By Jim Buckley: With a fastball that hit 97 on the array of big-league scouts’ radar guns tracking his every pitch, Foresters starter Nick Nastrini piled up nine strikeouts in five hitless innings, allowing only one baserunner (and even that came on a third-strike passed ball). His impressive start set the tone for the Foresters’ 7-1 win over the OC Riptide on Friday in a CCL game.
Nastrini was the 2020 EP 19 Pitcher of the year for the national-champion Foresters and looked like he had not missed a beat since last summer. “That’s as good as I’ve seen him throw in a long time,” said manager Bill Pintard. “Nick was throwing strikes, had nine strikeouts, it was a dominating performance. I’m really glad for him. He was just dotting everything tonight. And he and [catcher] Dylan Leach worked really well together.
Nastrini and his fellow pitchers Cooper Randall, with two scoreless innings, and Gabe Starks, with five Ks of his own in two innings, got a lot of offensive support. Santa Barbara scored first in the third, and it was speed that caused it. Jashia Morrissey had walked and was going first-to-third on an Andrew Kachel single. The right fielder was in such a hurry to nab the speedy Morrissey that he overran the ball and allowed the ’Sters second baseman to score. (It was Kachel’s third straight hit of the night; he also started a spectacular around-the-horn double play to end the seventh. Morrissey reached base all four at-bats and ended up scoring three runs.)
“There’s not a lot of teams that run as much as us,” added Pintard on a night when the Foresters stole five bases. “When the guys come here, they just love it. We give them the chance to create runs on the basepaths.”
The speed theme continued in the fourth. Walks put Ethan Bates and Leach on base and when Bates stole second the ball ended up in centerfield. Max McGwire’s groundout drove in Bates. After Morrissey singled, Kachel and Jack Reidel had back-to-back two-out singles to score two more runs. A Bates double drove in Tyler Casagrande in the fifth. The Foresters got another speed run in the seventh. After singling and stealing second, Ryan Wrobleski scored all the way from second a very wild pitch. Morrissey wrapped up the scoring in the eighth on a passed ball.
Santa Barbara moves to 7-1 overall with the 7-1 win and continues CCL play on Sunday at 2 pm against the MLB Academy Barons at Pershing Park. Or tune in on AM 1290 KZSB for all the action.
Nastrini was the 2020 EP 19 Pitcher of the year for the national-champion Foresters and looked like he had not missed a beat.