By Jim Buckley
Talent counts for a lot in baseball, but in 2022, the Foresters showed how much hard work counts, too. “The work ethic of this team was tremendous,” said an overjoyed manager Bill Pintard after his team brought home the Foresters’ 10th NBC World Series championship Saturday night in Wichita, Kansas. “They were disciplined, focused, and committed. We had some bumps there, but they stuck with it, worked hard, and came through. We finished strong!” Indeed, the Sters were 14-2 from July 13, including a six-game winning streak in the World Series tournament.
UPDATE: 1045 pm:
Per the players’ vote Saturday night:
FORESTERS 2022 MVP: Miguel Santos
EP 19 PITCHER OF THE YEAR: Graham Osman
BEST TEAMMATE: Nate Rombach
In the championship game (a record-tying 12th for Santa Barbara), the Foresters batters put on a historic offensive display in their 12-1 win over the Hays Larks. Santa Barbara was named the top offensive team with a gaudy .376 average in six games. The final out came on a strikeout, the seventh of the game by Sters pitching, and the dogpile ensued on the infield, with Foresters pouring out of the dugout and the bullpen.
The title also gives Santa Barbara a threepeat: 2020, 2021, and 2022 only accomplished two other times in the 88-year history of the NBC World Series. The Foresters’ 10th title also extends their all-time lead.
Pintard accepted the Larry Davis trophy for his team for the tenth time, and then the 2022 Sters surrounded their manager and the trophy, holding it up high in celebration.
The outcome of this game was, to be honest, never in doubt. For the third game in a row, the Sters got the first two men on and both scored. Miguel Santos led off with a high chopping infield single, but the throw to first got away and he advanced to second. Nick McLain drove him in with a single. Gavin Kash, who would win both player of the game and tournament MVP, then thumped a deep double to left to score McLain.
The Foresters kept up the pressure in the second. Hudson White and Sebastian Orduno led off with back-to-back walks. An error moved White to third and then Gianni Horvat singled to score two runs and then promptly stole second, from whence he scored via a Santos single. A Nate Rombach sac fly allowed Santos to score his second run of thegame after he singled and moved to third on a wild pitch and a groundout.
In the sixth, the Foresters put a capper on the night with six runs. They started with back-t0-back-to-back doubles. Orduno was doubled in by Horvat, who was doubled in by Santos. After a Rombach single moved Santos to third, Kash boomed a double to deep left field to score both runners. Blayne Jones drove in Kash to complete the scoring. A solo run in the eighth on a wild pitch made it an even dozen. The Foresters ended the six-game tournament with 61 runs scored.
Meanwhile, Foresters pitching continued its sterling tournament. Parker Smith won his second game in Wichita with six innings of one-run ball, scattering four hits and striking out five. Kyle Robinson, Nick Griffin, and Chase Webster made it three more scoreless innings for a Foresters bullpen that allowed ZERO runs in 17 innings pitched. In all, Foresters pitchers allowed only 7 earned runs in six games; Santa Barbara’s 1.31 team ERA made them the winner of the Top Pitching Team award.
Other NBC awards included Home Run Award (Nate Rombach), Top Prospect (Kash), and Top Hitter (Nick McLain).
Congratulations to the entire Foresters organization, from Bill Pintard and Christina Songer at the top, through all the staff and volunteers, to all the Host Families and team families, to our sponsors and advertisers, and to all the fans. STER IT UP!