In perhaps the most topsy-turvy baseball game in Foresters’ history, Santa Barbara simply played better ball to survive three lead changes, and thrill the home crowd with a seventh straight victory.
The craziness of the game can best be captured in the numbers and stats. The two teams combined for a staggering twenty-six runs, twenty-nine hits, and seven errors. They used a combined twelve pitchers and thirteen substitutes. There were six doubles and eight homeruns, including two sets of back-to-back homers and one set of back-to-back-to-back. Finally, there were three lead changes, the last of which left the Foresters on top until the final out.
The game began to get interesting in the bottom of the second. The Foresters down 1-0, started to put the bat on ball. Dylan Paul and Travis Moniot had back-to-back singles with one out. Then the Legends seemed to fall apart. They committed four errors and at the conclusion of the inning, both their manager David Klein and pitcher Sean Watkins were ejected from the game, for having words with both the Foresters’ dugout and the umpires. However, the meltdown only seemed to light a fire under Menlo Park and they came back to tie it in the top of the third off of a single by Steven McClean and then a two-run bomb to left center field by Nick Brooks.
In the bottom half of the third, the Foresters seemed to put it away, racking up five runs on two homers and four consecutive walks. Indeed, it seemed the scoring might be done for both teams as the fourth and fifth innings were relatively quiet. It turned out to be the calm before the storm. The Legends stroked six hits, including a pair of homers and all of a sudden, they were back on top, leading the ‘Sters 9-8 at the end of six.
Going into the bottom of the eighth, it looked bad for Santa Barbara, as they were trailing 10-9, as each team had scored one run apiece in the seventh. But then a walk made way for a Lex Kaplan two run homer to right field. The next batter Brett Boswell homered the other way. And the batter after him, Hunter Williams, stroked one to dead center to make it three in a row. All told, the Foresters put up a seven spot in the eighth inning, and led 16-10. A one, two, three ninth inning sealed the deal, and the Foresters won their seventh straight game.
After a rare day off on Monday, the ‘Sters will face their long-time rivals, the San Luis Obispo Blues, in an away game Tuesday night at 6:00 pm.—Matthew Selman