It’s one of the Foresters’ oldest mantras: Two-out hits win championships. In the case of Tuesday’s game, a series of two-out hits led to a five-run fifth that broke open a tight game and the Foresters went on beat the Denver Cougars 13-5 to finish pool play a perfect 3-0 at the NBC World Series. Will that lead to a championship? The coming days will tell the answer.
Nick McLain was the brightest of a long list of hitting stars on Tuesday, with a homer and 4 RBI on a busy night for the scorekeeper. The Foresters now move on to the knockout quarterfinal round on Thursday vs. the TBT Ballers from Texas. Game time will be announced Wednesday and posted on our site and social media.
The Foresters looked comfortably ahead 4-0 after three innings. Blayne Jones knocked in Gavin Kash, who continued his hot hitting with two more knocks, before McLain drove in Griffin Everitt with a sac fly in the second. In the third, Nate Rombach blasted his second homer of the tournament to deep left field with Miguel Santos on base.
The Cougars snuck back in for one in the second when starter Brandon Beckel was unexpectedly wild, walking four straight to force in a run. In the fourth, Denver struck again, and again got help from the ’Sters. Nick Griffin came on in relief with the bases loaded and one out. He got the probable double-play grounder he wanted, but Gianni Horvat threw the ball into left field. Two runs scored, and two more came in a moment later on a double. All of a sudden, the Foresters trailed—yes, trailed—5-4. That didn’t last long, as Horvat helped get one back with a single; on the play, the third baseman made an error that let McLain score the tying run. Griffin and fellow reliever Jake Faherty were otherwise very effective, matching Beckel’s Ks to bring the evening’s tally to 14 Cougars.
The Foresters blew the game open in the fifth. Santos led off with a single and stole second. Then, with two outs, a hit parade commenced. Everitt singled to score Santos. Jones singled, too. Sebastian Orduno then hit a run-scoring pinch-hit double that brought home Everitt. Then McLain, switching to bat righthanded against a new reliever, smacked the first pitch he saw over the left field fence for a two-out, game-clinching, three-run blast.
In the seventh, the Foresters scored three more to invoke the mercy rule. Jones and Orduno walked. McLain’s fielder’s choice put runners on the corners. When the speedy UCLA outfielder stole second, the catcher’s throw sailed wild, and Jones scored from third. After pinch hitter Hudson White was hit by a pitch, Hunter Ensley’s fielder’s choice let McLain score, too. Finally, after Ensley stole second, Orduno hit a game-ending double; Ensley’s run made the deficit eight runs after seven innings, ending the contest.
Tune in to Thursday’s quarterfinal on AM 1290 and FM 96.9 or on the KZSB web site, plus watch livestream on the NBC World Series YouTube Channel.