By Ryan Greenberg
The Santa Barbara Foresters came out on top over the Orange County Riptide by a score of 2-1 in an absolute pitching clinic from both teams. Both teams recorded only three hits each, but the Foresters found a way to make it count for one more run than the Riptide and expand their lead atop the CCL South Division standings.
After Will Rogers recorded a single for the Foresters’ first hit of the game in the sixth inning, Max Belyeu crushed a double to score Rogers all the way from first for the first run of the game.
The Riptide evened the score in the top of the eighth inning. After Cooper Dulich drew a walk and advanced to second on a wild pitch, Isaiah Morales smoked a double to drive in Dulich to tie the game 1-1.
The Foresters promptly regained their lead in their half of the eighth inning. After Eamonn Lance advanced to second base on a walk and a ground ball, Belyeu picked up his second RBI double of the game, demolishing a ball into the right field gap to drive in Lance from second to make the score 2-1.
Kolby Kmetko started the game on the mound for the Foresters and threw four scoreless innings. Zane Petty was called in to relieve Kmetko to begin the fifth inning, pitching five scoreless innings out of the bullpen.
Jack Kirrer started the game on the bump for the Riptide, throwing 5 ⅔ innings and not surrendering his first hit until the sixth inning, yet allowing one earned run. Reed Schaefer entered the game after Kirrer, pitching two innings and yielding one run. Sam Hasegawa then entered the game on the hill, facing and retiring just one batter before the Riptide’s pitching staff’s work concluded for the night.
The Foresters travel to Irvine on Sunday for the second game of a two game series against the Riptide, with the first pitch scheduled for 7:00 p.m. at Great Park. The Foresters then return home to Pershing Park at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, July 19 to take on the Ventura Pirates, one day after playing the Arroyo Seco Saints on the road at Jackie Robinson Field. All Foresters games can be heard live on 1290 AM radio; listen online or stream live via the Foresters’ website, www.sbforesters.org.