By Jim Buckle
Santa Barbara’s “Leadoff Legends”—SS Matthew McLain and 2B Jace Jung—lived up to their nickname and led the way to a 10-7 win over the Santa Maria Pea Soup. The Foresters raced to a 10-3 lead after seven innings, in large part due to the dynamic duo, and held on to win, running their record to a sparkling 13-2.
“Our offense is relentless,” said manager Bill Pintard. “It puts pressure on the other team, our guys are always moving. It makes the other team hurry and they make mistakes. We saw that happen several times tonight.”
And it all starts with the top. McLain and Jung were a combined 8 for 10 tonight with six runs scored and three RBI. Jung added a pair of stolen bases, including one cheeky move—stealing third when the pitcher was ready to go and the third baseman was distracted by an untied shoelace.
“With McLain and Jung at the top of the lineup, we’re really relentless,” added Pintard. “Every night after a game, their uniforms are caked with dirt and dust. They really make things happen.”
Up 1-0 after McLain scored in the first on a CF Branden Boissiere groundout, the Foresters added two in the third on a single by 1B Christian Encarnacion; the second run scored when the leftfielder bobbled the ball, probably worried about Jung’s speed from second. McLain knocked in a fourth run by beating out an infield hit as LF Pat Caulfield, who had doubled, scampered home from third.
After adding another run in the fifth to make it 5-3, the Foresters showed their clutch ability in the sixth. With (who else?) McLain and Jung on base, C Noah Cardenas battled to a two-strike count with two outs before delivering a two-run single to left field. The Foresters broke it open in the seventh, an inning that starred Jung. He banged a two-run double to center (a ball lost in the twilight by the centerfielder), stole third as noted above, and then scored on a passed ball.
As for pitching, the Foresters once again got a great starting outing, this time from Kyle Luckham, but then struggled a bit from the bullpen, letting the Pea Soup back into it with four runs in the eighth. But Peyton Pallette came in to close out that inning (for the Foresters’ first save of the season!).
“I thought our starting performance was pretty good, the only knock was a ‘cheap’ home run to center, that short porch out there,” said Pintard. “But Kyle’s stuff was the best we’ve seen from him so far. It was great seeing [Elijah] Trest come in for the first time; he was with us for a while last summer. And we saw another stellar outing for Bryce Warrecker. He can throw all of his pitches for strikes.”
After a 4-1 homestand against the Pea Soup, the Forester welcome the San Francisco Seals for at two-game set, starting Friday at 6 pm. Listen to the action on KCSB.org/sports or try out the Livestream for video of the game in action.