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Stompers back to winning ways

After winning by 11 runs Tuesday, the Sonoma Stompers scored only one run until the eighth inning of Wednesday’s 4-2 victory over the Vallejo Admirals.

After a rocky first couple of innings, which gave Vallejo an early 2-1 lead, Stompers starter Mike Jackson Jr. settled in to record 11 strikeouts through seven innings. Jackson retired eight Admirals in order before being replaced by Adam Ogbun in the eighth.

“When I settled down, my slider and splitter were working pretty good,” Jackson said. “Once (catcher Isaac Wenrich and I) sort of got that roll going together we couldn’t be stopped.”

Ogburn proceeded to record a strikeout before a loud 6-4-3 double play ended the inning.

A Brennan Metzger single started a chain reaction for Sonoma that included two errors and a balk. With a couple of well-placed bunt singles and quick thinking, the Stompers scored two runs before they recorded an out against Vallejo reliever Josh Evans.

“This is a game of momentum, so we just took advantage of it,” said Stomper Manager Takashi Miyoshi.

Ogburn struck out the Admirals in order in the top of the ninth, deciding the game for the Stompers.

“He’s a bulldog on the mound. Since last year, he’s always that way,” Miyoshi said. “After I sent him to the mound tonight, I didn’t worry about anything.”

With the win, Sonoma improves to 8-3 on the season and puts them two games ahead of the second-place Pittsburg Diamonds in the Pacific Association standings.

Tuesday, the Stompers hosted their home opener and routed Vallejo 17-6.

The Stompers began the season with a nine-game road trip. And Tuesday’s home opener was their first chance to celebrate their 2016 Pacific Association Championship, Most Valuable Player Joel Carranza and Manager of the Year Takashi Miyoshi in front of their fans.

“It was definitely something special for me,” Miyoshi said. “(The award) belongs to everybody in the Stompers family, especially my team, who was grinding it out from day one until the end.”

The ceremony also honored 2016 Executive of the Year Theo Fightmaster and Defensive Players of the Year Mark Hurley and Mason Morioka.

“It’s great to be a part of a championship team,” said outfielder Kelsie Whitmore, in her second year as a Stomper. “It’s fun being a part of a team with guys that know what they’re doing, that are great ballplayers.”

After the pre-game ceremonies, Vallejo took the lead in each of the first two innings, but never regained it as eight different Stompers drove in runs while five different Stompers recorded multiple hits. Carranza and Matt LoCoco both went three-for-four on the night while Matt Hibbert scored three runs and increased his league-leading number of stolen bases to 10.

Admirals starter Joe Watson got one run of support before he even stepped on the mound, but couldn’t find his command once he got there. He lasted just an inning. He and his replacement, Christopher De Leon, plus two Vallejo errors allowed the Stompers to take a 7-2 lead after two.

Meanwhile, Ty’Relle Harris cruised on the mound for the Stompers. He struck out 11 through six innings to earn the win – which he credits to good control of his fastball and cutter. In his Stompers debut last week, Harris struck out nine in seven innings and allowed just one run.

Harris, who previously reached as high as Triple A in the Chicago Cubs organization, pitched at Arnold Field for the first time Tuesday.

“The atmosphere was great. You hear fans from the first to the ninth,” Harris said. “Even when I was doing not so well, they still had my back.”

Stacy Piagno made her 2017 debut in her second year with the team.

“It was awesome. I’m really glad that it was at home because there’s such a family atmosphere here,” Piagno said.

Both Piagno and Whitmore saw action in the game.

“I respect them both so much,” Harris said. “There’s got to be a lot of haters out there when there’s women in baseball. I give those two a lot of credit. They’re out here working hard like us every day.”

The Stompers first home stand was short, ending Thursday, results not available at press time.

The Stompers will be on the road in San Rafael this weekend with Friday, Saturday and Sunday games, and then they’re at Vallejo next Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday before returning home for a six-game home stand with all six games against San Rafael.