By Jim Buckley
With a dramatic double play in the bottom of the ninth, the Foresters completed a come-from-ahead rally to beat the Saints 6-5 on Thursday night. After giving up an early 5-0 lead in large part due to errors, the Foresters won their tenth game of the summer with late-game heroics. The Sters took the lead for good on a ninth-inning single by Kevin Bazzell that scored Miguel Santos, who had doubled. In the bottom of the inning, Santos then started an unusual double play. With a Saints player running from first, Santos, playing shortstop, fielded a ground ball and got the first out at first base, but then the baserunner tried to advance to third and Gavin Kash, who had just entered the game in the eighth, fired to Bazzell to double up and win the game.
The opening act in the night’s drama was a solid early offensive outing for the Foresters. In the second, Hunter Ensley was hit by a pitch and stole second before coming home on a Rylan Charles double. Santos then drove in Charles.
Act 2 came in the third, when Griffin Everitt opened with a double. He scored to make it 3-0 after Tanner O’Tremba’s single eluded the right fielder. Nate Rombach then singled to score O’Tremba. Singles by Ensley and Will Pendergrass led to Rombach scoring and the Foresters were sitting pretty at 5-0.
But Act 3 brought tension and conflict to the Jackie Robinson Stadium stage. A Foresters error allowed the Saints to score in the fourth. A wild pitch and another error contributed to four more runs scoring in the fifth and suddenly, the tables had turned and the score was tied 5-5 until the action-packed denouement in the ninth.
Foresters starter Peyton Tolle had a bit of a hard-luck outing, scattering six hits and striking out five. He gave up all five runs, but only one was earned. His bullpen had his back, however, and Jack Faherty, Nick Griffin (in his Foresters debut), and Ian Churchill (pictured) shut out the Saints the rest of the way. Churchill ended up with the win after the Foresters’ ninth-inning heroics. Bazzell led the way at the plate with three of the Sters 13 hits.
Santa Barbara returns to Pershing Park on Thursday for the always-exciting and crowded The Independent Night, a 6 pm start vs the Conejo Oaks. Come early for good seats, or tune in on AM 1290 or FM 96.9 for all the action.