By Matt Mitchell
Photo by Eric Isaacs
This one goes to 11—the Foresters’ winning streak, that is.
Santa Barbara (27-9) defeated the San Francisco Seals 7-6 to cap off a two-game sweep. It wasn’t pretty, but the Foresters got the job done with another late-game rally to come from behind and keep their winning streak alive.
“It’s good if you can play sloppy early and then get it done later,” Pintard said. “We can learn from not playing well early and still winning a ball game. That says something.”
With Blair Henley on the mound, the Foresters got off to a rocky start. San Francisco struck first with two runs in the top of the first inning on a throwing error by Henley and an RBI double. Santa Barbara answered back with a run in bottom half of the inning thanks to a Josh Jung RBI single, one of his three hits in the game. The Foresters stranded runners at the corners, however, which proved to be recurring theme for most of the afternoon.
“We just played sloppy baseball early,” Pintard said. “Guys were just making mistakes out there.”
More sloppy play doomed the Foresters in the second inning, as San Francisco scored another run thanks to a wild pitch, making it 3-1. Steven Coe, starting at the catcher’s spot, saved the inning for the Foresters. Coe threw out a runner at second to end the inning, one of four baserunners Coe threw out on the day.
“He’s really good defensively,” Pintard said. “He did his job today and he’s hitting well, too.”
Henley seemed to find a groove after the tough start, finishing his day with back-to-back 1-2-3 innings in the third and fourth. The Seals struck with a big inning in the fifth after Henley exited, scoring three runs against relievers Nathan Wiles and Kyle Smith. Santa Barbara got a run back in the bottom half of the inning thanks to an error that scored Austin Todd from third.
Trailing 6-3 entering the bottom of the seventh, it was time for a Foresters’ rally, and they delivered again. Ryan Cash and Austin Todd got the rally started with back-to-back singles to lead off the inning. Evan Lee then drew a walk and loaded the bases for Luke Ritter, who delivered his second RBI of the game on a single to drive in Cash. Zach Humphreys then stepped into the batter’s box and drilled a bullet 2-run RBI single to left field to tie the game at 6-6.
The Foresters put up the game-winning run in the eighth. Chandler Bengston belted a single to right field. Joey Fiske pinch ran for Bengston and was promptly bunted over to second by Coe. Fiske stole steal third, but the Seals’ catcher threw the ball into left field and Fiske came home with the go-ahead run. Garrett Gayle came in to close out the game in the ninth and Santa Barbara secured yet another win.
The Foresters will be back in action Tuesday as they travel to Pasadena to take on the Arroyo Seco Saints. First pitch will be at 6 p.m.