The Stompers became the first team in nearly 70 years to field an all-female professional battery
As infielder and hitting coach Joel Carranza told MLB.com on Thursday night, July has been a "month to remember" for the independent Sonoma Stompers. After all, the team didn't just sign U.S. Women's National Team members Kelsie Whitmore and Stacy Piagno, but they've seen them collect their first hit (at the plate) and strikeout (from the mound) respectively, while becoming important parts of the first-half-championship-winning Stompers.
The team added one more memory on Friday night as the Stompers officially signed a third in catcher Anna Kimbrell. As Stompers GM Theo Fightmaster said on the eve of her first start, she was an acquisition the team had long been eyeing. After all, not only can she catch and call a good game, but "she knows how to receive 92-93 [mph], with a good breaking ball," so she wouldn't be overmatched no matter who was on the mound.
It was a history-making move when the lineup card was submitted before the Stompers took on the Pittsburg Diamonds. When Kimbrell squatted behind the plate in the top of the first and Whitmore took the mound, it marked the first time since the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League that there was a professional battery featuring two female players.
While Whitmore was making her pro debut on the mound, and Kimbrell was appearing in her first Stompers game, it's not the first time the two have played together. They last played together during last year's Pan-Am Games when Whitmore posted a 1.40 ERA.
In the first inning against the Diamonds, the two continued their hot streak together. Using her mix of four-seam and two-seam fastballs to go with a slider and knuckleball, Whitmore retired the order 1-2-3.
Kelsie Whitmore's first pitch was put into play for an out. Whitmore retired the side in order in the first. pic.twitter.com/Sm5yaLzDaB— Sonoma Stompers (@SonomaStompers) July 23, 2016
Unfortunately, Whitmore wasn't as strong in the next inning as she allowed four runs. After giving up two baserunners in the third, she was lifted from the game. Still, for a left fielder/pitcher making her first pro start of the season at just the age of 18 -- plus teaming up with Kimbrell to do something that hasn't been seen in nearly 70 years -- she can hold her head high.
Unfortunately for the Stompers, the rest of the bullpen couldn't do much better. Down 13-0, pitcher Stacy Piagno, who plays some infield with the USWNT and has appeared at first for the Stompers, made her pro debut at second base.
Stompers go down in order in the fifth. Top 6 now with Jesse Holiday on to pitch for Sonoma in a 13-0 ballgame. @StacyPiagno in at 2nd base!— Sonoma Stompers (@SonomaStompers) July 23, 2016