SONOMA, Calif- The Sonoma Stompers awaited their opponent for the championship series on Friday night and for the 4th time in the last 5 years, it was San Rafael. The Pacifics have beaten the Stompers in 2 of the last 3 playoff meetings.
Both starters looked unhittable through the first 3 innings, or was it the sputtering offenses. San Rafael jumped out to an early lead in the top of the 4th inning. After Vijay Patel (7-1) got a quick first out, he walked Yeiler Peguero and hit Axel Johnson. With 2 outs, Zane Gelphman drove in the pair with a single, putting San Rafael out in front 2-0. Another hit and a hit-by-pitch loaded the bases and knocked Patel out of the game.
Marshall Shill (1-0) was the first out of the bullpen for manager Zack Pace. Shill hit Montelongo with the bases loaded to bring in a 3rdrun in the inning and give the Pacifics a 3-0 lead.
The Stompers responded in the bottom of the 5th inning against Justin Watland (3-0). A Bronson Butcher leadoff single and a 1-out walk by Nick Gotta brought they tying run to the plate. On a 1-0 pitch, Jacob Barfield launched a laser home run to left-center field, tying the game 3-3.
After a clean inning from Jacob Cox (3-0), Lenny Gwizdala (0-2) came into the game in the 7th. After striking the first man out, Gwizdala got Peguero to pop up in between the mound and home plate. Miscommunication between Gwizdala and Butcher resulted in an error and Peguero reaching first base. Johnson then drove him in with a base hit to give the Pacifics a 4-3 lead. Gelphman added to the wound with a 2-run bomb to extend the San Rafael lead to 6-3.
The Stompers answered right back with 2 in the bottom half of the inning on an RBI double by Brent Gillespie to score Pedro Barrios. Gillespie later scored on a bases loaded walk by Rayson Romero, inching the Stompers closer, 6-5.
In the top of the 9th inning San Rafael scored twice more with the help of 2 Stomper errors, extending the lead back out to 8-5.
The Stompers failed to make a comeback as they drop game 1 while stranding 13 baserunners.
Game 2 is at Albert Park in San Rafael on Saturday, August 31 at 5:00.