By Jim Buckley
Photos by Ed Bailey
A four-run first inning was more than enough for the Foresters as they opened defense of their triple NBC World Series championships with a 10-0, six-inning mercy-rule win over the Five Star Kraken. While the runs piled up on the scoreboard (the ’Sters scored in every inning), starting pitcher Zane Petty (below) was masterful, allowing only two hits and striking out six while going all the way. The game ended in walk-off fashion, as Eamonn Lance got his second RBI of the game on a single to right, scoring Max Balyeu, who had doubled. The Foresters are next scheduled to play Sunday August 6 at 6:30 pm Santa Barbara time.
Every Foresters player reached base at least once, and every hitter but one had at least a hit or a run. Will Rogers, Lance, and newly returned 2022 MVP Miguel Santos (pictured above in 2022) had a pair of RBI each. Santos had the game’s lone homer, a solo shot in the third. He’s one of five players added to the roster for the NBC tournament by manager Bill Pintard (seen below greeting the Kraken manager pregame).
In the first, the Foresters took full advantage of Kraken mistakes, including an error and hit batter. They also nabbed the first two of what would be seven stolen bases in the game, and both thieves came around to score. Greg Pace scored the first run—he had two in the game—when Balyeu reached on an error. Jalin Flores got the first of his two hits and scored on Will Rogers’ infield out. Lance drove a triple to left centerfield to bring in Rogers for a tidy four-run opening frame.
Pace drove in a run in the second on a groundout, while Santos made it 6-0 with his homer. Rogers knocked in pace on a grounder in the fourth, while two runs scored in the fifth, one on Rocco Garza-Gongora’s single and another on an error by the Kraken catcher amid a double steal. That set up Lance’s sixth-inning heroics. After rounding first, he paused for a massive “stir it up” gesture that brought his teammates racing onto the field to celebrate.
The Foresters play again Sunday at a time TBA and against either the Great Bend Bat Cats or Sandlot Tulsa. We’ll post both pieces of info as soon as we have them. Listen to the game as usual on AM 1290/FM 96.9 and watch the simulcast on the NBC World Series YouTube channel.