By Patrick Hunter
Deja vu all over again, as Yogi Berra once said. The 2018 Foresters season started off a lot like the 2017 season, with John Jensen showing off his hometown skills. As he did in 2017, Jensen led the way, this time to an 11-0 opening-game win over the Inland Valley Pirates. The Vaquero-turned-Anteater cracked three hits, drove in three, and scored three. Catcher Chase Illig, in his ’Sters debut, also had three hits and three RBI. They backed sterling pitching highlighted by starter David Gaydos’s six shutout innings. The Westmont star allowed only two hits and walked one.
The Foresters started off their first inning of the season on the right foot, as Jensen hit into a fielder’s choice to bring home Parker Upton for the first run of the ballgame. Things picked up in the third, as the Foresters racked up three more runs in the inning, with Jensen scoring one more to cushion his team’s lead. The ’Sters added five in the fifth, thanks in part to a pair of bases-loaded hit batsmen and some timely hitting.
The pitching was equally impressive, with Gaydos leading the way. He seemed unhittable at times, especially when he struck out three Pirate batters in the second inning. The middle of the infield turned three momentum-stopping double plays, helping keep the shutout intact. Noah Gotsis and Jackson Sigman shut down the Pirates for the final three innings to preserve the clean sheet.
The dominance may seem unexpected on opening day for a Foresters squad with multiple new players joining the squad this season, but this is exactly what the players have been working so hard towards in practice. “It feels great.” Jensen said. “The short time we’ve been together, it feels like we have great team chemistry already.” The cohesiveness showed on Friday, and the Foresters should only improve on their strong opening day performance. Jensen went on to say, “And we don’t even have all the guys here yet.” With an opening day like that, the CCL should be on high alert. The Foresters return to the field on Saturday to play the Pirates again; game time is 6 p.m.