Stompers defeat Napa, 3-2

NAPA, Calif.- On Tuesday, June 18, the Sonoma Stompers secured a 3-2 victory in a duel over the Napa Silverados at Miner Family Field in Napa.

Through four innings, Stomper right-hander Nick Barnese made quick work of the Silverado lineup, allowing only one hit and notching four strikeouts.

Napa starting pitcher Billy Felo commanded the early innings as well, holding the Stomper offense to two hits through four innings. Felo, who entered the game 0-1 with a 3.83 ERA, struggled in the fifth inning when Miles Williams hit a lead-off single followed by a Jacob Barfield double in the gap.

Catcher Bronson Butcher followed the hits with a base-on-balls, and shortstop Nick Kern hit an RBI-single in his first game back from a hamstring injury. Jacob Barfield found home plate on a pitch in the dirt that escaped Silverado catcher Nicco Toni, bringing the Stomper lead to 2-0. The offensive damage concluded with a sacrifice fly from designated hitter Pedro Barrios, which scored Butcher from third base.

The Silverado offense was able to respond in the bottom half of the inning, initiated by a ground-rule double by clean-up batter Jacob Bissell. Bissell eventually scored on a fielder’s choice by Nick Ultsch, but Barnese was able to stop the bleeding thereby striking out Sean Jackson to end the inning.

Both teams called on the bullpen for the seventh inning. Andrew Fernandez took the mound in the top half of the inning for Napa and sat down Sonoma in order, recording two strikeouts and a groundout to shortstop William Salas. Willie Ethington replaced Barnese for Sonoma, and made it through the bottom of the seventh flawlessly, getting three straight outs in only seven pitches.

Some excitement, however, arose in the bottom of the eighth inning, when Silverado first baseman Josh Montelongo crushed an opposite-field solo home run to right-center field, bringing the score to 3-2. The Stompers were unable to scratch across any more insurance runs in the top of the last inning, as Silverado reliever Mark Young Jr. struck out the side in order.

The Stompers brought out closer Jacob Cox to stifle any potential last-chance threats from the Napa offense in the bottom of the ninth. Cox faced the two-hole hitter Dakota Connors to begin what would be a climactic finish to the game. Connors roped a double to right field, followed by a five-pitch walk to Jordan Garr. After an overthrow from Sonoma catcher Bronson Butcher on an attempted back-pick to second base, Zack Pace and the Stomper coaching staff elected to intentionally walk Jacob Bissell to load the bases.

Cox then induced a third-to-home-to-first double play on a ground ball off the bat of Nicco Toni, securing two big outs for the Stomper defense. Cox then struck out Josh Montelongo in three straight pitches to end the comeback and the game.

With the road win, the Sonoma Stompers improve to 10-3 on the season, which leads the Pacific Association. The Napa Silverados fall to 4-9 and fourth in the division.