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Sonoma Stompers force Game Three with narrow 5-4 win over San Rafael

The Stompers escaped a nail-biting ninth in San Rafael to live another day, when the Pacifics scored twice to narrow the gap to a single run – close, but not enough to defeat Sonoma.

The 5-4 Stompers victory in game two evened the series to one game each, moving Game Three back to Arnold Field to decide the Pacific Association title for 2019 tonight, Sunday, Sept. 1.

Rayson Romero, batting ninth in the Stompers lineup, played the hero with a 3-run home run off Michael Klein in the sixth inning, which put the visiting Sonoma team up 5-2. Romero was the first batter Klein faced when he came in to relieve Jorge Gonzalez, who got the loss.

Starter Nicholas Barnese earned the win, giving up five hits and three walks but striking out nine over five innings.

But it all came down to the bottom of the ninth. Ryan Richardson pitched the inning in relief of Konner Arnold, who tossed a near-spotless three innings, and immediately ran into trouble. Marksu Montelongo singled, Raul Navarro doubled, and with only one out the Pacifics had runners on second and third, with the tying run at the plate.

Yeiler Peguero, a .299 hitter in the season, singled in both runs to make it a 5-4 ball game.

That's enough of that, said the Stompers. Peguero was thrown out trying to steal second, and Axel Johnson – the Pacifics home run leader with 19 – struck out swinging to end the game.

Sunday's game for the title will give the Stompers a chance to win only their second league champtionship. Their first came in 2017 when they took both first-half and second-half honors, but the Pacifics can claim four titles – including last year.

First pitch is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. for the last game of the season at Palooza Park, Arnold Field, in Sonoma. The game will be broadcast live on Comcast channel 27 in Sonoma, and aired on KSVY-FM. Tickets at stompersbaseball.com or at the gate if still available.

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