By Kyle Foster
Twitter: @NapaKyle @NapaSportsLive
Opening Night is big no matter how long you’ve been playing baseball, but for the Napa Silverados it was the start of a new era of baseball in the valley. In their Pacific Association of Pro Baseball Clubs debut the Silverados rolled to a 12-3 victory over the visiting San Rafael Pacifics.
“It was nice to come out here with a lot of energy,” Napa skipper Tito Fuentes Jr. said of taking their first contest of the season. “The players amped up for their first pro game, (for) most of them, and they brought the energy with them and they stayed composed at the same time and did their job.”
“It was a great time,” Silverados first baseman Josh Montelongo said of winning the opener. “First game playing for the Napa Sliverados, got very close to not playing baseball and Tito gave me a call two days after our season ended at Sonoma State and I told him ‘you know I’ll think about it, talk to my parents’ and I’m glad I came to play. I’m having a blast.”
Napa (1-0) had a seven-run bottom of the first to help propel them on the evening. The inning was highlighted by back-to-back home runs by Montelongo and Dominic Bethencourt.
“It felt good,” Montelongo said of hitting his first homer on the season. “I knew it was gone I gave it a peek and then took off after that, but it was a good feeling.”
The Pacifics’ (0-1) scored two runs in the fourth and a run in the seventh for their only tallies on the scoreboard on the night.
The Silverados also scored in the third, fifth, and the seventh, but in the seventh they made sure the season opener would go to them with a three spot. Nicco Toni singled and came in on a Ray Jones single. Kai Davis walked and Nick Gotta singled before being brought in on a Nick Kern single.
Napa starting pitcher Scott Harkin got the win. In five innings of work he struck out three and walked three. He gave up two runs both of which were unearned. Drue Bravo pitched two innings and gave up one earned run. Robert Humes finished the game with two shutout innings of work.
“Oh yeah he came out dominant,” Montelongo explained. “I’ve never got a chance to see him pitch. I know he went Sonoma State, he got there a few years before me, so I was very excited to see what he brought to the table and he was lights out. He did great.”
“I think the pitching performance was good,” Fuentes said of the pitching. “We kinda got out of our rhythm in the third inning and in the fourth inning, but then we came back to it and we went to our bullpen and I think they did ok. There was a little bit of shaky ground and then it was alright after that.”
The attendance was tallied at 415 for the home opener.
“I wasn’t expecting this at all,” Montelongo added on the attendance. “I was talking to some buddies in the league and they said ‘you’d be lucky with 100-150 fans’ and I was just like ‘well opening night’s sold out’, I was expecting 200 people and then I showed up and I saw everyone out here and that just fires us up. We want to see everyone come out, have a good time, and we’re going to put on a good time every time people come out, so hopefully the city of Napa keeps coming out. A great turnout helps us too — we love it.”
The teams meet again today at 6 p.m. at Napa Valley College’s Storm Field.
OPENING DAY FESTIVITIES
Before the game started there was plenty going on.
Vida Blue, a former pitcher for the San Francisco Giants, Oakland A’s, and Kansas City Royals, was on hand for the opener along with Bill Bucker, a 1968 graduate of Napa High, Mike Thompson (D-St. Helena), and KTVU Fox 2 Sports Director Mark Ibanez.
“Anytime Vida’s in my presence it’s always a pleasure,” Fuentes added. “(That’s) my first time meeting Bill Buckner — loved his presence too. There’s a lot of history right there, so I loved having those two people and Mark Ibanez also.”