By Jim Buckley, photo by Christina Songer
Forester’s pitcher Peyton Tolle shut down the TBT Ballers, while the Foresters’ offense earned its third mercy-rule win of the NBC World Series in an 8-0 win in seven innings. Santa Barbara plays Friday at 6:30 pm SB Time in the national semifinal vs the team’s archrival, the Seattle Studs.
Wichita State’s Tolle was masterful on his college home mound, throwing six shutout innings, while allowing only three hits. The Ballers barely hit a ball hard and all their hits went the opposite way. The big lefty retired the final 10 batters he faced to earn his third win of the summer. Nick Proctor made a surprise seventh-inning appearance, but the move proved prescient as that was the game’s final inning; he once again struck out the side.
The mercy rule came about when the Foresters scored four runs in the seventh to double a 4-0 lead and reach the eight-run threshold. The big blow was a walk-off, three-run, pinch-hit double from Hunter Ensley, who crushed a ball to left centerfield to clear the bases and end the inning.
The march to mercy started early—Tolle and the Foresters couldn’t have asked for a better start. Miguel Santos walked to lead off the game, then Nick McLain continued his hot hitting, dropping a double into short left field. Nate Rombach, already among the tournament RBI leaders, crushed a ground-rule double to right field to score two runs. Rombach made it 3-0 on a wild pitch two batters later.
After leaving men on base in the next three innings, Tolle got more help in the fifth when Hudson White drove a two-out single to center to score McLain, who had reached on a fielder’s choice earlier in the inning. The Foresters then loaded the bases with two outs, but could not push across any more runs.
Then came the game-ending seventh. The hottest hitter in Wichita (the tournament leader at .667), Gavin Kash (pictured), got his second hit and first RBI of the night when he drove in Rombach, who doubled to lead off the seventh. A pair of walks followed before Ensley set off a slightly delayed celebration, as it took a few seconds for the Foresters to realize the game was over!
Tune in Friday to hear all the action vs the Studs, and to hear numerous stories about great Studs-Foresters clashes in the past. Seattle has become a perennial rival for the Foresters, and Friday night is sure to add another chapter to the story. Don’t miss a pitch: AM 1290, FM 96.9, online at KZSB, and via the NBC World Series YouTube Channel.