SONOMA, Calif- The Sonoma Stompers notched their second walk-off win of the season on Friday night, coming back from being down 10-4, to walking it off in the bottom of the 10th inning.
Early and often scoring was the theme for both sides on Friday night. Napa got on the board early in the top of the 1st inning again Stomper right-hander Jacob Cox (3-0). Dakota Conners led off the game with a triple off the right-center field wall and scored on a wild pitch to give Napa a 1-0 lead. Cox then walked Sean Jackson on 4 pitches before giving up a 2-run homer to Josh Montelongo, his league-leading 17th, putting Napa up 3-0.
The Stompers answered quickly in the bottom of the 1st inning. Nick Gotta walked on 4 pitches against Napa starter Gabe Katich (0-0). Jacob Barfield promptly doubled into the left field corner to put men at 2nd and 3rd. Chris Kwitzer drove them both home with a single up the middle, making it a 3-2 ballgame after 1 inning of play.
The Stompers took the lead in the bottom of the 3rd inning. Gotta led off the inning with a triple to deep center. Kwitzer walked and with 2 outs Gotta scored on a base hit from Miles Williams to tie the game. With 2 men on, Pedro Barrios reached on an error by Nunez at second base to load the bases. Enjoying his 31st birthday, Matt Hibbert drove in his 2nd run of the season with a walk, giving the Stompers a 4-3 lead.
Napa regained the lead in the top of the 4th inning when Conners hit his 1st home run of the season, a 3-run shot to left off Cox, giving Napa a 6-4 lead.
The Silverados continued to put up runs on Cox in the 5th. After 2 quick outs, Cox allowed a base hit to Brian Morley and walked Dom Bethancourt before Nick Ultsch lined a 2-run double down the left field line, extending the Napa lead 8-4.
Cox finished after tossing 4 2/3 innings, allowing 8 runs on 9 hits while striking out 1 and walking 3.
Willie Ethington (4-0) was the first Stomper out of the bullpen in the 5th.
In the 6th inning Napa’s lead grew even larger. Ethington walked Jackson to open the inning, then a base hit and a hit batsman loaded the bases for Brian Morely who picked up his first RBI of the season on a fielder’s choice to make it 9-4. A wild pitch brought another run home as Napa continued to pour it on, 10-4.
The Stompers offense went back to work in the bottom of the 6th inning against Katich. Hibbert reached to open the inning on an error by Conners at shortstop, opening the door. Bronson Butcher singled and Rayson Romero followed with a walk to load the bases. A wild pitch from Katich allowed a run to score and everyone to move up 90 feet, making it a 10-5 ballgame. Gotta grounded out to second base for the first out, driving in Hibbert to bring the score to 10-6. With 2 outs, Kwitzer drove in Romero from 3rd, Kwitzer’s 3rd RBI of the game, narrowing the Napa lead to just 10-7.
Katich’s night ended after 6 innings where he allowed 7 runs, 5 earned, om 8 hits while striking out 5.
With 1 out in the bottom of the 7th inning, Barrios doubled and went to third base on a wild pitch. Hibbert worked another walk and Butcher was hit to load the bases with 1 out. Romero then hit a sacrifice fly to left-center, driving in Barrios to make it just a 2-run game, 10-8.
The sidearm right hander Kyle Chavez (1-2) came into the game in the bottom of the 8th inning and retired both hitter he faced, stranding a runner at third to send us to the 9thin a 2-run game.
Ryan Richardson (2-0) tossed a 1-2-3 top of the 9th, keeping the deficit where it was and giving the Stompers offense a chance against Chavez in the bottom half.
Hibbert struck out to open the inning and Butcher brought the tying run to the plate after he singled. Romero was then called out in strikes for the 2nd out of the inning. Gotta worked a walk against Chavez to put the tying run on base for Barfield who singled to left to load the bases with 2 outs. In a 1-2 count, Kwitzer bounced a single into center field, scoring Butcher from third and Gotta from second as the Stompers came all the way back from down 10-4 to 10-10 in the bottom of the 9th. Rob DeAngelis popped up to end the 9th and send the Stompers to their first extra-innings game of the season.
With the international tie-breaker rule, in extra-innings each team starts with runners at first and second base with nobody out. so by rule, Napa placed the last 2 batters of the previous inning, Jordan Anderson at 2nd and Willie Salas at first to start the inning.
Richardson went back to the mound to try and keep it tied in the 10th. Before he even threw a pitch the Stompers got the first out as Richardson threw to Gotta at second to pick off Anderson for the first out of the inning. he then got Conners to hit a soft line drive to Romero at shortstop for the second out and he struck out Jordan Garr to end the inning, keeping the game tied 10-10.
By rule, the Stompers placed Kwitzer at second base and DeAngelis at first base to open the inning. with Chavez still on the mound, he faced Williams to start the innings and he hit Williams on the first pitch to load the bases. Pedro Barrios then stepped in and lined a 1-1 pitch into left-center field to walk it off and give the Stompers their second walk-off win of the season, both coming against the Napa Silverados.
The Stompers are now 37-14 and with a San Rafael loss, the magic number to clinch first place in the Pacific Association is now 5.
The Stompers are back home Saturday night against the Salina Stockade at 6:05.