By Jim Buckley (Photo by Kylie Koeper)
Homers are where the heart is. Santa Barbara cracked three longballs for all their scoring in a 5-2 win over the Santa Maria Pea Soup, the Foresters’ 20th win of the season.
Jack O’Dowd launched his first dinger of the season for the game’s first run in the third. Christian Encarnacion (pictured) followed an inning later with his sixth homer, a two-run shot to left that gave SB a 3-0 lead. The big DH added an RBI single in in the sixth. Encarnacion’s homer gave him the team lead for 2020, but that lasted just a few innings, as 1B Jace Jung whacked a long shot over the right-centerfield fence for his own home run No. 6.
“We had some fun with [home run] race tonight,” said manager Bill Pintard. “Actually, our pregame home run goal was three, and we hit that goal.”
The Foresters managed (mostly) to escape several jams on the way to victory. Santa Maria loaded the bases in the fourth, but then starter Luke Taggart induced a 5-4-3 double play to end the inning. He gave up two singles and a walk with one out in the sixth, but then struck out the final two batters to end that threat. Reliever D.J. Contreras gave up two runs in the seventh, but neither was earned because when SS Peyton Graham tried to complete a possible inning-ending double-play, his throw got away.
“Peyton was actually trying to bounce it to our first baseman because at first you’re looking into the sun, but I told him you can’t do that on dirt!” laughed Pintard.
Along with Taggart picking up his third win of the season, newcomer Steven Zobac continued to impress, getting through his sole inning of work on just a handful of pitches. Nick Proctor earned his first save with a scoreless ninth.
The final Sunday game of the short 2020 season will be at 2 pm against this same Pea Soup team. Listen in at KCSB.org/sports or check out the Livestream on the link at the top of this page.