By Ryan Greenberg
The Santa Barbara Foresters found a way to grind out a 2-0 win over ten innings against the San Luis Obispo Blues, thanks to yet another pitching clinic from the Foresters’ staff. In Austin Ledbetter’s first start, and appearance altogether, of the season, he pitched an absolute gem, throwing five scoreless innings. The Foresters’ bullpen followed up with another five scoreless innings as the Foresters found a way to win ugly, but win nonetheless.
The first inning promised offense, as a combined five runners were left stranded on base across both teams’ at-bats, but both Ledbetter and Matthew Gonzales, the Blues’ starting pitcher, found ways to pitch themselves out of a jam. The Foresters’ defense would have to make Ledbetter earn his scoreless debut, as they committed four errors in the first four innings of play. Ledbetter would pitch the Foresters out of another jam unscathed, as the Blues stranded two runners in the third inning without scoring.
Credit must be given to the Blues’ pitching as well, who through nine innings were just as lights-out as the Foresters. After Gonzales tossed four scoreless innings, A.J. Moreno came out of the bullpen and pitched another five scoreless innings in relief.
After Ledbetter’s five scoreless innings pitched, Carson Turnquist turned in 1⅔ scoreless innings, Zach Erdman hurled 1⅓ scoreless innings, and Blake Pivaroff threw a scoreless inning in the ninth to send the game into extra innings.
The Foresters relied on perfectly executed small ball to score two runs in the tenth frame, which proved to be twice as much as needed to win.
Ryan Black began the tenth inning on second base as the Foresters’ ghost runner, with Josh Blum on the mound for the Blues. Jalin Flores bunted for a base hit, which also advanced Black to third. During Rocco Garza-Gongora’s at-bat, Black stole home on a pass ball for the first run of the game, while Flores also advanced to second base. Garza-Gongora then bunted Flores to third base, who would then score the game’s second run the next at-bat thanks to a Rylan Galvan sacrifice fly to right field. Flores almost got tagged out at the plate, but just barely avoided the tag by deciding not to slide, instead hopping over the catcher’s tag attempt.
Coach Pintard elected to keep Pivaroff in the game for a second inning of work, which proved to be a winning decision as Pivaroff struck out the side to win the game. Pivaroff earned tonight’s win, while Blum was charged with the loss.
The Foresters return home to Pershing Park tomorrow for the second game of a three game series against the Blues for a Fourth of July showdown at 4:30 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.