By Jim Buckley
The Foresters left the Conejo Oaks in splinters after an 8-2 win in Thousand Oaks to celebrate Father’s Day in style.
After splitting the first two games of a rare three-game series with the Oaks, the Foresters wrapped up the series win on Sunday. As with Saturday’s 5-0 shutout, great pitching was the key. After starter Sam Garewal struggled in the first, allowing two runs in the first, he settled down to finish four innings with no more damage. Robert Cranz, a returnee from 2022, came on and shut down the Oaks, retiring nine batters in a row, including five on strikeouts.
“Sam was great for us after that first inning,” said manager Bill Pintard. “He came within a pitch of an immaculate inning in the second, too. Robert was just cruising, too, it was great to see that.”
Mason Koch stranded two Oaks in scoring position in the eighth. Zach Erdman tossed a perfect ninth in his Foresters debut.
Together, Foresters pitching allowed no hits or runs and only four baserunners from the second through the ninth. Combined over the past two games, that’s 17 of 18 scoreless innings.
Meanwhile the Foresters offense chipped away at the Oaks, with single runs in the first, second, and fourth, before a four-run eighth sealed the deal.
In the first, Ryan Black singled with Daniel Patterson, who had reached on an error, to score the initial ’Sters run. Nate Voss drove Gianni Horvat (pictured above) in with a single of his own in the second. Horvat had nabbed his eighth stolen base of the summer to get into scoring position (Horvat added number three more thefts in the game). In the fourth, Patterson’s double scored Voss to put the Foresters in front to stay.
Santa Barbara added an insurance run in the seventh. After P.K. Walsh was hit by a pitch, he later scored from second when a pop fly from Will Rogers was mishandled by the Oaks’ outfield.
In the eighth, more Oak chips flew as the Foresters broke the game open with four runs. After reaching on a fielder’s choice and a walk, Horvat and Michael Lombardi pulled off a double steal to put runners in scoring position. For Horvat, that was steal number 10 for the summer. Voss doubled both home to extend the Foresters lead, giving him two hits and three RBI for the afternoon. Walsh was then hit by a pitch for the second time. Patterson loaded the bases with a sharp one-out single, his third hit of the game. Voss scored the seventh run of the game on a wild pitch. Lombardi trotted home on a sac fly by Black to right field. Eight batters came to the plate and four scored and Santa Barbara led 8-2.
With seven games under their belts, the Foresters are coming together nicely, said Pintard. “We have a lot of guys who have not played a lot lately, so the more games we can get them in, the better. I also really like our team speed, we’re going to try to take advantage of that.”
After a day off, the Foresters travel to Compton to take on the MLB Academy Barons for the first time this year. Tune in to AM 1290 at 6 pm to listen to all the action.