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Admirals’ homers sink Stompers

Former Major League baseball star Vida Blue couldn’t help the Sonoma Stompers Wednesday night.

Blue, who played for 17 years for teams including the Oakland A’s and the San Francisco Giants, threw out the first pitch in Wednesday’s game against the Vallejo Admirals. The former MVP, Cy Young Award-winner and three-time World Series champion met with the Stompers team to answer questions and share insight from his illustrious baseball career.

But, once the game began, the Vallejo Admirals used three home runs to sink the Stompers, 7-3.

The Admirals, who finished in last at the end of the first half, have caught fire in the second and sit just one game back of the league-leading Stompers.

The Admirals made noise early with the long ball. Mike Blank went yard in the first, driving in two Vallejo runs. Sonoma starter Scott Plaza struck out eight in six innings of work, allowing four earned runs.

Sonoma’s Derrick Fox knocked two base hits on Wednesday, one of which was a solo home run to right in the third. It was Fox’s first home run as a Stomper since returning to the team this season.

“It felt good. I was just looking for something to drive, really just trying to get on base at that point in the game,” Fox said. “When I hit it, I kind of knew it was gone.”

The Stompers offense steadied in the later innings. By the end of the night, all but two Stompers had a hit. Fox and Matt Hibbert, who celebrated a birthday on Wednesday, both recorded a pair of hits while Brennan Metzger extended a hitting streak to 11 games.

It was a two-run homer in the ninth that solidified the win for Vallejo. With Graylin Derke on base, Quintin Rohrbaugh homered to make the score 7-2. The Stompers answered with one run in the bottom of the frame, but couldn’t overcome the five-run deficit.

Tuesday, the Admirals beat the Stompers, 4-1.

The Admirals finished in the bottom of the Pacific Association first half, but have surged early as the only other team in the league over .500 in the second.

With the Stompers still looking for their first hit in the fifth, Brennan Metzger knocked a single through the hole in left. He got caught on the basepaths and the Stompers only managed two hits through seven off of Vallejo starter Marquis Hutchinson, the reigning Pacific Association Rookie of the Year.

Fox was the only other Stomper to record a hit, sending a ball to the warning track in left before getting picked off on the basepaths as well. The low-offense night paired with three errors.

Eric Gonsalves made his second outing in 2017, returning to the Stompers as a member of the 2016 championship team. His last time out, he gave up a home run on his first pitch back. This time, Gonsalves pitched a clean, 11-pitch inning in the seventh before conjuring a strikeout to get out of a jam in the eighth.

The Stompers made noise in that frame as Marcus Bradley and Eddie Mora-Loera reached base on two consecutive walks. A pair of sacrifice hits moved them over twice, Bradley across the plate for the first Stompers run of the game.

With the loss, the Stompers drop to 40-19 on the season and 12-8 in the second half while the Admirals climb to 23-36 overall, 11-9 in the second half.

The Stompers host the Pittsburg Diamonds for a weekend series. Games Friday, Saturday and Sunday all start at 6 p.m.

After this weekend, the Stompers have only one more home stand this season – Aug. 18, 19 and 20 – before finishing the season on the road with three games each at San Rafael, Vallejo and Pittsburg.