Guts Baseball: Foresters Win in 13, 5–4
By Jim Buckley
The Foresters have shown a wide variety of abilities this season, but on a balmy (very) early morning in Kansas, they displayed a heaping helping of grit, grinding out a come-from-behind 5–4 victory over the Hutchinson Monarchs in 13 innings. For the winning run in the top of the 13th, Arby Fields came through again, driving in his fifth run of the NBC World Series. The Foresters play on Tuesday evening at 8 pm in the winner’s bracket as the NBC World Series “Sweet Six” begins. The Foresters play the Greeley (Col.) Grays.
Sunday’s exciting finish was set up by a pile of Foresters late-inning magic. Trailing 3–0 after six innings, Santa Barbara first scored single runs in the seventh, eighth, and ninth to tie the game 3–3. In the seventh, a groundout by Richard Sanguinetti brought home Weston Hall. In the eighth, a double by Robert Vickers sent Peter Cuomo home, who had pinch run after an Austin Davidson double. Finally, in the ninth, Sanguinetti ended up on third after being walked and sent around by a Ryan O’Hearn single. With one out, Cuomo’s blooper to right ended up forcing pinch-runner Taylor Stell at second, but Sango scored the tying run on the play.
In the tenth, the Sters scored for the fourth inning in a row. Hall showed that he has learned the real Foresters Way by sliding so hard on a potential double play that the relay throw ended up in the dugout, allowing Robert Vickers to score a go-ahead run. However, in the bottom of the tenth, the normally reliable Hunter Lemke came on to try to save the win, but his throwing error opened the door to a sacrifice fly that tied the score again at 4–4.
To make the climactic 13th possible, the Foresters bullpen once again proved its worth and depth. After Willie Kuhl took over in the sixth and retired seven batters, Jared Wilson, in his Foresters debut, struck out the side in the ninth. Though Lemke gave up a tying run in the 10th, he shut down the Monarchs 1-2-3 in the 11th. Finally, Jason Hursh hit 100 mph on the Lawrence-Dumont Stadium radar gun seven times while striking out three in two scoreless innings to earn the hard-fought victory. In all, five Sters relievers went 7 2/3 innings and allowed only one run while striking out a phenomenal 12 Monarchs.
Earlier in the game, the Foresters had faced against a powerful starting pitcher for the Monarchs, Shane Martin, who was the 2011 Eric Pintard Award winner at the NBC World Series. He held the Sters to one run on five hits in his seven innings. Foresters starter John Beck was solid, but the Monarchs chipped away at him for a run in the first and two more in the sixth. That three-run lead set up the thrilling comeback, or should we say, comebacks.
The win moves the Foresters in the “Sweet Six” part of the tournament. They play Greeley or Haysville on Tuesday evening and are still guaranteed that game and at least one other. Return here Monday evening for more updates.