SONOMA, Calif- The Sonoma Stompers needed every bit of contribution in a hard-fought dogfight against the San Rafael Pacifics and in the end came out of the pile victorious 5-4.
Vijay Patel (2-0) took the hill after his historic performance in his last start but he did not have his A-game against the Pacifics.
Patel hit Mike Annone to open the top of the 2nd inning who later came around to score on a Dante Biagini RBI to put San Rafael out to an early 1-0 lead.
In the home half of the 2nd inning Pedro Barrios lined a 1-out single through the infield for the first Stomper hit. Jacob Barfield, in his first start this year at first base, launched his 5th homerun of the season to left field which gave the Stompers a 2-1 lead.
Patel struggled in the top of the 5th inning allowing 3 runs. 2 on a 2-out 2-run flare double by Axel Johnson down the right field line; then an unearned run when Jimmy Lunardelli bounced to Nick Kern at third base who then threw it away to allow the run to score and give San Rafael a 4-2 lead.
The Stompers offense quickly answered in the last of the 5th inning. Kern redeemed himself with a leadoff single and advanced to second base on a Chip White (1-1) wild pitch. After Nick Gotta grounded to short and Miles Williams struck out, Rob DeAngelis was hit by a pitch. With runners at first and second Dondrei Hubbard doubled to center field to bring Kern home and bring the Stompers within 1. In a 3-1 count, Brent Gillespie doubled down the right field line, past a diving Johnson at first base, to bring home DeAngelis and Hubbard to give the Stompers a 5-4 lead.
Patel lasted just 4.2 innings while allowing 4 runs, 3 earned, on 5 hits and struck 4 with 3 walks.
Willie Ethington (1-0) threw 3.1 masterful innings out of the pen, allowing just 2 measly hits. Still in a 1-run game in the 9th, Manager Zack Pace brought in the closer Ryan Richardson who struck out the side for his third save in as many tries and bringing the Stompers to a league best 15-5.
The Stompers are back home next Tuesday July 2 for Napa night and then again on July 4th where fans can enjoy fireworks in the field after the game.
Tickets can be purchased at stompersbaseball.com.