By Jim Buckley: In a game of big flies, the Foresters’ had the last one . . . and it came up just a few feet short. After pulling to within one and putting the potential winning runs on base, the Foresters watched as Steven Zobac just missed a walk-off homer, and Santa Barbara lost to Arroyo Seco 6-5 on Friday night at Pershing Park. The irony, of course, is that the Saints did hit the walk-off that won Thursday’s game down in Arroyo Seco.
The back-and-forth game on Friday turned repeatedly on home runs. The Foresters got their first lead of the game when Dylan Campbell belted a three-run homer in the fifth. In the inning, Jack Reidel singled and Kendall Pettis walked. Then Campbell stepped up and energized the Friday night crowd with his first Foresters dinger. That put Santa Barbara up 3-2. The fun continued in the inning after Andrew Kachel walked and stole second. Tanner O’Tremba then whacked a double to score Kachel and make it 4-2.
But the Saints tied it in top of the sixth, scoring on a sac fly and a single. The Foresters escaped the inning when Arroyo’s Brandon Boding tried to steal home with two outs, but was thrown out by an alert Foresters defense.
Arroyo Seco then took back the lead on a two-run homer in the seventh by Connor Bradshaw.
Santa Barbara made it exciting in the ninth when Campbell blasted his second longball of the game to pull within one. After a walk and a hit batter put two on, pinch-hitter Zobac smashed a long fly to deep centerfield; as Chris Sylvester said on KZSB, an hour earlier in the misty waterside night and the ball would have been gone. But instead the comeback died in the glove of the centerfield steps from the wall.
Starting pitcher Justin Eckhardt also made his Foresters debut on the mound and did well, striking out seven. He did have to battle out of a couple of jams, and the only two runs he allowed were unearned, and he left down 2-0. Relievers Carson Lambert and Cooper Randall struggled, giving up four earned runs before Scott Ellis and Connor Roberts held on to give the offense another shot.
The Foresters look forward to ending this mini-streak on Saturday when they host the OC Riptide on Coastal Copy Night at 6 pm on AM 1290.