The Sonoma Stompers are hoping for a hero’s welcome when they take the field at People’s Home Equity Ballpark at Arnold Field Tuesday, June 13 against the Vallejo Admirals. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. to open the three-game home stand against the Admirals, before the team goes back on the road for another three games in San Rafael.
The newest Stomper, pitcher Ty’Rell Harris, is scheduled to get the nod on Opening Night for the Stompers. The nine-year professional was dominant in his first outing against the Admirals on June 7. Harris struck out nine batters and allowed only one run and on his way to a win.
The Stompers went 41-31 on their way to a Pacific Association championship in 2016, and return to Sonoma after a nine-game road trip to start the 2017 season. The Stompers are 6-3 on the season after starting off winning their first five games before falling once to Vallejo and twice to league rival the San Rafael Pacifics over the weekend.
Many players are returning from last year’s title-winning team, including 2016 Pacific Association MVP Joel Carranza, Pacific Association Manager of the Year Takashi Miyoshi, right-handed ace Mike Jackson Jr., four-year Stomper Matt Hibbert and fan favorite Yuki Yasuda.
Other notable players resigned to the roster this year include pitcher Stacy Piagno and outfielder Kelsie Whitmore. The two made news last year when they were signed to the team mid-season, marking the first time in history a pro baseball team at any level had two women on its roster.
Sean Conroy, likewise a news-making player as the first openly gay player in professional baseball, has retired from baseball, according to the Stompers office.
The opening home stand will honor longtime Sonoma Valley High School varsity baseball coach and English teacher, Don Lyons, for his dedication to Sonoma Valley youth sports and education. A portion of the proceeds will be made in his name to the El Verano School’s After School Program. The Stompers will also be accepting donations on his behalf.
Several new features have been introduced at Arnold Field this year, part of a franchise upgrade that includes a new owner, Jon Sebastiani, and a new corporate sponsor, Virginia Dare Winery. Theo Fightmaster continues as president and general manager of the team, a role he has held since its first year in 2014.
The beer garden down the left-field line has been rebranded as Gus the Bus Bear Garden, the Krave Klub has been upgraded with new chairs and improved sight lines, and beverages available at the park include premium wines from Virginia Dare and Lesse-Fitch, beers including Coors Light, Lagunitas, Blue Moon, Modelo Especial and Gus the Bus American IPA.
Following opening night, other games this week include “Dollar Day” on Wednesday, June 14, with dollar seats, dollar hot dogs and Coors Light for $1 (while supplies last). Thursday, June 15, is “St. Francis Sunglasses Night,” when a pair of Stompers sunglasses are given away with samples of St. Francis wine.
Tickets and merchandise are available now either online or at the fan shop at 234 W. Napa St., Sonoma. Tickets will also be available at the box office on game days, starting 30 minutes prior to the game. Use promo code “OPENINGDAY” to receive 15% off of home opener tickets online.