PACIFICS FALL SHORT IN ROLLERCOASTER SLUGFEST

Wind and Sun Contribute in Loss to Napa 13-12

On a sign atop the scoreboard at the Silverado’s home field at Napa Valley College, the team is advertising for a sponsor to name the field after.  “Welcome to [Place Your Name Here} Field,” it says.  Well, yesterday afternoon at [Place Your Name Here} Field the high winds and blaring sun might have been a suitable showcase for an alternative energy company to buy the naming rights.  Windblown home runs and pop flies lost in the sun contributed mightily to the eventual football score win by Napa. 

With the Pacifics short-handed in the starting rotation, reliever Quinn Pippin was forced into his first start of the season. Before the game, Manager Matt Kavanaugh was anxiously trying to piece together pitching scenarios that all depended on how deep into the game Pippin could go. 

“Right now, we’re hammered with injuries,” lamented Kavanaugh.  “We’re not the only team suffering but ours are critical.  We’ve lost a starting pitcher, our centerfielder, and our second baseman.  Thankfully we’ve got a great bench, but the bullpen is getting stretched thin.”

Pippin’s day got off to a rocky start after the Napa leadoff hitter reached on a bad hop that was ruled an error by second baseman Kyle Ulanday. Immediately following, left fielder Ray Jones hit a wind-aided 2-run homer to put Napa out in front, but they weren’t done. Josh Montolongo hit a routine fly ball to left, but Mike Staudinger lost the ball in the sun resulting in an RBI triple, then scored on a sacrifice fly from Nico Toni, capping off a 4-run first for Napa.

The extended outing Kavanaugh was hoping for seemed in jeopardy as Pippin was forced to throw 36 pitches in the inning.

Staudinger brought home his team-leading 12th RBI of the season on an RBI single in the 2nd, scoring Javion Randle. Ricky Gingras then grounded into a double play, allowing Zach Files to score closing the Napa lead to 4-2.

Napa got more help from the elements in the bottom half of the 2nd on a fly ball down the left field line by Nick Kern that apparently was blown foul but ruled a 2-run homer by the umpiring crew. A clearly frustrated Kavanaugh was tossed from the game arguing that the ball was in fact foul. 

Brent Gillespie made it a 3-run game in the top of the 3rd inning when he pounded a solo homer to right center, slicing the ball through the wind for his 3rd home run of the season.

Zach Files led off the top of the 4th inning with a double, one-hopping the right-center field wall. Staudinger put runners at 1st and 3rd for Gingras who once again grounded into a double play, but scoring Files to make it a 6-4 Napa lead. 

Ray Jones added to his already productive day with a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the 4th bringing the lead back to 3 runs. 

5 seems to be the number for the Pacifics in 2018. Earlier in the season against Martinez, the Pacifics scored 5 runs in the 8th inning on back-to-back nights. They did it again in the 5th inning on Sunday. Rando Moreno kicked off the 5-run 5th scoring on a passed ball. Staudinger returned the favor to the Silverados outfield hitting a high fly ball to center field, Napa’s centerfielder Asbury-Heath lost it in the sun, resulting in a bases clearing triple, giving the Pacifics their first lead at 8-7.  Kyle Ulanday got in on the action with an RBI single expanding the lead to 9-7.

Miraculously, Pippin righted himself after a couple of rocky innings to give Kavanaugh 5 hard-fought innings, throwing 100 pitches in the effort.  Steady and reliable Brandon Warner succeeded Pippin, keeping Napa off the board over his 2 solid innings of work.

In the 6th inning, Gillespie hit a sacrifice fly, his team-leading 13th RBI of the season, to extend the lead 10-7. Rando Moreno led off the 8th inning with a hard single to center and scored on a Randle RBI single further built the lead to 11-7. 

Mitch Williams, the third pitcher of the afternoon for the Pacifics, struggled in the 8th inning giving up 4 runs on 3 hits, including another wind-aided homer by Nick Gotta tying the game at 11. Chris Mazza relieved Williams, who failed to get an out, but despite 2 walks, Mazza did not allow a run sending the game to the 9th tied.

Gingras doubled to left center to kick off the top of the 9th and was taken out for pinch-runner, pitcher Max Beatty. DonAndre Clark manufactured the last run of the game for the Pacifics, scoring Beatty on a sacrifice fly for the unlikely 12th run, giving the Pacifics a nervous 1 run lead going into the bottom of the 9th.

Closer Jose Casilla came in for his first save opportunity of the 2018 season in the 9th. Kai Davis singled to lead off the inning and tied the game 12-12, scoring on an RBI single from Dominic Bethancourt. After intentionally walking Nick Gotta to set up a double play, Kern ended the game with a flare to center scoring pinch-runner Devontae Glenn, to give the Silverados their 5th win in a row and sending the Pacifics home from [Place Your Name Here] Field for a much-needed day off after an aptly named Sun-day playing in brutal conditions with a stitched together lineup and depleted pitching staff. 

The Pacifics will be back at Albert Park Tuesday night against the Sonoma Stompers, first pitch is scheduled for 5:05. The first 250 fans will receive a Pacifics water bottle courtesy of the Marin Municipal Water District. Tuesday is also Kids Get in Free Night presented by Northgate Acoustics.

Saturday against the Stompers will feature J.P. Howell’s third start for the Pacifics and we’ll be giving away to the first 250 fans the official 2018 San Rafael Pacifics batting practice shirt sponsored by Scott Candell and Associates with the Pacifics “Best Team on Grass” logo on the back. Tickets can be purchased at pacificsbaseball.com