Tim Livingston, Director of Broadcasting & Media Relations
"It was a slider. It was a good pitch, but he got it."
That's what Sonoma Stompers catcher Isaac Wenrich said after Sonoma's 5-0 win on Tuesday night, describing a pitch from starter Matt Walker that led to the only hit of the night for the Pittsburg Diamonds.
It came with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning, as the Stompers were inching closer to yet another piece of history; it's a history that seems to be changing on a daily basis. As it turned out, Walker would have to settle for the team's first ever complete game shutout, and a one-hitter instead of a no-no, besting the combined six-hit shutout thrown by Sonoma against San Rafael on June 5 of last year.
Nonetheless, it was still a special night for the right-hander from Canada. His family was in attendance, having traveled down to spend the week with him, and they couldn't have had better timing. In fact, the buzz at City Park in Pittsburg was palpable even after the crowd was amped after the announcement of the Golden State Warriors clinching their first NBA title in 40 years, as they were anticipating some history being made by the red hot Stompers.
But Henry Mejia broke it up with a single on that 1-2 pitch mentioned by Wenrich. After the single, Walker got two fly outs to end the game and put an end to the best start by a pitcher in team history. He threw 119 pitches, with 71 going for strikes. He was a bit wild, as he walked three and hit two batters, but his sinker/slider combo and command of both his changeup and curveball was terrific, and he induced plenty of weak contact all night long.
Wenrich credited Stompers bench coach Takashi Miyoshi with a lot of the success from Tuesday night, talking about how a change in his pitch calling kept the Pittsburg (4-9) hitters off-balance the whole night. It worked sensationally, and in addition to the pitch calling, Wenrich threw out yet another runner trying to steal a base on him, as Tim Battle became the seventh runner he's gunned down already in 2015.
Offensively, the Stompers put together their usual stellar performance. They fell a hit shy of yet another double-digit effort, but got hits from nearly everyone in the order on Tuesday night. Matt Hibbert was the only player with multiple hits, but a pair of two-run homers from Joel Carranza (3rd of the season) and Fehlandt Lentini (2nd) were the big knocks for Sonoma. Lentini's homer came on a 3-0 pitch in the fifth, as well, as the player/manager gave himself the proverbial green light.
The Stompers now own a +41 run differential on the season thanks to their second shutout win in team history. They will return to Pittsburg on Wednesday night for game two of a three game series at City Park. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. The radio broadcast will begin at 6:45 on StompersBaseball.com and the TuneIn app.