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Grand slam propels Sonoma Stompers

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After sweeping the Pittsburg Diamonds at home on Thursday and Friday, the Sonoma Stompers split their weekend games on the road, losing to the San Rafael Pacifics on Saturday but bouncing back with a win in Pittsburg on Sunday.

The Stompers rebounded on Sunday, getting out to an early 2-1 lead after just an inning-and-a-half. Pittsburg scored two runs in the bottom of the second, but Kenny Meimerstorf sent a grand slam over the left field fence in the fifth inning to put the Stompers back on top for good at 6-4.

Dominic Topoozian earned his second win of the season, going six strong innings with five strikeouts and no walks. Robert Maislin, D.J. Sharabi and Jacob Cox combined for three scoreless inning out of the bullpen to seal the victory, Sonoma’s sixth of the season.

“I thought we pitched pretty well today, Dom did a great job for us,” Manager Zack Pace said. “It was a good way to finish the week, finish the week strong two games above 500. I thought we did a good job battling.”

Saturday, in Pace’s first game back in San Rafael since his five-year playing career there, the skipper sent four-year Pacifics veteran Patrick Conroy to the mound to start for the rival Stompers. Conroy held his former team hitless in four of six innings while striking out two.

The Pacifics topped the Stompers, 7-2.

“It was fun, other than we lost,” Pace said on his return to San Rafael. “It was a good time seeing everybody and all the great relationships I had over there with players, coaches, fans.”

Meimerstorf continued on his offensive tear despite the loss, ripping two singles and scoring Sonoma’s first run of the game in the fifth inning. One of those hits came against former Major Leaguer J.P. Howell. Howell most recently played for the Toronto Blue Jays in 2017.

The Stompers managed just two hits off of Howell, one of them by Meimersdorf and the other off the bat of catcher Daniel Comstock. Daniel Baptista also delivered, crushing his first home run of the season in the ninth.

The Stompers took revenge on the Diamonds, sweeping them Thursday and Friday after being swept in the previous series.

Thursday’s game ended in a walk off, with Comstock singling in two runners for the 11-10 win. Friday’s game was closer, as the 5-2 final was dominated by pitching and a big offensive inning from each team.

The Diamonds jumped out ahead early in Thursday’s game one, leading 8-1 through four-and-a-half innings, with Miles Williams’ fourth home run of the season being the only offense of the game. The Stompers bats got to work in the sixth inning, scoring five runs on five walks and one hit.

Sonoma tied the game in the bottom of the eighth, drawing two more walks and collecting a pair of hits. Williams collected his second hit of the game with an RBI single and Meimerstorf extended his season-opening hit streak to seven games.

Comstock’s leadoff single with the international tiebreaker rule in effect scored Rob DeAngelis and pinch runner Marcus Bradley to carry momentum into Friday’s game for the Stompers.

“It’s unbelievable,” Comstock said. “We were down 8-1, there was no panic, there was a sense of calm in the game, we were always in the ballgame with our bats.”

Friday, while Pittsburg once again scored first, Sonoma countered quickly, putting up five runs in the fourth inning on four hits, including DeAngelis’ first hit with the team, a two-run triple and a two-run moonshot of a home run from Meimerstorf.

Starter Ethan Gibbons carried the team all night long, with the hits and runs he gave up in the third inning being the only ones the Diamonds managed all night long.

The Stompers sport a 6-4 record, which has them tied with San Rafael and Napa for second place in the Pacific Association. Vallejo is in first with an 8-2 record, Pittsburg is in fifth place with a 3-7 record while Martinez is in sixth with a 1-9 mark.

After an off day on Monday, the Stompers head back to San Rafael Tuesday, game time is 7:05 p.m., then welcome the Pacifics home in Sonoma Wednesday at 6:05 p.m.

To purchase Stompers tickets and to find more information about the team, visit stompersbaseball.com, call 938-7277 or email info@stompersbaseball.com.