When you find a winning formula, you stick with it. In the second game of the California Collegiate League playoffs, the Foresters stuck with what made them winners in game 1—outstanding pitching by a pitcher from Texas, clutch hitting throughout the lineup, and sterling defense. The result? Another win, this time 5-0 over the Conejo Oaks. The Foresters move on to Sunday’s CCL championship game, starting at 10 am against an opponent to be named. . . the Oaks! Conner won Saturday night’s elimination game over the Pearl to earn a spot in the title game. However, the Foresters need just one win, while Conejo would have to win twice.
Saturday’s mound star was Connor Mayes, who threw seven shutout innings while allowing only four hits and no walks and striking out seven batters. Ryan Shetter added a strikeout of his own while pitching two scoreless innings of relief.
“Another great outing for a starter,” said manager Bill Pintard. “Mayes was just tremendous, and I’d like to mention Brian Bussey, who did a great job catching Connor.”
Hot-hitting shortstop Bret Boswell was the slugging star, with four hits and a pair of RBI on the day.
Bussey had the game’s first RBI, a two-out single in the second to drive in Dylan Paul, who had singled and stolen second. Paul thought he had made it to third a batter earlier, but was pushed back to first after Colby Barrick was called for the rare batter’s interference.
Boswell then got into the action in the second inning with his second hit, an RBI double that scored Matt Henderson. Boswell added two more hits and another RBI, continuing a streak that has seen him hitting about .500 in his past dozen games.
“Boswell is a great hitter and has always had great hands, but his problem was he was chasing pitches out of the zone,” said Pintard. “He’s become more patient and you see the results.”
Boswell agrees and is taking advantage of a hot streak by his teammates. “The past couple of weeks, the ball’s been looking like a beach ball,” he said. “And the way we’ve been playing lately, the way games have been going, that has really helped me stayed locked in.”
Lex Kaplan made it 3-0 with a leadoff homer in the fifth, his third of the season. The Foresters added two more runs in the seventh. Henderson and Travis Moniot both hit one-out singles, then Boswell got his second RBI. Hunter Williams followed with a sacrifice fly to score Moniot with the game’s final run.
The Oaks never really threatened in the game, with only run runner reaching third base. That was in the seventh, when they had men on second and third with no out, but then Mayes bore down and induced three straight popups, a fitting end to his great outing.
The Foresters are looking forward to the chance to earn a championship ring on Sunday.
“Our bullpen is well-rested and ready,” said Pintard. “This is the first time we’ve been able to be in the CCL championship game [because of Wichita travel schedules]. And we didn’t have the best record coming into this, so we’re going to give it all we’ve got tomorrow to make it to the top.”
Sunday’s action is double-elimination, meaning that should the Foresters not win the first game, there would be a second immediately after, with the winner of that game claiming the title. Tune in to the game at 9:50 am on AM 1290, the News-Press radio station.