New face, new league, new season

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The Sonoma Stompers host Opening Day at Arnold Field on June 2 against the San Francisco Seals, the first game in two years since the COVID-19 pandemic in a new league called the California Collegiate League.

With these changes, the team begins its season in a new league with an all-new roster of players, including college players from across the United States in hopes of developing their skills and furthering their baseball careers.

A new league

Before the pandemic, the Stompers played in the Pacific Association of Professional ballclubs, an independent league operating in North Bay. The league canceled games in 2020 due to the pandemic and remained inactive until the summer of 2022 without any official statement, essentially marking its dissolution.

With the two-season hiatus, most former players moved to other leagues to continue playing professional baseball, leaving the Stompers without a league and without a team for two full seasons.

In October 2021, after their missed second season, the Stompers made the decision to move to the CCL, a North Bay league that gives college baseball players the opportunity to hone their craft over the summer.

Many of these players hail from colleges in California, from Santa Rosa Junior College to California Polytechnic State University and the University of California at Berkeley. There are also several players from out of Utah State, Illinois State, and Hawaii Hilo.

Among the baseball players coming to revive the Stompers for the 2022 season are nine players from Sonoma County and Napa who switched to college baseball.

In the immediate vicinity of Sonoma are three players: Max Handron of Sonoma Valley, Gavin Rognlien, a native of Sonoma, and Maxx Castellucci of Justin Siena. Although the three went to separate high schools, all three joined their local team for the summer.

After signing a summer with the Stompers, Handron committed to Berkeley after a shortened varsity prom season at St. Benedictine in 2020 and two seasons at Santa Rosa Junior College.

Rognlien played two years for the Dragons’ junior varsity teams before moving to Cardinal Newman’s elite baseball program, where he graduated in 2020. Rognlien will join the Stompers before moving to Santa Clara for his varsity season.

2019 graduate Max Castellucci moved to Mission College in Santa Clara, where he played for a year in 2020. After the shortened season, Castellucci transferred to Sacramento Community College and made three appearances during the season 2022.

There are seven other Sonoma County players: Garret James, Tyler Hellums, Daniel Morehead, Daniel Smith and Sean Flowers, as well as Petaluma natives Aidan Lombardi and Jack Gallagher.

A full season

The team is playing its first full season since 2019, when it was still part of the PAPB and a semi-professional ball club. But due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the dissolution of the PAPB, the team moved to the perennial league CCL, which has been in operation since 1993.

As a member of the CCL, the Stompers will play throughout California, as far south as Orange County and Santa Barbara.

Not only is the organization trying to rebuild after two missed seasons of ticket revenue, but the signing of players and staff for team operations has made this offseason one of the busiest in league history. ‘team.

Contact reporter Caleb Logue at [email protected].

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