By Jim Buckley
You know the old baseball expression, “It just takes one”? Well, that was certainly the case on Wednesday in Ventura, as the Foresters got the one that counted, defeating the Halos 1-0 in a well-pitched, fast-moving game. Santa Barbara got the only run of the game in the top of the eighth without a hit or the ball leaving the infield.
Austin Todd led off with a grounder to short, and the throw to first was just enough to pull 6-6 first baseman Dalton Duarte off the bag. Todd was then balked to second base. David Hamilton’s chopper sent Todd to third. Then, with two outs, Ryan Reynolds spanked a screaming worm-burner to short. The Halos’ shortstop had trouble handling it and the error allowed Todd to score.
“It’s nice to have a game with the bats not working and the pitching and defense making up for it and getting the win,” said manager Bill Pintard.
When you have pitching like the Foresters have had lately, “just taking one” is perfectly fine. Foresters pitchers have not allowed a run in 20 innings, dating back to the top of the seventh on Sunday! That’s two straight shutouts, aided greatly by a parade of Ks. Foresters’ hurlers set down 14 Halos via the strikeout Wednesday, the sixth straight game they have piled up double-digit totals in “punchies,” as Pintard likes to call them.
Starter Nathan Wiles allowed only two hits and a walk in his five scoreless innings. John McMillon worked two innings, striking out five.
“McMillon was electric tonight,” added Pintard. “His great performance energized the whole team and woke up the bats, helping us take the lead.” Evan Lee then came on and matched Big Mac, striking out a quintet in two innings while picking up the save, for a Sters total of 14 Ks vs. 1 BB.
Riding a five-game winning streak, the Foresters return to Pershing Park, where they are 5-1 so far, for a packed five-game homestand in four days. The fun begins Thursday at 6 pm as the SoCal Catch makes its first visit to Santa Barbara this summer. Tickets are available at the gate or tune in to AM 1290 to catch all the action.