The Vallejo Admirals received some good news on Wednesday when slugger Graylin Derke rejoined the team after spending time the last month with the Wichita Wingnuts of the American Association and the Florence Freedom of the Frontier League.
The bad news is that it seems the Vallejo team Derke rejoined isn’t close to the one he left earlier this year.
The Admirals (31-35) continued to struggle Wednesday night at Wilson Park as they dropped their seventh straight game, this time an 18-0 blowout to Sonoma. The Admirals will want to move on and have a short memory of this game as every Stomper in the starting lineup had a hit by the fifth inning.
Despite the Admirals recent struggles, manager P.J. Phillips said the club doesn’t need a team meeting to address it. Vallejo remains four games up on the Napa Silverados for the fourth and final playoff spot after Napa fell to Martinez on Wednesday.
“There’s nothing really to talk about. The actions are out there on the field and you see what’s going on,” Phillips said. “We’re not pitching, we’re not catching the ball and we’re not hitting. So there is no such meeting that can turn those things around. The guys need to come together and each do their own jobs and when that happens things will turn around for us.”
The first-place Stompers (45-21) got the early jump on Admirals pitcher Mike Anthony in the first inning as Sonoma scored six runs in the first frame thanks to a two-run homer by Kam Stewart, a two-run single by Brock Hartley and an RBI double by Rayson Romero. By the time the second inning was done Anthony had thrown 58 pitches.
DAundray Van Slyke came into the game to pitch in the third, but the Stompers’ offense did not slow down. They scored another four runs in the frame, two of them on a two-run single by Rob DeAngelis.
The Stompers scored again in the sixth inning when Brock Hartley hit an opposite field solo home run to make it 11-0 and then added four more runs in the seventh inning thanks to RBI singles from Harley and DeAngelis to make it 15-0.
By the time the eighth inning ended the Admirals saw themselves in a hole bigger than the Bingham County Mine as the Stompers had erupted for 18 runs.
Meanwhile, the Admirals were stifled by Sonoma starting pitcher Vijay Patel, who went seven innings and gave up no runs while giving up just four hits. Vallejo mustered just six total hits, five of them coming from the top three hitters in the lineup and two of them from Derke in his return to the club.
“Man I really need to take some time and realize what just happened, but I think we just need to have some fun,” Derke said. “I think we’re putting a little too much pressure on ourselves. We need to get a couple good knocks and just focus a little more. Once we get something rolling we will start to have a little more fun again.”
Vallejo will travel to Sonoma for one game on Thursday before heading to Martinez for one game on Friday. Vallejo has just four home games remaining on the season.