By Will Bashur
The Foresters rolled to two more victories over the Arroyo Seco Saints on Tuesday, finishing the last two innings of July 11th’s suspended game with a 13-9 win, and powering their way to a 7-3 triumph in today’s regularly scheduled contest. Christian Franklin led the march through Pasadena, smashing two home runs and driving in four runs over the two games to wrap up regular season CCL play for the ’Sters.
Santa Barbara began the afternoon in the eighth inning of the July 11th matchup with the Saints. Already holding a 12-9 lead, the Foresters sent out stalwart reliever Hunter Breault to seal the win. Breault answered the call, striking out three over two flawless innings. Franklin tacked on Santa Barbara’s thirteenth run of the game with a sacrifice fly that drove in Dru Baker, closing the book on the 13-9 Forester victory.
The sac fly would just be the beginning of a huge day for the young Arkansas outfielder.
After a brief intermission, the Foresters were rearing to go for win number two. Eric Kennedy hit the first pitch he saw off the wall in right center, coasting into second with a leadoff double. After Blake Hall struck out, Franklin unloaded on an 0-1 breaking ball from Saints starter Grant Young, sending the ball sailing over the fence in right center. Just like that, the ’Sters had jumped out to a 2-0 lead.
But the Saints were not willing to succumb to Santa Barbara so easily yet again.
Nikolas Pagan began the scoring for the Saints in the latter half of the first with an RBI single, cutting the lead in half to 2-1.
Arroyo Seco continued to storm back in third when Nolan Tressler was plunked by a Caden Monke fastball. Morgan Allen smacked a single to put runners on the corners with no outs. After Allen stole second, Drew Cowley grounded out to third, scoring Tressler to knot the game at 2-2. Allen advanced to third on a wild Monke curveball, and CCL home run leader Thomas Luevano hit a sac fly to bring Allen home, giving the Saints their first lead, 3-2.
But as has been the trend the entire summer, as soon as an opponent scores, the Foresters immediately respond.
Connor Pavolony starter the rally in the top of the fourth with a sharp single. Tevin Tucker followed with a screaming grounder down the third base line as he advanced Pavolony to third with a standup double. Baker hit a grounder to short, driving in Pavolony and pushing Tucker to third to tie the game at 3-3. Jacob Katzfey delivered with a sacrifice fly to center, giving the ’Sters a 4-3 advantage.
The Forester bullpen, certified absolutely nasty by the FDA, crushed any hopes of an Arroyo Seco comeback.
Conner Woods entered in relief of Monke in the fourth, tossing two hitless innings while striking out three. Brad Demco followed with his own pair of hitless innings, using a deceptive fastball and devastating curveball to punch out five Saints.
While the bullpen was silencing the Saints’ bats, the Forester offense kept on chugging.
In the seventh, Franklin launched his second opposite-field homer of the day with a booming shot to right, putting the ’Sters up 5-3. After a pair of walks, Selma chopped a bouncing ball up the middle to drive in Nick Bellafronto, extending the lead to 6-3. Pavolony tacked on the third insurance run of the inning with an RBI fielder’s choice, giving Santa Barbara a comfortable 7-3 cushion.
Arkansas relievers Jacob Burton and Elijah Trest took care of business from there, striking out a combined four Saints over two shutout innings to end the game. The win was the Foresters’ twenty-seventh victory in CCL play, and improved their overall record to 29-9.
The Foresters will play their final regular season game Wednesday at Pershing Park against the Santa Barbara Grizzlies. Be sure to tune into AM 1290 at 6 PM to catch all the action.