By Kylie Gelfand
The only problem with the Foresters game plan in Sunday’s come-from-ahead 5-4 loss to Neptune Beach was that they only had one Evan Lee. The rightfielder/pitcher knocked in three, scored a run, stole a base, and pitched a scoreless ninth. But one guy does not make a team.
Santa Barbara held a 3-1 lead in the top of the ninth but reliever Corey Herndon surrendered a game-tying two-run homer. Neptune Beach then scored two in the top of the tenth and the Foresters could not respond with enough. The loss snapped a short three game winning streak.
The Foresters were the first to put a run on the board, when Lee scored on a wild pitch in the bottom of the fourth. Two innings later, Lucas Halstead of the Pearl then hit a ground ball up the middle to tie the game.
The Foresters reclaimed the lead in the bottom of the same inning when Hank LoForte led off with an infield ground ball and stole second. Spencer Steer walked and both runners advanced on another wild pitch. Then came that man again, as Lee earned his second RBI with a sac fly to give the Sters the 2-1 lead.
In the bottom of the eighth, Lee came through again with his third RBI of the game, sending in Loforte. An inning later came the Pearl’s big game-tying bomb. Once again, Lee came to the rescue again, pitching a scoreless ninth.
“We were a batter late getting Evan Lee in to the game,” Foresters manager Bill Pintard said. “It’s tough when you have a position player and you have to make a pitching change. We probably would have wanted him to start that inning.”
After Herndon gave up the homer, Colton Follett came on to pitch. He closed the ninth, but started the top of the tenth inning by walking the Pearl’s leadoff man. Follett then threw a sac bunt attempt off the runner for an error. A wild pitch scored one run, and an infield grounder another and suddenly the Pearl had its firs lead.
The Sters made it exciting by scoring one in the tenth—Lee got his third RBI with a single but the Foresters left the tying run on third. Santa Barbara did win the weekend series, however.
The Foresters will be back in action Tuesday July 4 as they take on the Conejo Oaks at 4:30 p.m. at Pershing Park. Fans should make sure to look for alternate parking plans as the Pershing Park lot will fill very early with July 4 beachgoers. We don’t control the lot, so we suggest carpooling, biking, or walking down if you can.