Polanco Tosses Complete Game Gem in Vallejo
Pacifics Pick up a Game on Sonoma in Overall Standings
By Vinnie Longo
August 26, 2015
Vallejo, CA -
The infield at Wilson Park has been notorious for its tendency to give up infield singles in 2015. On a night in mid-June, Nick DeBarr surrendered eight infield hits, all of which were soft choppers that would’ve likely gone for outs elsewhere in the league.
Celson Polanco fell victim to a similar fate on Wednesday night, but he seemingly always had that next pitch he needed to get out of a jam. Combine his ability to reach back and get the outs when he needed them with the fact that Polanco has been progressively finding his AA-level form more with each start and two storylines came to a head in Vallejo.
Polanco threw a complete game gem, allowing just one run while striking out thirteen. He allowed ten hits, six of which never left the infield.
“He had his best stuff tonight, to be sure,” said catcher Ricky Gingras. “He was consistently getting ahead of hitters with a good, well located fastball and putting them away with a splitter. They couldn’t touch it.”
Polanco’s 13 strikeouts are a season high for him, and tie the mark for the best by a Pacifics pitcher this season, set by Nick DeBarr against Vallejo on June 28. Polanco is now one of four pitchers on the Pacifics roster to have double digit strikeouts in a game, joining DeBarr, Max Beatty, and Wander Beras.
More importantly, the complete game effort gave the Pacifics tired bullpen a needed rest with five more consecutive days of competition to close out the season, including the looming championship game on Monday.
“I felt good going into the ninth inning,” said Polanco. “I was still throwing hard and (they) were late on my fastball all night.”
Vallejo starter David Dinelli (3-8) was locked with Polanco in the midst of a pitcher’s duel for almost the entirety of his appearance. Dinelli allowed only one hit through his first five innings pitched, a leadoff triple to Jake Taylor in the second inning. But after retiring seven straight Pacifics batters in a 1-1 tie, Dinelli saw David Kiriakos reach and advance to second on an error from third baseman Josh Wong to begin the sixth inning. Zack Pace moved Kiriakos to third and then Daniel Gonzalez scored him with a sacrifice fly to give the Pacifics a 2-1 lead.
That would be more than enough for Polanco.
Kiriakos added an RBI single of his own in the seventh inning and then Gingras drove home a run in the eighth with a base hit to make it 4-1.
While Polanco’s presence dominated the limelight in Vallejo, the Pacifics also had their sights set on Sonoma, where the Diamonds unseated the Stompers 11-8, meaning San Rafael picked up a game in the all-important overall standings. The leader in the overall standings at the conclusion of Sunday’s game in San Rafael will host Monday’s championship game.
Sonoma began the second half with a 7 1/2 game lead in the overall standings. Through Wednesday’s action, it’s down to just half a game.
Wednesday’s win marked the ninth consecutive series win for the Pacifics, and they will go for their fourth sweep of the season on Thursday. First pitch will be at 7:05 and live coverage can be found on the radio at pacificsbaseball.com, on Twitter by following @SRPacifics, or by downloading the official Pacifics app on the App Store and Google Play.