Right-handed pitcher Stacy Piagno earned the first win of her professional career for the Sonoma Stompers Professional Baseball Club, presented by Virginia Dare Winery, Saturday, becoming one of just three women to earn a win in an American men’s professional baseball league since the 1950s.
“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.
Piagno made her first start of the season Saturday, pitching seven strong innings, and allowing just one earned run on four hits in the Stompers 16-1 victory over the Pittsburg Diamonds. She set career highs in innings pitched and strikeouts in her third appearance of 2017.
“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.”
Piagno retired the second-place Diamonds in order in four of seven innings pitched, and did not allow a run after the first inning. Pittsburg leads the Pacific Association in hitting.
Last season, Piagno and outfielder Kelsie Whitmore made the Stompers the first female teammates to play on a co-ed men’s professional baseball team since the 1950s.
“Being a role model for younger girls, that was something that I never had growing up,” Piagno said.
Whitmore started Saturday’s contest in left field behind Piagno and recorded her first hit of 2017.
“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.”
Eddie Mora-Loera and Isaac Wenrich both struck for three hits on the night while Masa Miyadera knocked in four runs. Kevin Farley also reached base five times and recorded two hits, his first since June 20.
After the Diamonds managed one run in the first, the Stompers answered back with four in their half of the frame.
“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 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.”