By Ryan Greenberg
The Santa Barbara Foresters lost a tough-fought battle today against the Conejo Oaks by a score of 3-2. The game was characterized by lots of unforced errors and baserunners for both teams, but it was ultimately the Foresters’ pitching staff that got burned for playing with fire and was left ruing their mistakes.
The Foresters got on the board first, scratching off one run in an eager attempt to jump-start the offense after a mild showing yesterday. Ryan Black led of the top of the first inning, and the game, with a base hit single, and then advanced to third base after stealing second base and safely reaching third on a fielder’s choice. Black then crossed home plate for the first run of the game thanks to a fielding error during Max Belyeu’s plate appearance.
The Foresters doubled their lead in the second inning thanks to a hard-hit Gianni Horvat double that drove in Greg Pace all the way from first base after his single. However, the Foresters offense would go dry from then on and struggle to produce for the rest of the game.
The Oaks threatened to score in every inning, but clutch pitching and fielding would bail the Foresters out of a jam time and time again. The Oaks left the bases loaded without scoring in the first, second, fourth, and fifth innings. The Oaks scored their first run of the game in the third inning on a hit-and-run double from Brendan Durfee that scored Zach Daudet all the way from first base.
The Oaks then took the lead in the sixth inning. Christopher Wright recorded a base-hit single, and then found himself at third base after a hit-by-pitch and fielder’s choice double-play. Wright was then driven in on a two-out Dylan Jackson double to tie the game. Jackson himself was then driven in on an Eli Paton single to take a 3-2 lead, a lead that would last the rest of the game.
Despite only allowing three runs on seven hits, the Foresters pitching staff struggled to keep runners off the base paths. Foresters pitchers issued seven walks and an additional four hit-by-pitches. Foresters fielders also allowed additional runners on two errors.
Ben Bybee started the game on the mound for the Foresters, but lasted only 1 ⅔ innings, though gave up no runs. Jack Holland, a Santa Barbara native, started the game on the bump for the Oaks, going three innings and giving up two runs, only one of them earned. Tobias Plotkin picked up the win and Jaxon Jordan recorded the save as the Oaks move to 5-0 on the season. Zac Colletti was charged with the loss as the Foresters drop to 2-3 on the season.
The Foresters return to Pershing Park tomorrow for a rematch against the Oaks, with the first pitch scheduled for 6:00 p.m. All Foresters games can be heard live on 1290 AM radio; listen online or stream live via the Foresters’ website, www.sbforesters.org.