Theo Fightmaster, General Manager
The Sonoma Stompers Professional Baseball Club has agreed to terms with Fehlandt Lentini to be the team’s player-manager during the 2015 season. The Stompers General Manager, Theo Fightmaster, and the team’s CEO, Eric Gullotta, announced the move Friday. "With this addition, we're adding an outstanding ball player to our lineup, and a tremendously passionate man to our clubhouse,” Fightmaster said
“Feh has seen, done and achieved so much in this game, and he's ready to begin the next phase of his career. We're thrilled that an opportunity existed within our organization, and privileged we can give Feh the chance to play and manage in front of friends and family – including many who haven't had the chance see him play since high school."
Said Lentini, “I'm at the point in my career where I feel I’m in between playing and coaching. I still have the fire to play, and I'm also excited to share all the knowledge I've accumulated during the course of my career. I'm happy to not only have an opportunity to do both, but to do it where I grew up, and with a group of people I have known for many years. I’m looking forward to bringing some baseball excitement to the Valley.”
Lentini, who moved to Sonoma at the age of 10, and graduated from Sonoma Valley High School in 1995, has 14 seasons of professional baseball experience. Lentini played collegiate baseball at Napa Valley College, and for Coach John Goelz at Sonoma State University.
He was a draft-and-follow selection by the Texas Rangers in the 41st round of the 1996 MLB June Amateur Draft, and was signed out of SSU by the Houston Astros in 2001.
In the 14 seasons of his affiliated, independent and international professional baseball, the outfielder has a career average of .307, 114 home runs, 772 RBIs, and 473 stolen bases. In 2014 with the Long Island Ducks of the Atlantic League, Lentini hit .290, with six homers and 63 RBIs. He was also a perfect 46 for 46 in stolen base attempts.
During his career in independent baseball, the right-handed hitting Lentini owns a career batting average of .319, has belted 42 homers and driven in 259 runs, and has stolen 352 bases – an independent league career record.
During his career, Lentini, 37, has made five all-star teams (Frontier League, 2004, Northern ’06-’08, Golden League, ‘09), won a championship with Maui in 2009 (Golden League), and owns the single-season triples record for the Northern League; a mark he set in 2006 with 13.
“This addition to our organization is a significant step forward for the Stompers,” Gullotta said. “To be able to bring in a guy like Feh, with his experience, talent and passion for the game was the easiest decision I’ve made so far during my tenure. And, on top of all that, with him being a local Sonoman, it’s a home run for this town and the Stompers.”
During the offseason, Lentini will serve as Special Assistant to the President, working on youth skills clinics, community outreach, and assisting in the baseball operations.
Lentini, who attended St. Francis Solano Catholic School with Gullotta, resides in the Valley during the offseason. His sister Madeline is a sophomore at Sonoma High, and his mother Debi Lentini both live in Sonoma. Lentini was inducted in the Sonoma State Athletics Hall of Fame in 2010. Described by the SSU Media Relations department:
"A two-year star for the Sonoma State baseball team, Lentini got his career underway in 1998, batting .309 and stealing 15 bases. Following a two-year absence from the team, Lentini returned in 2001 and really made a name for himself. Turning in perhaps the greatest single season in school history, Lentini established school records for batting average (.427), hits (117), doubles (23), triples (10), and runs (89) that still stand to this day. SSU's all-time leader in career batting average (.385), Lentini was a First Team All-American in '01. He was also the West Region and CCAA Player of the Year during his remarkable senior campaign. Following the 2001 season, Lentini was signed by the Houston Astros, an organization he played with for several years before taking his career to the independent leagues, where he still plays."
Ray Serrano, who managed the Stompers to a 42-36 record during the team’s inaugural season in 2014 has accepted a full-time position with the Atlanta Braves, where he will serve as the organization’s catching instructor.