The San Quentin All-Stars baseball team fought hard against the visiting Sonoma Stompers, but too many mental errors against a professional team caused a 10-4 loss.
The 2016 Pacific Association Baseball League champion Stompers opened the game with a 3-0 lead. The Stompers Isaac Wenrich and Matt Lococo both smashed deep balls for doubles to score runs. Matt Hibert singled in Lococo, who ran the bases with superb speed.
“Coming here helps you understand what happiness is,” said Wenrich. “It lets you know, you have a choice in your happiness, and your day can’t be that bad. These guys are finding happiness where they can. Some people take things for granted.”
All-Stars pitcher Brendan Terrell had a strong day on the mound. He pitched all nine innings. But the All-Stars defense had a slow start, bobbling balls, overthrowing bases and not hustling for pop-flies.
“We had a big challenge to overcome with them being who they are,” said Terrell. “I prayed all morning for God to let me use my God-given talent to have a good game. Even with all the mental errors, we still had fun.”
Terrell smashed a homerun over the left-field gate to score himself and Ruben Harper in the fourth inning to close the lead 4-2.
“It’s an honor to be here. This is our way to support the sport,” said John Sebastiani, the Stompers new owner. “I think this event has a positive influence on the guys, because they get to play men who could get called up to the majors. It was a real honor to keep the Stompers in the Sonoma community. I’m a big believer in community, and we hope to make coming here an annual event.”
Terrell stepped again to the plate in the sixth inning and crushed a two-run double to tie the score, 4-4, giving the All-Stars some motivation.
“The thing about this program is, it helps you function with the community both inside and out,” said All-Star Christopher Smith. “This experience is an opportunity to tear down walls and borders and built bridges.”
The Stompers added runs in the sixth and seventh innings for the 6-4 lead. But in the ninth, their batters went to work. Yuki Yasuda, who traveled from Japan for the big leagues, singled past second. Kevin Ferry followed with a line drive single in the center-field gap. Lococo brought both men in with a deep homerun over the right-field gate, causing the ball to bounce off a bungalow’s roof for the 9-4 lead.
“You could feel the good vibes all-around. The guys really wanted us to come in and compete,” said Stomper Hibert. “You can tell by the way they light up. They still have the ability to inspire. No one is feeling sorry for themselves here; they are striving for more.”
The All-Stars players were from the San Quentin A’s and Giants teams.
“I am really proud of the guys. They brought it, minus the errors,” said John “Yah Yah” Parratt, the All-Stars inmate coach from the SQ A’s. “Everybody stepped up. We thanked the Stompers for coming in.”
Terry Burton, inmate coach from the SQ Giants, added, “We were competitive. We played our game.”
The May 27 game had good will heckling from the small crowd of baseball fans and the teams. The event closed with all the players and coaches meeting on the mound for an inspirational prayer.
“This was a great event for Sonoma and San Quentin; it’s humbling,” said Takashi “Yoshi” Miyoshi, the Stompers manager. “This was a once-in-a-lifetime experience; it makes you appreciate what you have.”