By Gabe Schapiro
Sonoma, CA – The Vallejo Admirals (13-22) had their three game winning streak snapped, falling to the Sonoma Stompers (22-11), 9-2, Saturday evening at Arnold Field.
The Stompers grabbed control of the contest early, and never looked back. They only put up runs in three different innings, but made each of them count against Vallejo starter Demetrius Banks. Meanwhile, Sonoma hurler Eric Schwieger was dealing, and kept the Admirals off balance almost all night. He tossed eight innings and allowed two runs on five hits, while walking none and striking out nine on the way to the victory.
It took Sonoma just two batters to scratch across the games first run. Matt Hibbert led off with a single, stole second, and advanced to third when the throw bounced into the outfield. Yuki Yasuda then singled him home. Two batters later, the always-dangerous Joel Carranza launched one over the left field wall, giving the Stompers the earl 3-0 lead.
Sonoma kept adding on in the second. Daniel Baptista led off with a low liner that left the park in a hurry for a solo home run. Consecutive singles from TJ Gavlik and Hibbert put runners at the corners. Hibbert stole second, and for the second time in as many innings, the throw down bounced away into the outfield, allowing Gavlik to score to make it 5-0.
“I think that the delay at the start of the game threw him off a little bit,” said manager Garry Templeton II on Banks’ rough start. “He wasn’t able to get warmed up properly, and it took him a couple of innings to get where he wanted to be, and by that time he had already made a couple of mistake pitches, and they jumped out on us pretty quick.”
Banks briefly found a rhythm, throwing a perfect third and fourth innings, before stumbling in the fifth.
The Stompers would send eight men to the plate in the inning, scoring four more runs on six hits, with the dagger coming courtesy of a bases loaded single from Kristian Gayday that plated a pair. Before the dust settled, Sonoma had an imposing 9-0 lead.
The Admirals had become accustomed to comebacks, having won their previous three contests thanks to late inning heroics, but the nine run deficit would prove to be too much to overcome.
Schwieger continued to cruise, with the only blemish on his night coming in the seventh.
With one out in the inning, and Josh Wong at first after reaching on a fielder’s choice, right fielder Brad Young stepped to the plate. The aggressive swinger found himself in an 0-2 hole, but sent the next delivery over the bleachers in left field for a no-doubt two-run bomb. The home run was Young’s second in as many nights, but would be the only mistake Schwieger would make.
“I think we had a tough time picking the ball up off of him,” said Templeton. “He has a kind of funky delivery from the left side. I thought that we did a pretty good job of putting the ball in play, we just couldn’t find any holes.”
Paul Hvodovic came on the pitch the ninth, and tossed a one-two-three inning to put the Admirals away quietly.
Vallejo will be back at it this afternoon, as they send Devon Ramirez to the mound, trying to win the rubber match of this three game series against the Stompers.