by Nate Loop
The Bakersfield Braves were only in town for the day, but in that time managed to steal a victory from the Foresters clutches, putting together a late rally to come back and beat the Foresters 5-3.
Foresters starter Brandon Pierce rebounded from his loss last weekend against the Braves and threw five strong innings, allowing no runs on 4 hits and striking out 4.
The Foresters infielders were flashing the glove all day backing up Pierce, and looked their best in the second inning when they turned a remarkable triple play. The Braves got two bloop singles to set the stage for the play. Braves catcher Ross Hough hit a chopper down the the third base line that Austin Davidson did well to snag, step on the bag, and fire to Joey Gonzales at second. Gonzales avoided the hard slide, and whipped the ball over to Zach Fish at first to complete the 5-4-3 play, drawing a roar from the Foresters faithful.
The ‘Sters put up two runs in the bottom of the third inning, with triple-play heroes Gonzales and Davidson each collecting an RBI. The way Pierce was pitching and the rest of his teammates were fielding, it looked like the 2-0 lead would hold up easily.
For seven innings, the ‘Sters looked totally in control. Strong pitching and solid fielding muffled the Braves bats for most of the afternoon. The game cruised along quickly and raced towards the late innings, but there’s no running out the clock in baseball, and the Foresters two run lead disappeared with the Santa Barbara sunshine.
The Foresters went down in a tough top of the 8th inning. ‘Sters reliever Albert Minnis looked shaky and gave up three runs, putting the Foresters down 3-2 for the moment.
In the bottom of the 8th inning, the Foresters had runners on first and second with 2 outs on the board. Robert Vickers came up and hit a grounder to second baseman Matt Packer, who botched the easy play and fired the ball past the first baseman, allowing Austin Davidson to score and tie the game up at 3-3.
In the top of the 9th, Braves right fielder Kyle Desimone came up with the bases loaded crushed a pitch from Foresters pitcher T.J. McGreevey into the left-center field gap. The ball mercifully bounced over the wall for a ground-rule double to put the Braves up 5-3, keeping an extra run off of the final scoreline.
‘Sters reliever Jose Cardona (pictured on front page) stood out along side Pierce on the pitching mound. He pitched the sixth and seventh innings, giving up just one hit and striking out three.
The loss drops the Foresters to 3-4 on the season, but as the Braves are a non-league opponent, their record remains 2-1 in the CCL.
The Foresters turn their attention to two games this weekend against non-league opposition, playing the San Diego Force. The first game is set for a 5-10 p.m. start Saturday afternoon at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium.