By Jim Buckley
History will have to wait. The Foresters’ quest for an historic fourth straight NBC World Series title fell one game short, as Santa Barbara lost in the 2023 championship game 6-3 to the Hutchinson Monarchs. The Foresters 10 national titles remain the most ever in the history of the 89-year-old tournament. This was the first loss in a championship game in Wichita for the ’Sters since 2005—they had gone ten straight since then.
Santa Barbara did get some good news when Zane Petty (below) was named both the tournament’s top pitcher and best Major League prospect after he went 2-0 with 13 shutout innings of six-hit ball with 15 strikeouts.
After the game, the Foresters voted on team awards and Petty was chosen as the EP 19 Pitcher of the Year after leading SB with 6 wins. Daniel Patterson was a surprise MVP choice. The Westmont star played stellar defense at third and first, hit .288 with 17 RBI and was a valuable replacement pitcher late in the season. Ebullient outfielder Greg Pace was chosen as the Best Teammate.
As for the title game, Hutchinson came in hitting .381 for the tournament, and after four quiet innings against Carson Turnquist, burst out with two runs in each of the fifth, sixth, and seventh innings. The big blow was a two-run homer by Jared Gustafsson in the seventh that made the mountain just too high to climb.
The Foresters inched back on a Will Rogers RBI single in the seventh, and then added two more on a groundout by Miguel Santos and a Max Belyeu single. But the Foresters left six men on base overall, and the rally fell short.
The Foresters end the season at 35-11 overall; their 25-10 record was tops in the CCL South Division, too. Belyeu was the hitting champ at .360 and tops in hits with 56 and in RBI with 27. Greg Pace’s six homers were the most. Gianni Horvat’s 14 steals led the team. Turnquist’s 55 strikeouts were the most. Sean Youngerman and Zach Erdman tied for the lead with 13 appearances. Erdman’s 4 saves were tops, too.
The entire Foresters organization—manager Bill Pintard, board president Christina Songer, other board members, volunteers, staff, coaches, and players—thank you, our Foresters fans for your great support. Thanks to our many valuable sponsors and to the generosity and kindness of our amazing Host Families. Shout out to Hugs for Cubs Kids Brooks Eveland and Katy Covarubbias and to all families and kids battling cancer—stay strong! We’ll see you all next season. Until then . . . ‘Ster it up!