Sonoma Sweeps Pacifics in Slugfest
Stompers Lead by Two Games Entering Season’s Final Week
By Vinnie Longo
August 21, 2016
Sonoma, CA -
San Rafael fell out of first place for the first time in the second half on Saturday night when they fell 8-2. But despite falling by single digits, the game never felt that close.
The Pacifics scored first on Sunday with two in the first inning and looked like they were off on a roll, but the tone of the game was again set early by Sonoma. The Stompers chased Nick DeBarr in the first inning. DeBarr faced just eight batters and failed to record an out, walking three, hitting two batters, and surrendering three hits: two run doubles to Daniel Baptista and Derrick Fox and a grand slam to Chaz Meadows. DeBarr was credited for all eight runs and gave way to Julian Esquibel, who escaped the first with no further damage.
But the Stompers weren’t done, as they plated seven more runs in the second off of Esquibel and Clint Manzo making it a 15-2 ballgame.
The Pacifics started the offense up again in the third inning when Mike Taylor smacked a ringing double off of the right field wall to lead off the inning. Brent Gillespie singled him home, and would be scored by a Ricky Gingras single later in the inning. Chase Tucker, who had walked after Gillespie’s hit, came around to score on a wild pitch and, just like that, the Pacifics were within 10.
Sonoma countered by scoring two more runs in the third inning, all with two outs. Though only one of the runs went down as earned, the Stompers had jumped out to a 17-5 lead, one run shy of the franchise record for runs allowed in a game in Pacifics history. But then the dynamic of the game changed.
Gregory Paulino took over for Pat Lemmo in the fourth inning to piggy-back Lemmo’s start, and Paulino quickly fell into trouble. He walked Kyle Adie to start the inning and then Jake Taylor clubbed his league-leading 15th homer of the season deep to left field. Back to back singles by Gillespie and Maikel Jova with one out set up Ricky Gingras to drive home another run with his second RBI single of the night, putting the Pacifics down 17-8. But as much as the Pacifics offense was churning and bringing home runs, the pitching staff had yet to hold the Stompers scoreless.
David Johnson, who was still looking for his first scoreless outing in a Pacifics uniform, toed the rubber in the fourth inning and immediately allowed the first two men to reach when he hit Yuki Yasuda and allowed a bloop single to Fox. But then Johnson flipped a switch and struck out Mark Hurley, popped up Meadows, and induced a groundout from Santiesteban to put the first zero on Sonoma’s scoreline of the night. All things told, Johnson would finish with three scoreless innings of relief.
San Rafael continued to apply pressure, loading the bases with two outs against Paulino in the fifth inning with Jova at the plate. Jova popped out to end the inning, but the Pacifics added on single runs in the sixth inning with a Zack Pace RBI fielder’s choice and in the seventh with a Mike Taylor solo home run to right.
If the game were to go another three or four innings, the Pacifics may have been able to tie it up. But a 13-run deficit after two innings proved to be too much, as they fell by the final score of 17-10.
“We won the final six innings of this game 5-0, it was the other three innings that put it out of reach,” said Pacifics Manager Matt Kavanaugh. “There are a lot of positives to take from this game, and after a day off tomorrow, we can focus of taking care of business next week to get ourselves back into the championship game.”
Jake Taylor, Mike Taylor, and Gillespie all finished with three hit games and two RBIs. Gingras added two hits of his own and two more RBIs, Pace drew three walks and drove home one in the Pacifics best offensive performance against Sonoma in the second half.
San Rafael now trails the Stompers by two games with six remaining in the second half. The Pacifics will host Sonoma for the final three games of the regular season, meaning that, as long as they stay within reach of the Stompers next week, they’ll have the opportunity to force the championship game in the season’s final weekend.
The Pacifics will take a day off on Monday before returning to action with a three-game set against Pittsburg next Tuesday. First pitch will be at 7:05 PM and live coverage can be found on the radio at pacificsbaseball.com or on Twitter by following @SRpacifics.