By Gabe Schapiro
Vallejo, CA – The Vallejo Admirals (7-6) jumped all over the San Rafael Pacifics (3-8), winning 14-5, Tuesday Night, at Wilson Park. The contest remained close early, before the Admirals broke through with 11 combined runs in the fifth and sixth innings.
Scott Weinschenk was in total command on the mound, cruising through seven strong innings, scattering eight hits, allowing three earned runs and one walk, while striking out four. It was a group effort on offense, with all nine starters reaching base at least once, and seven of the nine recording at least one RBI.
The Pacifics got on the board first, when, in the second inning, left fielder Jeremy Williams hit a fly ball that traveled over the right field wall for an opposite field solo home run.
Vallejo wasted little time getting the run back. In the third inning, Darian Sandford lifted a little blooper between the second baseman and right fielder along the line, and used his lightning speed to stretch it into a double. On the very next pitch, PJ Phillips singled to nearly the exact same spot, scoring Sandford easily.
Using the long ball once again, San Rafael made the tie short lived. This time it was Matt Chavez who went yard, hitting a towering shot over the left field wall for a two-run home run, giving San Rafael the 3-1 lead in the fourth inning.
The two home runs would prove to be Weinschenk’s only real blemishes on the evening.
“He definitely looked really good,” said manager Garry Templeton II on his hurler. “I thought he looked like he had more confidence out there, and he’s continuing to get better. He really only had two mistake pitches, that happened to be to guys that you can’t make mistakes to, but other than that he pitched really well.”
In the fifth, the Admirals offensive explosion began. The first three batters of the inning reached base with a pair of singles and a hit by pitch. Sandford stepped to the plate, and this time didn’t need to use any of his signature speed, walking on five pitches to push a run across. PJ Phillips then missed a grand slam by a few feet, hitting a deep fly ball that was reeled in by center fielder Zach Pace with his back against the wall for a sacrifice fly. All three runners advanced, tying the game up at 3-3. Michael Cerda gave Vallejo their first lead, which they would never look back from, singling in two more runs.
San Rafael scratched across a run in the sixth, making it a one run game, before the Admirals unleashed a downpour in their half of the inning. By the time the dust had settled, 12 batters had come to the plate, three different pitchers were used by San Rafael, two errors were committed, and seven runs were scored. What had been a one run game was now a 12-4 Vallejo lead.
Weinschenk now had more than enough run support, and only had to worry about sitting in the dugout for so long.
“Especially here in Vallejo, it gets chilly at night, so in between innings, especially when there’s two outs or a double play situation, I like to get up and stretch and start moving around. I never sit around too long in the dugout, I keep my legs moving, that’s just my routine and it helps me get back out there without losing effectiveness,” Weinschenk said.
Despite the extended time in the dugout, he made quick work of San Rafael in the seventh, his final inning of work, providing the Admirals a shut down inning after their outburst.
“Last time I faced these guys I worked a lot off of my cutter,” said Weinschenk. “I was trying throw more breaking balls because they have a lot of big guys that can hit it a long way. Today I just stuck with my fastball, and said here hit it, went right at them, and it turned out in my favor.”
The Admirals bats weren’t quite done. In their half of the seventh, short stop Juan Martinez, making his first start back since being activated from the seven-day DL, led off the inning with a walk. Vallejo then strung together three straight hits: a Phillips double, Cerda single, and a Tony McClendon single, to plate two more runners.
San Rafael would score one run in the ninth after a defensive miscue, but it would prove to be far too little too late, as Steve Thompson worked the final two innings, sealing the victory.
A week ago the Admirals were in the middle of a five-game losing streak, during which they would score 11 total runs. In their last two contests, they have now scored 26 runs, and are back to one game over .500.
“Slumps are a part of baseball,” said second baseman Glenn Walker, who’s RBI double in the middle of the chaotic sixth would prove to be the game-winner, “but I think we’ve turned a corner. You’re going to have some ups and downs, and you’re going to have to fight through some things, but I think we’re heading in the right direction. I think everyone has settled in and relaxed at the plate and in the field, so hopefully we keep clicking like that.”
Vallejo will look to keep it rolling tonight, with Devon Ramirez on the mound, for game two of this three-game series with the Pacifics. In addition, the Admirals will be hosting their first Disney Night. Fans are encouraged to come dressed as their favorite Disney characters, and your favorite classic Disney songs will be featured throughout the game. The fun starts at 7:07 PM.