By Taylor Jennings: The Santa Barbara Foresters ended their regular season in fitting fashion Wednesday night as their pitching staff set a season high with an 18-strikeout performance en route to a commanding 11-2 victory over the Coastal Cubs.
The story of the 2019 ’Sters season has continually revolved around elite pitching depth coupled with aggressive, top-end speed on offense. Both were shown off in spades in Wednesday’s playoff tuneup victory, as the Pershing faithful also witnessed an offensive season best of 8 thefts on the basepaths.
Put it all together, and the Foresters completed arguably their most complete win of the season just ahead of postseason play.
Early on, it did not appear as if the Cubs were intimidated by their Santa Barbara counterparts in the slightest. The Cubs jumped out of the gate in the top of the first with three consecutive singles off of SB starter Christian Winston to tally the first run of the ballgame. However, the early adversity kicked the southpaw into gear, as he responded to strike out the next 3 batters in the inning.
After Zach Presno tied the game up with a single to left in the home half, the Cubs continued to apply pressure offensively. Their first two hitters in the second reached safely, only to come up empty thanks to a double play ball completed by Tommy Holguin and Ryan Cash and a big strikeout of Gavin Haimovitz to end the threat.
The two local teams traded runs once again in the third thanks to fantastic baserunning from Tommy Holguin, but the ‘Sters finally began to assert their offensive brilliance an inning later in the fourth. With a runner on second and the score knotted at 2-2, Zach Presno launched a moonshot to left to give the Foresters a lead that they would never relinquish.
Presno finished 2-3 with 3 RBI while Dru Baker laced a triple and stole a pair of bags leading to his 2 runs scored. Jacob Katzfey also finished 2 for 3 with a stolen base.
Meanwhile, each of the Foresters’ eight pitchers had at least one strikeout; six had multiple strikeout performances. Nico O’Donnell picked up the win, but it was truly a collective effort for the ‘Sters staff.
Santa Barbara returns to action on Friday for the CCL Championship Game at Cal Lutheran in Thousand Oaks. First pitch is scheduled for 4:30 with all of the action brought to you live courtesy of KZSB 1290. (The game will be on newspress.com until 6 pm when it switches over to live radio.)