Facing off with the Seattle Studs for the sixth time since the 2005 NBC World Series, the Santa Barbara Foresters fell 3-2 in the final game of the winner’s bracket.
Starting pitcher Andrew Godail survived a balancing act through six and a third innings, but departed with men on first and second in the seventh.
After Willie Kuhl entered the game, the Studs executed a double steal to move their men up to second and third with one out. Kuhl followed up with a wild pitch, scoring the go-ahead run from third and putting another at third.
Blake Fox entered before Kuhl could record an out, as he walked the lone batter he faced. Fox, who moved to the bullpen for the NBC World Series, struck out the two men he faced to escape the inning.
In the top of the eighth inning, play stopped for around 10 minutes after an odd play happened with Garrett Mattlage at first and Joey Epperson at the plate. As Epperson attempted to sacrifice over Mattlage, a foul ball rolled to the third base side and Studs catcher Kyle Sutherland touched the ball with his mask.
By rule, attempting to stop the ball with equipment other than your glove is a three penalty. After the umpires sent Mattlage home on the penalty, the potentially tying run, the Studs appealed the ruling and emerged victorious. Mattlage returned to first and Epperson continued to his at-bat.
Epperson struck out and after Ryan O’Hearn walked with two out, Shane Hoelscher flew out to end the inning and the Foresters final threat.
Unfortunately for the Foresters, their scoreless innings streak came to an end almost immediately. After a leadoff single for Ty Holm, Brian Corliss laid down a sacrifice, fielded by Godail who turned and threw it past O’Hearn.
With men on second and third and one out, Eric Peterson grounded out to Mattlage and brought an unearned run home.
As they have at times this season, Godail worked himself into trouble with a two-out walk in the third inning. With Yusuke Akitoshi standing on first, Peterson drove in his second RBI of the game thanks to an double down the first base line. The left-hander from Sam Houston State finished the game with seven strikeouts, two walks, five hits in 6 and a third innings.
Offensively, again it came down to timely hitting to scrap runs together one by one. In the fourth inning, O’Hearn doubled down the left field line with Jacob Felts at first. As the two stood at second and third, Hoelscher grounded out to the right side to push one in and cut the lead to 2-1.
Clutch hitting provided another run in the fifth, as Colt Atwood lofted his third single of the game into the leftfield with two outs. Mattlage followed with a line drive to right field where Matt Becker awkwardly reached forward and missed the ball. As it rolled into the Forester bullpen, Atwood raced home and Mattlage ran into third as the score moved to 2-2.