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3-game winning streak puts Stompers on top

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The Sonoma Stompers played extra innings for the 10th time in 2018 Wednesday night, and for the eighth time this season they ended the night victorious, walking off again to top the Napa Silverados 3-2 at Arnold Field.

The Aug. 8 win was their third in a row, following a rocky trip to Martinez and San Rafael late last week. But as we go to press this latest winning streak puts the first-place Stompers two games up on the San Rafael Pacifics – their opponent for the next two games in San Rafael.

Between the National Anthem and the first pitch, Wednesday’s game saw a historic DC-3 fly over Palooza Park, one of two used by General Hap Arnold during WWII. Then things settled down with a six-inning pitching duel between Napa’s Scott Harkin and Sonoma’s Kenny Mathews. Harkin threw six strong innings with just one earned run allowed, but Mathews was better, throwing seven shutout innings giving up just four hits, no walks and five strikeouts.

“We established the fastball command early and Mitch has got a real good idea about these guys and what I like to throw as well,” Mathews said of his catcher, Mitch Ho. “It’s a good recipe for success for us.”

The run support he received was minimal, but enough to keep the Stompers ahead for much of the game. Kevin Farley singled home Kenny Meimerstorf with two outs in the fourth for the first run, then Meimerstorf blasted his 19th home run of the season to lead off the bottom of the sixth.

Entering the ninth the Stompers still led 2-0, but the Silverados got to reliever Jacob Cox who gave up a walk, a single and wild pitch. Then Dominic Bethancourt singled home the two base runners to tie the game.

The Stompers rebounded well in the 10th on both sides of the ball. With the international tiebreaker rule in effect – which puts two men on base as the inning begins – Ryan Richardson faced only two batters to record three outs, including a pickoff at second and an inning-ending strikeout for a scoreless frame.

Sonoma’s tenth saw them load the bases on a fielder’s choice, then with two outs Kam Stewart drew a walk to end the game, extending to 27 his streak of games reaching base.

The tight score provided contrast to the previous night, when the Stompers stopped the Silverados by a score of 11-3.

Seven Stompers hitters scored a run, seven recorded hits and five different players drove runs home with Cooper, Marcus Bradley, Kam Stewart and Daniel Baptista each collecting more than one RBI Tuesday night.

Baptista entered the game with four home runs on the season and left the night with six, crushing homers in his first two at-bats to drive in four runs. He also drew a walk in the game and scored three runs of his own.

“I’m just trying to keep it as simple as possible and put good wood on the ball,” Baptista said.

Bradley also had three hits, while Kevin Farley and Rayson Romero each drew three walks and scored two runs.

Meanwhile right-hander Tyler Sharp delivered another spectacular outing in his fifth start of the season. After a leadoff single in the first, Sharp retired the next 19 batters he faced, with five perfect innings between the second and sixth.

“He just looked confident,” catcher Ryan Cooper said. “He trusted all of his stuff and when pitchers are like that, it’s a lot more fun to catch because you have options. They feel a little more confident too and it works out in everyone’s favor.”

With the Stompers riding a three-game win streak, they turn their attention to the second-place San Rafael Pacifics, who sit two games back of Sonoma in the Pacific Association standings.

The Pacifics was the last team to beat the Stompers, scoring a decisive 13-7 victory on Saturday, Aug. 4, in San Rafael. First pitch at Albert Park in San Rafael is set for 7:05 p.m. Thursday (results not available at press time) and Friday.

The Stompers play six road games before returning to Sonoma on Thursday, Aug. 16, to start a four-game home stand.

To purchase Stompers tickets and to find more information about the team, visit stompersbaseball.com.