By Matthew Landis
Strikeouts were the theme for tonight’s game at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium, with the Foresters mowing down sixteen Baron batters to the tune of a 3-2 victory. Starter Jon Woodcock struck out eleven batters with reliever Cody Van Aken adding another five. Excitement with an abundance of stolen bases and extra base hits added to the dramatic opener for the ‘Sters. Despite a ninth inning rally from the MLB Academy Barons, the Foresters held on to a nail-biting victory.
In the second inning, center fielder Jaylen Davis singled and stole second, exhibiting blazing speed. After Barons pitcher Gary Smith walked shortstop Dillon Dobson, the ‘Sters executed a double steal, swiping both second and third base. Unfortunately, the ‘Sters were unable to tack on any runs.
The game lacked hits but not excitement. Foresters’ left-handed pitcher Woodcock from Virginia Tech mowed down Baron batters quickly and efficiently. Woodcock struck out 11 batters through six innings of work and gained the Foresters’ honor of EP Beverage Player of the Game. Barons’ pitchers Smith and Gerardo Velasquez also held their own on the mound, allowing the Foresters four hits through six innings.
Hitting a towering double towards the left center field gap, Montalbano raked in his second RBI of the season, scoring Dobson from second base for the ‘Sters first run of the ballgame.
Sidearm pitcher Van Aken replaced Woodcock in the seventh inning, and kept pace with his strikeout rate, freezing up 5 batters in three innings of work.
Third basemen Bret Boswell continued the ‘Sters late game offensive surge with a monster tripleto the left center field gap. That triple was Boswell’s second on the season and first in conference play. Montalbano drew a walk from Barons’ reliever, which gave the Foresters runners on first and third. Right fielder Dave Graybill then hit a laser to right center field, scoring both Boswell and Montalbano before getting thrown out at third base.
Down 3-0 in the ninth, the Barons kept battling. Designated hitter Juan Avena took a pitch from reliever Van Aken deep over the right center field fence, giving the Barons’ their first run of the content. Next batter, Wallace continued the rally with a triple over ‘Sters center fielder’s Davis’ head. Aaron Cisneros continued the Barons’ clutch hitting with a bloop single over the shortstop’s head, which advanced Avena and putting two runs on the board for the away team.
The ‘Sters held off the Barons’ late game rally in a strikeout filled conference opener.