By Matt Mitchell
A strong performance on the mound from recent high school graduate Ian Churchill wasn’t enough, as the Forester bats were mostly silent. The Foresters (3-3) finished their first homestand of 2017 with a 7-1 loss to non-league Ventura Pirates. Despite four and a third innings from Churchill with only single earned run allowed, the Foresters couldn’t provide their newest starting pitcher with much run support. Churchill also struck out five Pirates and walked two.
With two outs in the top of the fourth inning, it seemed Churchill was going to get out of a bases-loaded jam. His 3-2 pitch was hit on the ground to third baseman Brody Weiss, but Weiss’ throw across the diamond to first baseman Chandler Bengston was just a bit short. The error resulted in two Pirates scoring what would end up being the deciding runs.
After falling behind 3-0, the Foresters responded in the sixth inning with a two-out double and crucial steal of third base by Luke Ritter. Ritter scored two batters later on a John Jensen RBI single. That would be the only Foresters run of the game, however, as Santa Barbara couldn’t quite mount a rally.
The Foresters will resume play Tuesday on the road against the Southern California Catch. It will be Santa Barbara’s second meeting with the Catch this season, as it looks to avenge last Tuesday’s opening day loss.