By Jim Buckley (photo by Kylie Koeper): The factory was open Thursday night as the Foresters repeatedly manufactured runs and ended up beating the Ventura Pirates 8-3. It was the Foresters’ seventh straight win since the CCL All-Star Game break (eight if you count the resumed game from June 25), setting them up for a strong finish as the season heads toward Wichita.
Against Ventura, Foresters batters came through with clutch hits over and over, while baserunners took full advantage of some Pirates lapses. On the mound, Brandon Beckel allowed only two earned runs in five innings, allowing Santa Barbara time to stretch the lead. The relief corps of Max Flame, Scott Ellis, and Chase Webster threw four scoreless innings.
The hard-working ’Sters scored first in the second inning. Nate Rombach walked and came around to score two batters later on a Kade Higgins single.
Santa Barbara added two in the third. Ethan Bates led off with a long double. Jashia Morrissey brought him in with a single. Jared Thomas (pictured) then smacked a line drive toward the right field corner, one of his three hits on the night. Morrissey, who had been off with the pitch, was awarded home even as Thomas’s hit was ruled a ground-rule double.
The runs factory opened again in the fifth with a walk to Higgins and an error that put Bates on base. Kendall Pettis then put a ball in play that eluded the Pirates third baseman, allowing both runners to score, putting the Foresters up 5-1.
Though the Pirates got a pair in the fifth to close the gap, the Foresters put it away two innings later with a trio of runs. With two outs, Thomas and Rombach reached base. Jack Reidel’s single drove in Thomas, and though Rombach was caught in a rundown, the Pirates once again went “Arrg” as an error sent Rombach home.
Hewing to the Foresters doctrine of “two-out hits win championships,” Higgins earned his second ribbie of the evening with a single that brought Reidel home to wrap up the scoring.
Back to CCL play on Friday at Pershing Park against the OC Riptide at 6 pm. Tune in to the action on AM 1290 as well.