By Jim Buckley
Those big blasts you heard near the beach in Santa Barbara on the Fourth of July were not fireworks; they were the mighty (and unending) cracks of the Foresters’ bats as they went to town on the Bakersfield Braves, setting an all-time ’Sters scoring record in a 35-2 win. The game ended an inning early for obvious reasons.
Yes. You read that correctly. 35.
Every Foresters player had at least one hit and one run, while every starter but one had at least one RBI.
The standouts were legion. LF/CF Pat Caulfield showed just how helpful a No. 9 hitter can be by leading the way with five RBI and five runs on four hits, including two doubles and a triple. He also stole three bases, including a steal of third that came before the pitch was even thrown.
DH Christian Encarnacion continued his hot hitting with four hits and four RBI, including his third homer in only four games (and as we saw on Friday, that should be four-for-four). 1B Branden Boissiere earned the Iron Man award for racking up eight at-bats; he used them to get three hits and score four runs. SS Sean McLain, RF Ryan Holgate, and 2B Jack O’Dowd each got their first homer of the summer. McLain’s and O’Dowd’s were each three-run shots.
A pause in our hit parade to praise ’Sters pitching, which was once again outstanding. Starter Luke Taggart picked up where he left off in 2019, throwing four scoreless innings and striking out eight and allowing only two hits. Ian Churchill pitched a one-walk, one-K inning, and then Bryce Warrecker continued to impress, striking out the side in both of his innings. Blake Adams was touched up for the only Braves’ runs on a two-run homer in the eighth.
And manager Bill Pintard would be the first to mention that Santa Barbara put together another error-less game. That 17 of the Braves outs were made by strikeout does not diminish that feat.
On the bases, the Foresters ran wild as well. Along with Caulfield’s trio of thefts, the Sters stole five more bags.
Bakersfield battled bravely, but their pitching staff, beyond starter Alan Winans, was not up the to the task.
Santa Barbara wraps up its first week of 2020 action with a 2 pm game against the Inland Valley Buccaneers on Sunday. Tune in to KCSB.org/sports to hear Max Kelton and his team call the action!