By Gabe Schapiro
Vallejo, CA – In the final game of the first half, the Vallejo Admirals (13-26) let one get away from them, losing to the Sonoma Stompers (26-11), 10-4, Thursday Night at Wilson Park.
As manager Garry Templeton II says often, you know that you’re always going to get everything Admirals starter David Dinelli has every time he takes the mound. Unfortunately, he wasn’t as his best on this night, struggling with his control and the home plate umpires’ erratic strike zone.
Despite the final score, the Admirals got off to a promising start.
After missing a couple of games with a minor ankle problem, shortstop Gadiel Baez returned with a bang. He connected on the fifth pitch of the contest, sending a line drive down the right field line for a double. Two batters later, second baseman Glenn Walker hit a liner of his own in between the second and first base men, driving in Baez. Walker later came around to score Vallejo’s second run, when Lydell Moseby sent a ground ball that snuck through the left side.
That’s where most of the good news ended for Vallejo, as the momentum took a decided shift in Sonoma’s favor.
In the top of the second, the Stompers loaded the bases with two singles and a walk. Catcher Andrew Parker hit a ground ball to the left of third baseman Josh Wong, who seemingly misjudged it, allowing the ball to bounce into the outfield. The error plated two for Sonoma, tying the game up at 2-2.
Two innings later, the Stompers grabbed a lead they would never look back from.
A hit by pitch and a walk put runners at first and second with two outs. Rookie Taylor Eads sent a hard ground ball up the middle that a diving Baez couldn’t quite reach, scoring Mark Hurley from second.
Dinelli continued to struggle with his control in the fifth, and ultimately wouldn’t survive the inning.
When it was all said and done, Sonoma would bat around, sending 10 men to the plate. They scored five runs courtesy of four walks and three hits. The frustrated Dinelli was pulled with two outs in the inning, after surrendering his second ground rule double of the frame. He continued to voice his displeasure with the home plate umpires’ strike zone from the dugout, and was tossed as reliever Steve Thompson was warming up.
The Admirals momentarily made it interesting again in the sixth, thanks to some Stompers defensive miscues. After a double and two walks, a wild pitch and a very wild throw from catcher Andrew Parker to the pitcher covering home plate allowed two runs to score, making it 9-4.
Sonoma added a single run in the ninth with a sac fly, to officially put a nail in the Admirals coffin.
Vallejo will be happy to put their disappointing first half behind them. Thankfully, in baseball there is often a quick turnaround, which means quick opportunities to put mistakes behind you. The second half begins tonight, with everyone back to a even playing field at 0-0 records. The Admirals will look to get off to a good start, as they send Scott Weinschenk to the mound to begin another three game series against the first half champs, these same Stompers.