By Jim Buckley (Photos by Kylie Koeper)
Before the 2022 season, Foresters manager Bill Pintard said he thought he had a “plethora of riches” on this year’s roster. The entire sparkling treasury was on display on Saturday night in a event-filled 12-1 win over the Conejo Oaks. First baseman Gavin Kash (pictured) crushed three home runs, backing up starting pitcher Graham Osman, who threw six perfect innings with 10 strikeouts before surrendering a hit in the seventh. Add in error-free defense and contributions from up and down the lineup and it added up the best overall performance of the summer . . . so far.
Kash’s three-homer game was the first in Foresters history at home. (Two earlier three-dinger games—by “Big Game” James Wharton and Rebel Ridling—came on the road.) Kash had a three-run shot in the first, a two-run blast in the second, and a solo homer in the fourth. Incredibly, he came up in the fifth with the bases loaded with a chance at the incredibly rare home run cycle (it has never happened at the Major League level, for instance), but that was one check he could not . . . cash.
“I was seeing the ball pretty well,” said the big lefthander, heading back to Austin in the fall for his sophomore season. “The key was not getting too big after the first one or the second one. That can create bad habits. I tried to take each at-bat for itself and not think about what came before. It felt good. If I help the team win, that’s all that matters.”
Thanks in part to Kash, the Foresters led 9-0 after two innings. That was more than enough for Osman, who baffled Oaks hitters throughout with great movement on all his pitches. He struck out four of the first six hitters on his way to 10 “punchies,” as Pintard calls them. Only one Oaks hitter reached the outfield until the leadoff single in the seventh broke up Osman’s perfect game.
“We saw some things in his delivery after his first outing,” said Pintard. “And we made a couple of suggestions. He worked really hard on it. He made those adjustments, and what a gem.”
“Coach Pintard and Coach Hubbard had me work hard on staying directional, not spinning off, go right at hitters,” added Osman, noting that this was his longest outing at the collegiate level. “Coach Hubbard told me, try to let them hit it—here’s the ball, try to hit it.”
The Foresters scored in each of the first five innings. Up 1-0 after an RBI groundout by Tanner O’Tremba, a 2021 Foresters champ making his 2022 debut, Kash’s first homer then drove in Kevin Bazzell, who had singled, to make it 3-0.
A six-run second started when Jake Koeper scored on a Miguel Santos double. O’Tremba crushed his own double to deep left, driving in Santos. Then Kash sent his third homer in two days to right-center, scoring O’Tremba and running the tally to 8-0. The Sters weren’t done, as Ty Hodge reached on a single and moved to second on a wild pitch. Kade Higgins drove him home with a solid single.
In the third, Santos hit his first homer of the summer to let Santa Barbara reach double digits for the second time this summer.
In the fourth, Kash made it 11-0 with his third homer, the solo shot. The Foresters made it an even dozen when Jack Holman walked with the bases loaded in the fifth.
The Foresters are now a perfect 4-0 at home, but face a four-game road trip, where they’ll try to continue those winning ways. Tune in Sunday at 1 pm to AM 1290 or FM 96.9 KZSB to hear the Foresters take on the SLO Blues.