Tim Livingston, Director of Broadcasting & Media Relations
When the book is literally written about the 2015 Sonoma Stompers, Jose Canseco's contribution to a comeback win in the ninth game of the season might deserve some special attention. Maybe 50-year-old sluggers are the new market inefficiency.
In his second appearance with the Stompers, Canseco again drew an insane amount of attention his way, as another packed house at Arnold Field watched the former American League MVP deliver one of the longest home runs ever hit at the ballpark. His sixth inning moonshot spurred Sonoma's three-run effort to tie the ball game, and Joel Carranza's solo shot in the seventh pushed Sonoma ahead to victory, 6-5.
In just two days, Canseco's performance lit up Arnold Field in a way that hasn't been seen in the Stompers young history. The loyal fans that followed him when he was with the Oakland A's during the peak of his career were hopeful that after Friday's performance, Canseco would bounce back and show off the prodigious power that remains with him as he enters his 50's.
When the game got underway, Canseco found his swing and began to exhibit the power that made him one of the most feared sluggers of his time. In his second at-bat, he hit a line drive to deep left-center that slammed against the wall on the fly, his first official hit as a Stomper.
He led off the sixth against the hard-throwing Max Beatty, San Rafael's (3-6) starter that had been tough against the Stompers to that point. However, he tried to get a fastball by Canseco up around the letters on the first pitch, something you just can't do against Canseco, even as he's weeks shy of his 51st birthday. The towering blast to left-center field was estimated at 410 feet and became the highlight of the night for Canseco.
He went 2-for-4 on the evening and was hitting the ball as hard as he ever had. It was a sight to behold, and the crowd of nearly 1,000 fans at Arnold Field were energetic throughout the entire night, which included some explosive pre-game displays of power, as well.
The highly-anticipated home run derby became another showcase for Canseco. He hit four homers in the first round and ended up battling Sonoma's Isaac Wenrich in the finals. Wenrich ended up going on a tear and hit six homers to defeat Canseco, who managed only a single homer. He remained on the field after the competition to offer the fans an exhibition of power, and he came through with half-a-dozen homers that drew oohs and ahhs.
The ones he managed to hit in his exhibition were the towering drives you'd be used to if you've followed Canseco's Major League career; 400+ foot blasts that not only cleared the bleachers but went over the trees that adorn the fence line between Arnold Field and the Veteran's Memorial Building next door. His most spectacular blast hit the facing of the Veteran's Building, something that has been done only a handful of times at Arnold Field, in game or otherwise.
Sonoma (8-1) continued its roll through the Pacific Association with another double-digit hit night. The 11 hits gave them 107 on the season, four more than Pittsburg's 103 in second place. Their 70 runs are by far the most in the league, 12 more than Pittsburg. They have 10 hits or more in all but two games this season.
In Saturday's game, it was the 4-9 hitters that came up big. Wenrich, Canseco, Danny Baptista and Matt Hibbert all had two hits on the night, as the lower two-thirds of the order went a combined 10-for-22. The only other hit came from Fehlandt Lentini, who doubled home a run during the three-run sixth inning.
On the hill, Jeff Conley settled down after a rough first inning and got through 5 1/3 innings. He did need 102 pitches to do it, but only allowed one run after the first on a Jeremy Williams solo homer. Maikel Jova hit a three-run shot in that big inning and Jesse Chavez hit his league-leading sixth homer two batters later.
Much like he did last Friday against his old squad in Vallejo, Erik Gonsalves (2-0) came in and was a stalwart out of the pen, throwing 2 2/3 scoreless and keeping Sonoma in the game. By the time he became the pitcher of record, it was time to give way to Stompers closer Sean Conroy, who pitched a flawless ninth inning for his third save.
While Canseco won't be with the team tomorrow, the Stompers will be going for the sweep of the Pacifics with a first pitch at 5 p.m. at Arnold Field. Mike Jackson, Jr. is the probable starter for Sonoma.
Tickets are available by clicking the link below or by visiting the Stompers Fan Shop at 234 W. Napa St. in downtown Sonoma. Tickets can also be purchased at the gate beginning one hour before first pitch. They begin at $4 for bleacher seats and fans aged 65 and older will receive a $5 discount on tickets for the Stompers' Senior Sunday promotion. All soft drinks will also cost only $1 each.