Tim Livingston, Director of Broadcasting & Media Relations
While it was billed as a doubleheader at Arnold Field Saturday, the only game that mattered was the day's first game between the Stompers and Pittsburg Diamonds. With the second game being treated mainly as an exhibition game since it was a makeup game from the first half, the onus was on the teams to leave it all on the field early on in the seven inning contest.
Unfortunately for the Stompers, they got the memo a bit too late. While they eventually woke up offensively, they had to make up a seven run deficit in doing so. Even with a six run rally in the penultimate frame, they fell to the Diamonds, 10-9, creating a tie for first place in the second half standings.
Pittsburg (8-6 2nd half, 26-26 overall) got to Sonoma (8-6, 34-17) in the third inning against starter Paul Hvozdovic (4-1). Two runs came home thanks to Tyler Eppler's first home run of the season, and then the Diamonds really opened things up the fourth. Thanks to four walks in the inning along with a double and two singles, the Diamonds scored five times and brought 10 batters to the plate, chasing Hvozdovic from the game.
Sonoma battled back to make it 7-3 after a two-run homer from Isaac Wenrich and a solo shot from Brennan Metzger, but the Diamonds got three more in the sixth to push the lead back to seven runs and make it seem like an insurmountable lead.
Yet there they were, the league's best offense figuring out ways to get back into the game even with only six outs to go against Clint Manzo. Taylor Eads had a two-run double to deep center field to get the scoring going, but after the second out of the inning, things starting getting strange.
Matt Hibbert grounded out to second for the second out, but first baseman Mike Taylor for some reason decided to throw the ball back to Michael Cerda at second and realized halfway through his throw that Eads was still at third. The ball slipped out of his hands and allowed Eads to score and make it a 10-6 game.
The two-out rally then began with a Yuki Yasuda single, extending his hitting streak to 14 games. He then moved to second on a passed ball before Metzger singled him home to make it 10-7. Then Mark Hurley launched a two-run homer to left to make it 10-9 and put the Stompers on the precipice of a second seven-run comeback at home this year against the Diamonds.
However, it would all be for naught as Steve Chapter came in to clean up the mess, completing a four out save to move the Diamonds back into a tie for first place.
Metzger's 2-for-4 day at the plate was the highlight of the game for Sonoma, with Hurley scoring two runs, as well. All but one hitter had a hit in the Sonoma lineup.
The second game was more of an exhibition game, featuring pitchers playing in the field and even the Pittsburg hitting coach (Lonnie Jackson) and general manager (Tom Macari) getting ABs against Ryusuke Kikusawa and Jeff Conley. Yasuda even homered in the game, and Gregory Paulino had two singles as the standout pitcher at the plate. Paulino and Sean Conroy roamed the outfield while Erik Gonsalves, Matt Walker and Eric Schwieger played on the infield. Tommy Lyons also got some ABs, roping a double down the right-field line and driving in a run with a groundout.
The game also featured Sonoma using the installed PitchF/X system to call balls and strikes, with players from both teams announcing the pitches over the in-house PA system. It was a truly entertaining evening at the ballpark, as the players were able to let loose and have fun in front of a good-sized crowd at Arnold Field.
With all the fun done for the time being, it's time to get back to work on Sunday, as the two teams will battle for sole possession of first place in the second half standings. The first pitch is set for 1:05 p.m., with the radio broadcast beginning at 12:50 on StompersBaseball.com and the TuneIn app.
Tickets begin at just $4 and can be purchased online at StompersBaseball.com or at the Stompers Fan Shop, located at 234 W. Napa St. in beautiful downtown Sonoma. Tickets can also be purchased at the gates at Arnold Field before any home game. For more information, call the Stompers at (707) 938-7277 or email the team at email@example.com.