By Ryan Greenberg
The crooked number the Arroyo Seco Saints put up in the fifth inning powered them to a road win over the Santa Barbara Foresters by a score of 5-2, with the Foresters offense struggling against tremendous Saints pitching.
In the second inning, Greg Pace made a spectacular diving catch across his body in shallow left-center field to record the first out. “I was kind of sort of on autopilot,” Pace remarked when asked about the play. “When you play center field, you just have to have that mindset that you’re the only one out there, and that’s kind of that feeling I had. You’re the only one out there. Go get it, center field’s got priority. No excuses.”
In the third inning, Pace almost earned his second diving catch in as many innings, but unfortunately could not secure the ball in his glove in an otherwise fantastic effort. Jaime Perez reached second base on a double, and then stole third on a pass ball. Perez then stole home on a wild pitch for the first run of the game.
The Saints then rattled off three runs rallying in the fifth inning. Perez once again led off the inning with a bloop-hit single, and Max Blessinger followed up with a walk. In the next at-bat, Mason Hammonds flared a single over shortstop to drive in Perez. Jared Quandt then drew a walk to load the bases, and then Alec Jones drove in both Blessinger and Hammonds on a two-RBI double. Mason Koch of the Foresters was able to limit the damage on the mound, striking out two and fielding a hard comebacker and forcing a pickle between third base and home plate.
The Foresters were able to pull one back in the bottom of the fifth. Gianni Horvat reached second base on a throwing error, and then stole third on a wild pitch. Daniel Patterson then grounded out to the Saints’ second basemen, but drove in Horvat in the process for the Foresters’ first run of the game.
Alex Birge of the Saints hit a lead-off home run to expand the Saints’ lead to 5-1 in the eighth inning. The Foresters rallied in response in the bottom half of the frame, but stranded the bases loaded without scoring. The Foresters would again generate offense in the bottom half of the ninth inning. Ryan Black would reach second on a fielder’s choice-turned-error, and Will Rogers drove him in with an RBI single to cut the deficit to 5-2. However, Rocco Garza-Gongora would be robbed of the opportunity to extend the inning, and the game, thanks to an incredible diving game-clinching catch from Quandt in right field.
The Foresters travel to Thousand Oaks tomorrow for the first of a three game series against the Conejo Oaks, with the first pitch scheduled for 4:00 p.m. at Sparky Anderson Field. All Foresters games can be heard live on 1290 AM radio; listen online or stream live via the Foresters’ website, www.sbforesters.org.