Tag Archives: Stacy Piagno

Piagno Makes History, Pacific Association Finishes First Half

Last year, Indy Ball Island reported on history being made in the Pacific Association.

The Sonoma Stompers signed two female players, Kelsie Whitmore and Stacy Piagno, last July.

The Stompers’ GM, Theo Fightmaster, assured everyone that it was not just a publicity stunt that would last a few days.

And he definitely proved that by having the women play again this year… giving them a chance to get professional experience playing against men.

That experience paid off as Stacy Piagno made history again on Saturday, July 15th, when she became only the third woman to earn a win in men’s professional baseball since the 1950’s.

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Stacy Piagno delivers a pitch at Peoples Home Equity Ballpark at Arnold Field during her seven-inning, four-hit performance in the Sonoma Stompers 16-1 victory over the Pittsburg Diamonds on Saturday. (James W. Toy III / Sonoma Stompers)

In her third appearance and first start of the season, Piagno pitched seven strong innings allowing one earned run on four hits while recording four strikeouts. She retired her last 11 batters and 20 of 22 from the 2nd to the 7th inning.

“This was a great night for Stacy and a fantastic night for baseball,” said Stompers president and general manager Theo Fightmaster. “This was a start she’s been preparing for, and she validated the opportunity she was given. That was an incredible performance against a very tough lineup.”

The 7 IP and 4 K were both a career high for Piagno as well.

“It’s always a thought in your mind, especially in our situation coming in here as a female, can I really be successful? Can I go deep in the game? I’m not just out here for a hoax. It proves to myself that yes, all the hard work can pay off and yes, I can be successful out here,” Piagno said. 

Whitmore also started the game in left field and recorded her first hit of the 2017 season.

Their manager and teammates are proud of them as well.

“From last year, (Whitmore) was really working to get better and asking to pick everybody’s brain,” said manager Takashi Miyoshi. “She’s a great student of the game… The USA has an incredible baseball culture, but not to women in baseball yet. Like I said to the two girls, they’re going to be the icons of the game,” Miyoshi said. “Coming here, pitching against guys who were in affiliated ball, playing pro ball like three years ago, it’s not easy, trust me… I’m just really proud of her.”

The women certainly feel the love and respect as well.

“This team is my family, in and out. That’s something that I even thought of before the game. These guys are my family, they have my back,” Piagno said.

The Pacific Association wrapped up their first half of the season on Sunday.  Here are the final standings from the first half:

Sonoma Stompers 28-11
Pittsburg Diamonds 21-18
San Rafael Pacifics 17-22
Vallejo Admirals 12-27

The Stompers, who clinched last Wednesday, also set a franchise record for wins (28) in the first half.

The second half of the season begins tonight when the San Rafael Pacifics travel to take on the Sonoma Stompers and the Vallejo Admirals play host to the Pittsburg Diamonds.

 

Sonoma Stompers Sign Two Female Players

The Sonoma Stompers of the Pacific Association never shy away from doing something different when it comes to baseball.

They were the first professional team to have an openly gay player, pitcher Sean Conroy. Usually a relief pitcher, Conroy ended up being the starting pitcher on the team’s pride night last year. He pitched a complete game shutout that night while his teammates wore rainbow colored socks and armbands showing their support.

Last year, the Stompers also allowed two statistically driven baseball writers to work as part of their baseball operations department.

This year, they are making history by signing two female players for the month of July. The team has announced that they have signed Kelsie Whitmore, 17, and Stacy Piagno, 25.

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Both players are scheduled to start in Friday’s game (July 1st) against the San Rafael Pacifics with Whitmore playing in left field and Piagno on the mound.

Whitmore played varsity baseball in high school and has a softball scholarship to Cal-State Fullerton. Piagno has played on the U.S. Women’s National Team and played college softball.

The team’s GM, Theo Fightmaster, told MLB.com that this isn’t just a publicity stunt for his team.

“This isn’t a one-day event. That’s been done a dozen times. Let’s give women a chance to be part of a team, let’s give women a chance to play against men. What will they learn? What have they not been coached because they haven’t had the same coaching as boys? I remember being really disappointed with my sister’s coaches because they coached the girls a lot different than how I was coached.”

Fightmaster wants to raise awareness for female baseball players and  also hopes that this is only the beginning for American women in baseball. Even though some countries such as Japan already have strong women baseball teams, America has been far behind in that respect.

“There’s not enough places or ways for women to play baseball in this country,” Fightmaster says. “Women get funneled into softball — if they want to play baseball, they end up playing softball.”

There’s no predicting how the women will do, but after their first start, they will be fighting for playing time like the rest of the players.

“Both of these girls are on the roster,” Fightmaster said. “They’re gonna play however much they earn. They are not gonna be in the starting lineup every night so we can sell more tickets. It’s a big game on July 1 and they’ll both be in the lineup and after that we’ll see what their performance dictates.”

We will continue to follow how the women do in their month with the Stompers;  However after July, Whitmore will be leaving to go begin her college career while Piagno will be starting a career in teaching.