By Kyle Howie
Foresters fans witnessed history at Pershing Park on Thursday night as Sean Youngerman and Hunter Watkins threw the fifth no-hitter in team history against the Arroyo Seco Saints. The offense in the 4-0 win was inspired by two, two-run home runs from Jalin Flores and Daniel Patterson. Multiple stellar defensive plays from Rocco Garza-Gongora, Flores, and Patterson kept the no-hitter in play.
A tightly contested pitcher’s duel was broken up in the 3rd inning when Flores sent a ball over the left field wall. Patterson scored on the play after he reached base by an error from the Saints’ third basemen, Raider Tello. Patterson added some insurance in the bottom of the 8th inning with another two-run blast to left field to make it a 4-0 game. Greg Pace was driven in on the home run after he earned a walk to first base.
Although Youngerman and Watkins pitched a phenomenal game, the defense had their back and kept the no-hitter alive. In the top of the 5th inning, Patterson charged a softly hit groundball and zipped it to first where Garza-Gongora picked the ball out of the dirt for the second out in the inning. In the 7th inning, Garza-Gongora caught a sharp, line drive to first base and stepped on first to get a runner that had previously walked. Lastly, one out later, Flores dealt with a high-hopping ball while also avoiding his teammate Ryan Black to get the force out at first base.
Thursday’s game was a stark contrast from the Foresters’ last two CCL games. The pitching was better than ever and the bats held their own as well. The Foresters are back on track as they move to 23-8 overall and 19-8 in CCL play. The ‘Sters also remain two and a half games ahead of the Orange County Riptide for first in the league standings.
July 20th, 2023 will go down in Santa Barbara Foresters’ history along with the three other combined no-hitters in the team record books. The last Foresters’ no-hitter was in the 2020 NBC World Series and the first-ever no-hitter was recorded in 2003. The ‘Sters are back in action tomorrow against the Riptide in a must-win series. The game will start at 6:00 p.m. in Santa Barbara and the game can be heard live on AM 1290 radio; or listen online or stream live via the Foresters’ website, www.sbforesters.org.