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Pro baseball returns to Arnold Field

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With the Valley’s rich baseball history that can be traced back to the early 1900s and continues to be played here at the youth, high school and college levels, professional-level ball was played locally decades ago.

But pro baseball is returning to the Valley, with the newly formed Sonoma Stompers beginning play this summer, with their home games taking place at Arnold Field.

The Sonoma Stompers Baseball Club will compete in the Pacific Association of Professional Baseball Clubs, which shares a lineage with the Western Baseball League in which the Rohnert Park-based Sonoma County Crushers competed during the 1990s and early 2000s.

Considered to be between Class A and Class AA of affiliated minor-league baseball, the PAPBC is a non-affiliated six-team June-to-August league that includes Sonoma, the 2012 Pacific Association champion San Rafael Pacifics, the BayCal Lumberjacks, Vallejo Admirals, Na Koa Ikaika of Maui and the Hawaii Stars.

Sonoma’s 2014 PAPBC schedule has not been released.

“Sonoma County knows what baseball can mean to a community,” said Sonoma Stompers General Manager Theo Fightmaster. “This organization is extremely excited about bringing professional baseball back to the area, and continuing the great tradition that the Sonoma County Crushers began in 1995. It’s our hope that we can fill that void that’s been missing in our community since they left.”

“This is about fun, low-cost family entertainment during the summer months,” team president Mike Shapiro said. “The Stompers will play exciting baseball, give local kids an opportunity for summer jobs, and bring a lot of community benefits to Sonoma County.”