By Taylor Jennings
The Foresters lost late Tuesday when the OC Riptide scratched across four runs in the seventh and another in the eighth to complete an improbable come-from-behind 5-4 victory.
The surprise ending spoiled a great start by Isaac Coffey. The rising sophomore at Oral Roberts spun six spectacular shutout innings and struck out nine while scattering just three hits. Thanks to Ross Cadena, who finished 3-5 with 3 RBI, Coffey left after six with a 4-0 lead and was in line for his third win of the season.
However, a pair of seventh inning homers off of SB reliever Drake Greenwood shifted the tide of the game, and Orange County managed to scratch across the game-winning run an inning later.
The Foresters experienced their fair share of adversity Tuesday, as it took them 6 hours and 2 buses to reach Great Ballpark in Irvine. With the start time pushed back to the max and minimal time to warm up, it was “show and go time” according to Manager Bill Pintard.
Despite their late arrival, it was the ’Sters who appeared ready to play for much of the game. A pair of Riptide errors bracketed by two SB hits got the visitors on the board in the third. Cadena scorched a clutch 2-out single to right to score Eric Kennedy and give the ’Sters an early lead.
The following inning, Santa Barbara went back to work, grinding out at bats against Riptide starter Tyler Booth. Connor Pavolony drew a leadoff walk and scored thanks to two more errant pickoff throws from OC. After Tevin Tucker and Kennedy reached, Cadena came through once again with a clutch 2-out single to plate a pair.
While Coffey breezed through his six frames, the ‘Ster bullpen experienced its fair share of hiccups. Drake Greenwood could only record an out while surrendering 4 runs in the 7th. The right-handler allowed a pair of long homers to Andre Antone and Connor Aoki, and the tying run scored on an error from shortstop Tevin Tucker with a drawn- in infield
One inning later, the hosts broke through once again against Brock Helverson thanks to some fortuitous timing. With runners on the corners and one out, Orange County’s Trey Lipscomb stole 2nd and forced the Santa Barbara infield to cut off the potential go-ahead run. On the next pitch, Connor Aoki popped up softly behind 1st base. With the infield now drawn in with the double play no longer in order, the ball dropped and gave the Riptide their first lead of the ballgame.
In addition to Cadena, Eric Kennedy reached and scored twice while Spencer Jones knocked two singles to left for the ‘Sters. In the end, the bullpen could not hold on for the win.
The Foresters travel to Compton tomorrow to take on the MLB Academy Barons. First pitch is scheduled for 2:00 pm; catch the game on AM 1290.