By Harry Croton
The wheels on the ’Sters bus went round-and-round for the first time in 2018, as Santa Barbara Foresters made its way south to historic Jackie Robinson Field in Pasadena for the start of a two-game road series against the Arroyo-Seco Saints.
An early barrage of hits backed by aggressiveness on the base paths breathed quick confidence into the Foresters lineup, as the club maintained a comfortable lead from start to finish to keep their undefeated record alive (4-0) and post an 11-7 victory.
Tennessee southpaw Garrett Crochet made his Foresters debut on the mound, setting the scene with 2 scoreless innings and allowing just 2 hits and a walk. He touched 93 mph with his fastball and showed terrific poise in the unfamiliar setting that was Brookside Park, throwing 28 of his 41 pitches for strikes.
The ’Sters offense struck early and often through the game’s first three innings, scoring 4 runs on 4 hits in the 1st, 3 runs on 3 hits in the 2nd, and 3 more runs on 2 hits and 3 walks in the top of the 3rd to build a 10-0 lead.
The biggest contributor through the early onslaught was red-hot C/DH Chase Illig, who came around to score following an RBI fielder’s choice in the 1st, and smacked a massive 3-run home run in the following inning. In addition, the Foresters stole a whopping 7 bases through the first half of the ballgame, including two well-executed double-steals to help pick apart the Arroyo Seco defense.
Leadoff man Logan Allen finished 3-4 with 2 stolen bases and four runs scored, while 2017 Forester MVP Luke Ritter made his second straight start for the club, scoring 3 runs of his own while ending his day 3-4 in 6 plate appearances.
Relievers Brad Demco, Conner Woods, and Chase Wallace combined for 4 1/3 innings of one-run ball to close out the contest, advancing the Foresters to 2-0 in CCL play and keeping them at first place in the league standings.
The ‘Sters will look to keep up their dominant efforts when they return to Jackie Robinson field tomorrow for the conclusion of the series, with first pitch set for 6:00pm. Tune into AM 1290 for complete coverage, starting with the Coastal Copy Pregame Show at 5:50.