By Kyle Howie
A local faceoff between the Santa Barbara Foresters and the Ventura Pirates was knotted up in the early part of the game when the ‘Sters unwound their offense in the late innings. The Foresters put up a crooked 9 unanswered runs in the 7th inning on.
Monster performances from the top half of the order included Eamonn Lance (3 hits, 2 RBIs), Daniel Patterson (2 hits, 4 RBIs), and Kevin Michaels (2 hits, 2 RBIs) who propelled the Forsters to 11 runs. The bats started slow and heated up in the end.
Foresters’ pitching does enough to get the win with a solid performance from starter, Ben Bybee, who throw 5 innings, allowing two runs on three hits. Jacob Hughs, Taber Fast, and Zachary Yates came on in relief and collectively allowed just 3 hits. The pitching staff combined for 10 strikeouts on the night and continued to allow the offense to win tight ball games.
Patterson broke the seal in the 3rd inning with a sacrifice fly that would give Nate Voss enough time to score. The Foresters started with a 1-0 lead and that would not be the end of the offensive festivities for the ‘Sters.
A couple of innings later, in the 5th, the Pirates made a statement with a 2-run blast from Sean Mann over the left field fence to give the Pirates a 2-1 advantage. Lance responded promptly in the 6th with an RBI single that scored Ryan Black to even the game.
With the bases loaded and two outs in the top of the 7th inning, Dan Laughery ripped a single that found a hole in the Foresters’ defense. The Pirates took the lead 4-2 when Brody Brown and Jackson Benattar came around to score.
Unphased by the Pirates’ 2-run top of the inning, the Foresters put up a 5 spot of their own in the bottom half of the 7th. Michaels tied the game with a single that scored Jalin Flores and Dane Dawson, who pinch-ran for Voss. Right on queue, Patterson doubled down the left-field line to score Michaels and Greg Pace after a successful double steal. When Patterson saw the ball travel to the corner after his heroic hit, he said he knew the infield did not have a chance and he was looking to take second. 7-4 was the score after Patterson was able to advance to third base, then home on two wild pitches from Yuji Sakane.
The party continued in the 8th when the Foresters scored 4 additional runs. A throwing error on the Pirates’ catcher, Brown, allowed Gianni Horvat to score from second and tack on another run. Another wild pitch from the Pirates gave Flores a free path to the plate to up the score, 9-4. Patterson gets the job done again as Max Belyeu scored on a fielder’s choice and for the 11th run, Lance smacked a ground-rule double to left field to score Pace.
The Foresters move to 7-3 overall and remain 6-3 in league play. As a tight game broke out late, the ‘Sters’ bats and arms find a way to come out on top. When the Foresters get into other teams’ bullpens they seem to capitalize, when other opponents get into the Foresters’ pen runs come at a minimum. Clutch hitting also seems to be the key to victories on the ‘Sters’ hot streak.
Tomorrow the Inland Empire Pirates come to town to take on the Foresters at 6:00 p.m. Come ‘Stir it up at the Persh or the game can be heard live on AM 1290 radio; or listen online or stream live via the Foresters’ website, www.sbforesters.org.