MARTINEZ, CALIF. – The Vallejo Admirals and Martinez Clippers put on a display Sunday that evoked memories of the classic television show “Home Run Derby.” For the second straight game, the Admirals homered six times, and the Clippers followed suit in an outright slugfest that Vallejo ultimately won 17-9.
Tillman Pugh, the reigning league MVP, departed for Ottawa of the Can-Am League on Saturday, and the Admirals have carried on as if he had not left.
Martinez gained the upper hand against Vallejo starter Ryan Mordecai, plating a run in the first inning, and then going ahead 3-0 in the second on the first of Wilkyns Jiminez’s pair of jacks.
Clippers starter Matti Doxter, who played alongside the Admirals’ d’Aundray Van Slyke for the 2017 Empire League champion Plattsburg, would not survive the Vallejo third. In the frame, 12 Admirals batted, and seven runs crossed. Van Slyke singled to knock in a run against his former comrade, and the crowning blows of the inning were Graylin Derke’s three-run homer and Cyle Figueroa’s two-run double. The latter came against knuckleballer Colin Moberly, who had replaced Doxter, and it was 7-3 Vallejo.
Derke continued his rampage to lead off the fifth, as he homered off Moberly. Vlad Gomez, who collected four singles and two runs batted in, hit safely in front of Brandon Fischer, who blasted the Admirals’ third home run of the afternoon to make the score 11-3. In the Martinez fifth, Will Decker led off against Mordecai and began the Clippers’ onslaught by hitting his second homer in as many games.
Van Slyke joined the party with a solo shot in the sixth to make the Admirals lead 12-4, but the Clippers saw their opening in the bottom half when left-hander Eli Garcia relieved Mordecai. After a two-base error by Gomez in right field allowed Alan Mocahbee to reach, Jiminez smoked his second homer of the game. One out later, the Clippers went back-to-back-to-back courtesy of Cole Easley, Jimmy Lunardelli, and Decker, which earned Garcia the hook from manager PJ Phillips.
Martinez had clubbed its way back into the contest at 12-9, but the Admirals’ Luis Ramirez entered, and he and Brett Schneider combined to allow only one baserunner the rest of the day. Meanwhile, Vallejo tallied four more runs in the seventh – without any home runs – to extend the lead to 16-9. The fourth of the four was charged to former Admiral Grayson Weber, who came on to relieve Moberly. Weber yielded a Nick Akins round-tripper in the ninth to finish the day’s scoring.
Akins, Derke and Decker each homered three times over the weekend. Kiniry has a team-leading six clouts for the Admirals. Mordecai improved to 2-0 and Doxter fell to 0-2. The Admirals thus finished the league’s second week in first place with an 8-2 mark, while the expansion Clippers dropped to 1-9.