By Kian Karamdashti
Timely hitting and consistent pitching turned into a 10-4 win over the Orange County Riptide on Sunday. Starter Cole Quintanilla went five innings, allowing three runs, while Diego Harris and Tevin Tucker led the Sters’ offense with two RBI each. The Foresters wrapped up a 3-0 homestand before a big three-game road series vs. San Luis Obispo, while running their record to 7–2.
For the past few games, Manager Bill Pintard has preached a “chaos on the basepaths” approach. There was not a more evident display of this mindset than Sunday’s game as the Foresters remained aggressive on the basepaths, stealing seven bases and routinely advancing runners on sacrifices and errors.
“Six of our nine guys can steal a base anytime they want to,” said Pintard. “Kennedy is a plus runner, Cash is a plus runner, Katzvey is a plus runner, Harris and Tucker are plus-plus runners. These guys can really run. Our winning percentage speaks for itself, we live by the sword and we die by the sword in regards to our running. Every time we’re on we’re trying to get 90 feet.”
Behind a solid start from Quintanilla, the offense provided more than enough run support early, putting four runs on the board in the first three frames. Leadhoff hitter Eric Kennedy led the way, getting three hits and stealing two bases.
The score remained close early as Quintanilla allowed three runs in the second and third innings, but Santa Barbara still led 4–3 after three innings. Quitanilla calmed down in his next two innings while showing off his 95 MPH fastball, his developing off-speed arsenal, and improving control as he walked no batters while striking out five
“I just had to refocus after that second and third,” said Quintanilla. “I came up with a plan with my catcher and executed it. As the innings go on and I get more comfortable starting, maybe the hits will go down, but I’m not too worried about that as I was a late-inning bullpen guy last year. As long as I keep pounding the strike zone and keep my walk count low I think I’ll be successful.
Pintard seemed to agree with Quintanilla’s assessment.
“Despite the few hits, I want him to keep being aggressive in the strike zone and he lowered his walks from last game, which is what we want. We’ve been adjusting his mechanics a little bit and he learned a changeup four days ago, which he threw a few times today.
The Foresters busted open a tight in the seventh with four runs. The key moment came during Diego Harris’ eight-pitch at-bat that ended in a two- RBI triple to right. Harris filled the stat sheet up with two hits, two RBI, a stolen base, and stellar cover in the outfield.
“Diego is temporary player and he’s been doing good,” noted Pintard. “He’s been driving up from LA every day and we just finally found a place for him to stay. I really root for him.”
Harris had a simple approach to his big game.
“I’m just trying to take advantage of what the pitchers are giving me,” he said.
The Foresters begin that three-game road series against the San Luis Obispo Blues on Tuesday at Sinsheimer Park. First pitch is scheduled for 6:00 pm on AM 1290.