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Stompers to return in 2022 in new league

After a canceled 2020 season and no 2021 season at all, the Sonoma Stompers announced that they will bring professional baseball back to Sonoma next summer, joining the 11-team statewide California Collegiate League (CCL) for a 50-game schedule.

Eduardo Mora-Loera, after two years in the assistant general manager seat, was appointed the new general manager for the coming year, according to the Oct. 16 announcement from the Sonoma Stompers. “Joining the CCL has been something that we have been looking forward to since the pandemic first shut down the Pacific Association in March of 2019,” Mora-Loera said.

The CCL is in association with the National Alliance of Summer College Baseball, and in part funded by Major League Baseball. The league’s 11 teams list six in their Southern Division and now five in their Northern Division -- including the Healdsburg Prune Packers, who will be the Stompers’ nearest rival. Other northern teams are the Lincoln Potters (Placer County), Solano Mudcats and Walnut Creek Crawdads.

“Baseball is back and I am thrilled to announce our partnership with the California Collegiate League and Major League Baseball,” said owner Jon Sebastiani. “With this fresh start, the Stompers look forward to continuing player development at a high level and representing Sonoma on and off the field. Let’s play ball!”

The Pacific Association, founded in 2013, has been the Stompers home league since they were formed in 2014. The league has had trouble keeping even as many as four teams involved, and there was no word at this point on their future plans.

The Stompers have an illustrious if brief history. Major League Baseball star Jose Canseco joined the team briefly in 2015; that same year, the team received national attention when pitcher Sean Conroy became the first openly gay professional baseball player, a benchmark noted by a special exhibit at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.

A year later, they again made national news on July 22, 2016, when they had three female players on their roster – a milestone also recognized at the Baseball Hall of Fame.

The last Pacific League game was played on Sept. 2, 2019, with the Stompers losing the league title to the San Rafael Pacifics, 5-3, at Arnold Field.

The Sonoma Stompers plan to play a 50-game schedule, hosting 32 home games in Sonoma at Arnold Field between the last week of May and the first week of August. The CCL will host a North vs. South All Star game in July, 2022, with league playoffs starting the first week of August.

“The CCL provides top-quality collegiate summer baseball and we feel we will only add to the impressive mix already in place,” Mora-Loera said.

California Collegiate League Executive Director Aaron Milam said the league is selective about who they choose to join it. “We don’t add teams just to add; we add to get better, and that’s what we’ve done with the addition of the Stompers.”

Said league president Rick Turner, “You can’t beat collegiate summer baseball in California. We’re excited to add Sonoma as another premier CCL destination.”

Additional information and their 50-game schedule will be released soon. To learn more about the team, visit stompersbaseball.com.

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