By Gabe Schapiro
Vallejo, CA – The Vallejo Admirals (13-26, 1-0) got off to a great start to begin the second half of the season, blowing out the Sonoma Stompers (26-11, 0-1), 16-5, Friday night at Wilson Park.
The Admirals offense had struggled during much of the season, but you wouldn’t know it having watched their offensive onslaught against the league’s best team. They seemingly scored at will against all three pitchers that Sonoma sent to the mound, putting up runs in six of their eight innings, and scoring two or more in all six. The entire lineup contributed, with all nine starters reaching base at least once, and seven of the nine driving in at least one run. The headliners, however, were second baseman PJ Phillips and right fielder Lydell Moseby. The two thumpers in the heart of the order combined to go seven-for-nine, with six runs, eight RBI, and two home runs.
Meanwhile, Vallejo’s pitching staff did well to battle their way out of jams all night, and kept the potent Stompers lineup at bay. Demetrius Banks earned the victory, tossing five-and-a-third solid innings, while allowing three runs, walking none, and striking out two.
Despite the lopsided final score, the game got off to a rocky start for the Admirals.
Sonoma grabbed the lead just five pitches into the contest, when Matt Hibbert sent a leadoff home run over the left field wall
The ominous beginning quickly turned to all smiles, however, as Vallejo wasted little time erasing the deficit and leaving Sonoma in their rear view mirror.
In the very next inning, CJ Maldonado and Tyler Nordgren got the offensive outburst rolling with back-to-back hard hit singles. After both runners advanced on a perfectly executed bunt by Devon Ramirez, Jaylen Harris grounded out to the shortstop, allowing Maldonado to score. One batter later, Gadiel Baez gave Vallejo a lead they would never relinquish, hitting a high chopper to the left side that he easily beat out for a single, scoring Nordgren and making it 2-1.
That was just the beginning, as the hit parade continued.
In the third, Phillips led off the inning with a bloop single down the right field line. Moseby, in his fourth game with the club, stepped to the plate, and hit a towering home run over the center field wall.
Sonoma did their best to keep it interesting, as an RBI double off of the bat of Taylor Eads made it a two-run game in the fourth.
Over the next three frames the Admirals got the run back and then some.
They would go on to put up three, two, and three runs respectively, to silence the Stompers comeback attempt, and break the game wide open, making it 12-3 through six innings of play.
For the first time since the first inning, Sonoma managed to keep Vallejo off of the scoreboard in the seventh, only to have the Admirals put up their biggest run output of the night in the eighth.
Vallejo loaded the bases for Phillips, who landed the biggest blow of the night, scorching a bases clearing double into the left-center field gap. Phillips himself would later come around to score the Admirals 16th run on a Josh Wong single.
The Stompers added single runs in the eighth and ninth, but it was far too little too late, as Vallejo cruised to their biggest win of the season.
They’ll look to keep the momentum going this evening for game two of this three game set with the first half champs, as the Admirals send Scott Weinschenk to the mound. The action gets underway at 5:00 PM.