rafael Pacifics, this time playing host to their league rivals.

 “Tomorrow we’ve just got to come out like we did today and I think we’ll be just fine,” Hartley said. “The pitching is great, we have a fresh bullpen after the last couple of days and I like our chances.

The Stompers went 8-8 against the Pacifics in 2018, including a 6-2 record in Sonoma. The San Rafael won the right to face Sonoma after a close 3-2 victory over the Vallejo Admirals Saturday evening.

First pitch Sunday will be at 7:05 p.m. from Palooza Park at Arnold Field with the game’s winner taking home the Pacific Association title.