By Ryan Greenberg
SANTA BARBARA, CA — The Santa Barbara Foresters’ offensive delivered a spectacular performance one last time for their fans at Pershing Park on the eve of the National Baseball Congress World Series. The Foresters defeated the San Luis Obispo by a score of 12-5, with the offense being carried by standout performances like that of Greg Pace, who finished 4-4 with four RBIs and a home run. The Foresters are finding their stride at just the right time, finishing the regular season on a high note as CCL South champions as they strive for their fourth consecutive NBC World Series title.
The Blues opened the scoring in Sunday’s contest, as Kody Darcy’s single to left field drove in Jason Hanson. The Foresters responded in timely fashion, putting up four runs in response behind Rylan Galvan’s sacrifice fly driving in Daniel Patterson, Greg Pace’s RBI single driving in Rocco Garza-Gongora, Voss coming across on a wild pitch, and Max Belyeu’s RBI single driving in Pace.
The Foresters put up another four runs in the fourth inning thanks to two two-run home runs from Pace and Will Rogers. Pace would finish just a double shy of the cycle, and when asked about his recent stellar play, he had this to respond with. “It’s just the attitude. It’s not a physical adjustment, more of a mental adjustment to continue to go out there and have fun and play the game the way it’s meant to be played.”
The Blues would claw their way back into the game through seven innings, scoring two runs in the sixth and seventh innings to fight their way back to a 9-5 scoreline. Jacob Galloway’s two run double scored both Jake Hixenbaugh and Hanson, and after Will Rogers’ RBI single in the bottom of the sixth inning, Darius Price scored on a wild pitch and Jeriah Lewis scored Jacob Ruley on a sacrifice fly.
The Foresters would then score three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to slam the door closed. Garza-Gongora came around to score on an error on Galvan’s ground ball, Pace’s aforementioned triple scored Galvan, and Max Belyeu’s ground-rule double scored Pace to make the scoreline show 12-5.
Carson Turnquist started the game on the mound for the Foresters, throwing four innings and allowing one run, good enough to be awarded Sunday’s win. Michael Lombardi pitched the next three innings, allowing four runs. Jackson Cloud and Patterson pitched one scoreless inning each to close out the game. The Blues’ pitching staff featured four arms, with starter David Villegas getting charged with Sunday’s loss.
The Foresters will begin traveling to Wichita, Kansas this week for their first game of the NBC World Series on Friday, August 4. When head coach Bill Pintard was asked about how this year’s Foresters team compares to his previous champions, he lauded this squad’s grit. “They have more grit than any other team I’ve had. I’ve never had a team with so many injuries and so many pitchers off a roster. It’s different with the portal, we’ve had injuries, MLB moved the draft to later. We had position players come in and pitch, and pitch at a high level. They just picked up our team. When it came down to it, they made big pitches, we got big runs, a lot of games were close and hard-fought. But when they were hard-fought, we won that fight. There’s a lot of fight in this team.” With the Foresters quest for a fourth consecutive NBC World Series beginning Friday, games can be heard live on 1290 AM radio; listen online at www.sbforesters.org or stream live via the NBC’s website.