By Will Bashur
The Foresters brought a different kind of parade to the City of Roses on Wednesday, as they tallied thirteen hits to knock off the Arroyo Seco Saints 11-5 in Pasadena. Eight of the nine starting Foresters recorded a base hit, with Vanderbilt commit Spencer Jones leading the way with three knocks and three RBI.
After surrendering a six-run first inning to the Academy Barons Tuesday, the ’Sters decided it was time for a six-run first of their own.
Santa Barbara started the huge inning with an astonishing six consecutive singles, as countless grounders, line drives, and fly balls evaded the reach of Saints’ defenders. Zach Presno drove in the first run of the game with a line drive to right, and Ross Cadena continued the scoring with a two-run single, quickly putting the ’Sters up 3-0. After Dru Baker hit the fifth straight single of the inning, Jones hit a hard grounder through the hole, extending the lead to 4-0. Tevin Tucker drove in the fifth Forester run on a ground out, and Ryan Cash hit a looping fly ball to right to put Santa Barbara up 6-0 after a frantic first frame.
The Foresters tacked on another run in the second when Presno drove in Christian Franklin, who had just drawn a walk and stole second. With Presno’s groundout, Santa Barbara continued to add on to their lead, 7-0.
Arroyo Seco finally got on the board in the third, when slugger Andy Garriola swatted a two-run double to right to drive in second baseman Wyatt Stapp, making the score 7-1.
But Santa Barbara immediately responded in the fourth when Eric Kennedy smashed a triple into the right field corner. After Blake Hall struck out swinging, Franklin hit a sharp ground ball up the middle, driving in Kennedy to put the Foresters up 8-1.
The ’Sters continued the onslaught in the fifth as Baker and Jones hit back-to-back singles to begin the inning. After Tucker grounded out to third, Cash drew a walk to load the bases with just one out. Kennedy continued to produce, hitting a sac fly to center and giving Baker plenty of time to score to increase the lead to 9-1.
The Saints offense awoke from their slumber in the latter half of the fifth when catcher Matt Thomas smoked a double to the left field wall. Nolan Tressler picked up a one-out single, and Morgan Allen drove in his first run of the game with a line shot up the middle, pulling the Saints a tad closer, 9-2. After a Garriola strikeout, Nikolas Pagan walked to load the bases with Pete Derkay stepping to the plate. Derkay then hit a forty-foot two-run single that dribbled up the first base line, allowing Tressler and Allen to score while Forester defenders scrambled for the ball. The bizarre single kept Arroyo Seco’s comeback hopes alive, cutting the deficit to 9-4.
The Saints continued to creep back in the seventh when Derkay drove in his second run of the game on a sac fly to left. At the end of seven Arroyo Seco remained in striking distance, trailing 9-5.
In the eighth, things got a little heated.
After Saints reliever Isaiah Ramos struck out Presno to seemingly end the top half of the inning, the ballfield immediately turned into an intense episode of The Bachelorette. Ramos and Presno began barking at each other and quickly converged on one other as the home plate umpire attempted to play peacemaker. This prompted both dugouts to empty and run toward home plate to join the fray. Even manager Bill Pintard, who had been just been ejected the inning before, reemerged from the stands to tell his players to return to the dugout. A few more words were exchanged and play resumed in the bottom of the eighth.
But the drama was far from over.
In the ninth, Baker reached first after the catcher Thomas failed to corral a dropped third strike. Jones then stepped into the box and obliterated the first pitch he saw, hitting the ball well over the protective netting in the outfield. The monstrous home run all but put the final nail in the Saints’ coffin, putting the Foresters up 11-5.
Jacob Burton threw a spotless ninth, securing the 11-5 victory for Santa Barbara.
The Foresters will be back on the road tomorrow to face the San Luis Obispo Blues at 6 PM. Be sure to tune into AM 1290 to catch all the action.