By Jim Buckley: A pair of home runs broke up a close game and the Foresters wrapped up a homestand with a 7-3 win over the Academy Barons. Ryan Wrobleski crushed his first homer of the summer to left to give Santa Barbara a 3-2 lead, their first of the game. Max McGwire then blasted a three-run shot to center in the eighth to cement the W.
Ben Abram started for the Foresters and struck out six in five innings while walking none. He let in a run in the first on a single, but the second run in the fourth might have been prevented.
“I thought Ben pitched well, but we shouldn’t have given up that run,” said manager Bill Pintard, ever focused on improving his team’s play. “We made some bad decisions and had a passed ball that led to the runs. We didn’t communicate on that play where the first run scored [a grounder to the pitcher on which a runner scored from third], but we’ll work on that.”
Santa Barbara twice battled back from trailing by a run and Josh Stinson scored on both occasions. He singled in the first, stole second, and later scored on a Carson Wells groundout. In the fifth, Josh doubled and was the front end of a double-steal, sliding across home plate with the second run.
“Josh is definitely a weapon,” said a pleased Pintard. “He was a QB in high school football, so he’s really just learning the finer things of baseball. But that speed is a separator; speed never slumps!”
In the sixth, Wrobleski’s solo leadoff homer put the Foresters ahead for the first time before a four-run eighth closed the door. McGwire’s homer scored Nate Rombach, who had singled in a run, and Jashia Morrissey, who had singled. It was only McGwire’s second hit of the summer, but it was a big one.
“Max has been battling, but he’s a young guy,” said Pintard. “Right before he hit that, Coach [Steve] Schuck said, ‘Man, Max needs to hit someone hard.’ And he hit it hard. All the guys were thrilled for him.”
In relief of Abram, Steven Zobac earned the win and Brandon Beckel the save. Santa Barbara has a day off Monday and plays the Barons again on Tuesday, down at MLB Academy. The game will start at 3 pm and the game will be on the AM 1290 Web site live and then rebroadcast at 6 pm on the AM 1290 radio station.