By Gabe Schapiro
Vallejo, CA – The Vallejo Admirals (11-23) and the San Rafael Pacifics (23-11) engaged in a seesaw battle on Tuesday night, with the Pacifics prevailing, 8-7, thanks to a barrage of middle inning runs. With the win, San Rafael clinches a second-half championship, and will take on the first-half champs, the Sonoma Stompers, for the league title on August 31.
The Admirals held a lead heading into the fifth, only to surrender seven runs across the fifth, sixth, and seventh innings. They made a valiant comeback attempt, bringing the winning run to the plate in the ninth, but fell short.
Vallejo starter Nick Flory had a solid bounce-back outing after struggling against these same Pacifics his last time on the hill. Ultimately his defense would let him down, however, as just one of the five runs he allowed in his five innings of work were earned.
The Pacifics struck first, taking the lead three hitters into the game.
After a quick out number one, Danny Gonzalez doubled down the right field line. Maikel Jova followed with RBI single, making it 1-0 San Rafael.
Vallejo had an answer, roaring back in the second inning.
Tyler Nordgren and Kevin Barker reached on a fielders choice and a single, with both advancing to second and third after a misplay by right fielder Johnny Bekakis. Gadiel Baez slapped a high chopper for a single, allowing both runners to score. On the very next pitch, Glenn Walker doubled into the left-center field gap, bringing Baez around and giving the Admirals a 3-1 lead.
Barker added to their advantage in the fourth, coming through with his first professional RBI, singling home Tyger Pederson.
In the following inning, however, the momentum swung in San Rafael’s favor.
Jordan Brower reached on an error to begin the fifth. As a leadoff error often does, it came back to bite Vallejo in a big way. Zack Pace later doubled, and after what would’ve been the last out, Jova singled them both home, cutting the Admirals lead to 5-4. Two pitches later, Jake Taylor crushed one over the left field wall. Just like that, San Rafael had retaken a 5-4 lead.
The Admirals kept fighting, tying the game back up in the bottom half of the inning, courtesy of a PJ Phillips RBI double.
Unfortunately, Vallejo’s bullpen couldn’t keep the Pacifics quiet. San Rafael scored the go-ahead run once again in the sixth, and added two more in the seventh for what turned out to be extremely important insurance runs.
In the bottom half of the seventh, Tim Williams launched a solo shot, and Lydell Moseby later singled home another, making it a one-run game.
The Pacifics’ Nick Hudson and Guadalupe Barrera silenced the Admirals from there, tossing a scoreless final two innings to end it.
Vallejo will be back at it tonight, for the team’s second to last home game of the season, and the second of this three game series against San Rafael. The action gets underway at 7:00 PM.