Photo by Vic Neumann
By Will Bashur
The Foresters suffered their second loss of the season in stunning fashion, dropping the game to the Orange County Riptide 2-1 in 11 innings. It was the first home loss for the ‘Sters, as they had previously been unstoppable at Pershing Park heading into Saturday night’s matchup. The Riptide and Foresters were neck-and-neck all game due to superb pitching on both sides.
Santa Barbara starter Caleb Sloan surrendered an early home run in the second to Riptide catcher Chase Sebby, but quickly found a rhythm to throw five scoreless innings. Sloan struck out four and walked none, shrinking his ERA to 1.80 on the year.
But the Orange County offense wasn’t the only one that struggled.
The Foresters’ bats went ice cold against Riptide pitching, striking out eight times and mustering only four hits. John Jensen supplied the sole run of the game for the ‘Sters, driving in Cody Masters on an RBI groundout in the third to tie the game 1-1.
The score stayed knotted for eight more innings, and the Foresters proceeded to play in their first extra innings game of the season. Neither team could break through until the 11th, when the Riptide were handed two gifts.
With two outs, a routine fly ball was hit to sure-handed left fielder Parker Upton. The top half of the inning appeared to be over, until Upton lost the ball in the unforgiving twilight sky, allowing Orange County second baseman Steve Curry to advance to second. The next batter, Chase Sebby, then hit a single into center field. Curry sprinted to third and made a lengthy turn off the bag, and shortstop Brandon Zaragoza thought he had a chance to pick him off as the runner scrambled back to third. Unfortunately, Zaragoza’s throw to third short-hopped Utah Jones and rolled to the fence of the Foresters’ dugout, allowing Curry to score and sealing the Foresters’ fate.
Santa Barbara was unable to recover from the shocking turn of the events, as Zaragoza and Upton struck out to conclude the gut-wrenching loss.
The ‘Sters will look to rebound tomorrow at Pershing Park in a CCL matchup with the Academy Barons at 2 PM. Be sure to tune into 1290 AM for full coverage of the game.