SONOMA, Calif.- The Sonoma Stompers welcomed the unbeaten Napa Silverados to Palooza Park at Arnold Field for the first time Sunday night. Even with defensive struggles throughout, the Stompers offense kept them ahead, notching the club’s first win of 2019, 9-4.
Henry Omana started on the hill for Manager Zack Pace and did not disappoint, shutting down the first three hitters in the Silverado line-up, while collecting two strikeouts in the first inning. Leaps and bounds above the pitching struggles the Stompers had on opening night.
Right hander Billy Felo started for Tito Fuentes Jr’s Silverados and ran into a brick wall that is the Stompers line-up. Right away, second baseman Nick Gotta worked a five-pitch walk to open the game to put an early runner on. Miles Williams was then hit by an 0-2 fastball to put a runner in scoring position. Chris Kwitzer then hit a soft bouncer to Malvin Nunez at second who bobbled the ball initially, then flipped it over the head of Salas at shortstop and into center field, allowing Gotta to come around all the way around and score the game’s first run.
After the error put runners at the corners Dondrei Hubbard hit his second home run of the season on a 3-2 hanging curveball which he deposited over the bleachers in straight away left field, capping off the Stompers 4-run first inning.
After another 1-2-3 top of the second inning for Omana, it was clear that the right was dealing, already tallying four punchouts.
Gotta began the bottom of the second in the same fashion as the first, a walk. Williams then worked a full-count walk to put runners at first and second. After a Kwitzer flyout, Hubbard grounded to Napa third baseman Dominic Bethancourt whose wild throw to first scored Gotta, extending the Stompers lead to 5-0. Brock Hartley grounded out to second to score Williams and the Stompers led 6-0 after just two innings of play.
Napa answered in the top of the third inning on an opposite field two-run home run off the bat of shortstop Willie Salas, cutting the Stompers lead to 6-2.
Omana left the game after just four innings of work but they were spectacular. He allowed only the two runs on five hits while striking out a whopping nine Silverados.
Nobody came across to score in the fifth inning for either side as Felo seemed to find a groove and Stompers lefty Cole Watts appeared for the first time, working a 1-2-3 top of the fifth.
Napa’s luck changed in the sixth when they were able to capitalize on four walks issued by first-year Stomper Luke Laurita. Both runs in the inning were unearned for Laurita as a pair of errors were also committed, allowing Napa to close the gap, 6-4.
Felo finished with five innings, allowing six runs but only four earned. Carlos Guzman was first out of the bullpen for Fuentes in the bottom of the sixth inning. After allowing a leadoff single to Stompers backstop Bronson Butcher, Guzman surrendered back-to-back walks to load the bases, forcing Fuentes to make another call to the bullpen.
Kyle Chavez was the new pitcher for Napa. He forced Gotta to ground out to shortstop, but driving in a run and making it a 7-4 ballgame. Williams then drove a 2-1 fastball to deep centerfield, easily scoring both runners and inflating the lead to 9-4 which is where it stayed.
The Stompers conclude their homestand to open the year with games against the San Rafael Pacifics on Tuesday night and against the Valljeo Admirals on Wednesday night, both at 6:05pm at Palooza Park at Arnold Field.