VALLEJO, Calif. — The Vallejo Admirals will open up the Pacific Association playoffs on Wednesday, August 28, hosting the Napa Silverados at Wilson Park. First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 p.m.
With a makeup game still to play on Monday evening, the Admirals have clinched third place, earning the right to host fourth-place Napa. The game will be the first home playoff game in franchise history.
The Admirals have now made the playoffs three consecutive seasons. In 2017, Vallejo defeated Sonoma to win the Pacific Association championship.
The winner of Wednesday’s game will play at San Rafael on Thursday. The winner of that game will open a best-of-three championship series with Sonoma on Friday. This is the first season the Pacific Association has used this playoff format.
Vallejo features several local products in its lineup. Outfielder/designated hitter O’Koyea Dickson (Washington High School-San Francisco) joined the Admirals in the last month and has torn up the league, hitting .356 in 16 games with 11 home runs, 28 RBI and 21 runs scored. When Dickson was a sophomore at Washington, he became the only high school player to hit a home run over the fence at what is now Oracle Park. He did that in the Academic Athletic Association championship game in 2005.
Dickson went on to play at College of San Mateo and Sonoma State before being drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers. He made the major leagues with the Dodgers in September, 2017, playing seven games.
The Admirals also start a pair of De Le Salle-Concord players most nights. Infielder/outfielder Tillman Pugh was a two-sport star for the Spartans, playing running back and defensive back for the football team in addition to being a standout in baseball. Pugh rushed for over 1,000 yards as a senior in 2006 and scored 14 touchdowns.
In baseball, Pugh went on to play at Arizona State, Gateway Community College and Sonoma State. He was drafted twice, signing with the New York Mets after being taken in 2010. He has played parts of four seasons with the Admirals, winning the Pacific Association MVP award in 2017 when Vallejo won the championship.
Pugh is joined by fellow Spartan Chris Fornaci on the roster. Fornaci is a late bloomer, having played just 22 games as a senior at De La Salle. He went on to a four-year career at Pepperdine, becoming a slick-fielding infielder and an on base machine at the plate. As a junior, he was hit by 24 pitches, setting a school-record.
Since joining the Admirals in 2017, Fornaci has continued his upward trajectory. He was named the Pacific Association’s best defensive third baseman in both 2017 and 2018. He has continued to get on base and was hit by a Pacific Association-record 25 pitches in 2017. He also increased his power, hitting 17 home runs for Vallejo in 2018.
Fornaci has been stellar in the field again this year, playing third base, shortstop and second base, despite missing a month with a broken thumb. He leads the Admirals in on base percentage as well at .481 (through Saturday).
Vallejo also features outfielder Nick Akins Sr., who leads the Pacific Association in home runs with 21 with one game to play. The Los Angeles-native won the league’s home run title last year as well (29).
The pitching staff is anchored by Skylar Janisse and Carl Brice. Janisee, from Maidstone, Canada, joined the Admirals in midseason and on August 7 hurled a five-hit shutout over San Rafael. The feat was just the second complete game shutout in franchise history.
Brice, a native of Jackson, Mississippi, has been an anchor in the rotation all year long and ranks second in the Pacific Association with 90 strikeouts.
The Admirals won seven of 13 meetings with Napa this year, going 3-4 against the Silverados at Wilson Park. For more information, go to vallejoadmirals.com or call 707-641-1111.