By Jim Buckley
Photos by Eric Isaacs
The champagne flowed in the summer sun as manager Bill Pintard enjoyed the fruits of his 900th career victory as leader of the Foresters. There is no way of truly knowing if this is a summer-ball all-time record, but if it’s not, it’s right up there. Pintard’s Foresters rode some great pitching and timely hitting to a 3-1 victory over the MLB Academy Barons to create the nice round number in his record.
“I’ve been reflecting how fortunate I am to be able to do what I do,” said Pintard as the champagne dripped from his hair. “I have a tremendous passion for baseball. My family and my city and the Foresters and our big support group enable me to do that. Not many people get to live their life doing what their passion is. I’m just very grateful and humbled by the whole thing.”
The team doused their coach with water and then fans brought in the champagne. A team photo was set up with “900” spelled out in baseballs. It was just another milestone in a career that has seen so many: A record-tying six NBC World Series championships, 21 CCL titles, 6 California Cup championships, 37 players who have reached the Major Leagues, more than 250 who have spent time in pro baseball, and of course hundreds of families touched by the Hugs for Cubs, which Bill and his son Eric started. One could not help noticing that Eric’s No. 19 looked down on the postgame festivities; his number was retired by SBCC some time ago. And of course, Bill recorded his record win on . . . Father’s Day.
As for the game that gave Pintard his 900th, Henley’s six innings of shutout ball, allowing only two hits, set the tone.
“I was very excited to be part of this 900th victory and I was glad I could help him win it. He really deserves it.”
Henley was followed by John McMillon, who touched 97 at one point, and then Evan Lee, who earned his first save of the season. As for the offense, the Foresters had onlyl 7 hits (and all from the first four hitters in the order), but most were clutch. Josh Jung continued his hot hitting by driving in newcomer Kyle Marinconz, who had doubled, with the game’s first run. Shortstop David Hamilton smacked a two-out triple in the second to score Blake Brewster. Marinconz added an RBI single in the fifth to score Austin Todd, who had tripled.
McMillon spoke for all the players when he added, “Coach Pintard, 900 wins, that’s a great thing. I love playing for him. We played hard and it’s fun to play for a team like that.”
Next up: A shot at 901. The Foresters continue CCL play in a return match against the Barons on Tuesday. First pitch can be heard on AM 1290 starting with the pregame show at 5:50 pm.