SONOMA, Calif- The Sonoma Stompers were deadlocked with Napa 2-2 for the majority of the game before homering 3 times in the bottom of the 6th inning before eventually taking the game by a final of 10-4.
Jacob Cox (3-0) took the mound for the Stompers and was out into a jam right away in the top of the 1st inning. A hit and a walk put 2 runners on but Cox induced a strikeout and a pop up to strand runners at second and third.
Napa got on the board first in the top of the 2nd inning on a 2-run single off the bat of Justin Byrd, giving Napa an early 2-0 lead.
Brent Gillespie roped a leadoff double to open the last of the 2nd inning again Napa starter Billy Felo (4-3). With 1 out, Felo hit Rob DeAngelis to put runners at first and second. Felo then got Pedro Barrios to ground to shortstop but Salas threw the ball away, allowing Gillespie to score to make it 2-1, DeAngelis to go to third, and Barrios to go to second. Bronson Butcher then ripped an RBI single to left to tie the ballgame 2-2.
Jacob Cox (3-0), in his 2nd quality start in a row, tossed 6 innings while allowing just 3 hits, all of them in the first 2 innings, while allowing just 2 runs and striking out a career high 8.
His offense erupted in the bottom of the 6th inning off Billy Felo. Chris Kwitzer started the inning with a laser single off the foot of Napa first baseman Josh Montelongo. Gillespie then hit a towering 2-run bomb to right-center to give the Stompers a 4-2 lead, but they were not done yet. Jacob Barfield hit the very next pitch out to left, going back-to-back, extending the lead 5-2. The next pitch from Billy Felo wound up going behind DeAngelis which fired up the New York native, clearing the benches for the second straight night. After cooler heads finally did prevail, DeAngelis went down on strikes for the first out. After finally collecting an out, it was Nick Kern’s turn to pinch-hit against his former team. Kern promptly launched a no-doubt homer to left, his first of the season, giving the Stompers a 6-2 lead.
Napa Answered right back on Jordan Anderson’s 6th home run of the season to lead off the top of the 7th, cutting the lead 6-3 off Stompers reliever Ethan Gibbons( 2-2).
Napa looked to the bullpen for some help against the red-hot Stomper offense in the 7th, but nothing worked.
Andrew Fuentes came in and the Stompers continued to mash. Kwitzer led off the bottom of the 7th being hit by the pitch. Gillespie lined his second double of the game to left to set the table with runners at second and third with nobody out. Miles Williams pinch-hit for Barfield and drew a walk to load the bases. Tito Fuentes Jr was then forced to bring in the closer Rob Humes in the 7th.
Humes immediately allowed a 2-run double to DeAngelis who extended the lead 8-3. Kern and Butcher followed with back-to-back RBI groundout to put the Stompers ahead 10-3.
Josh Montolongo greeted Gibbons for the second inning in a row with a leadoff home run in the top of the 8th inning, closing the gap slightly 10-4.
Ryan Richardson (1-0) slammed the door in the 9thinning, collecting a pair of strikeouts to send the Stompers to their 3rd straight victory.
With just 18 games left, the Stompers magic number sits at 10 to clinch first place in the Pacific Association.
The Stompers are back in action on Sunday afternoon at 1:05 against the Salina Stockade.