Pitching ruled for the first seven innings of this crucial World Series match-up until Louie Lechich hit a rocket that lit up the night sky and ignited a previously dormant Sters offense.
The Santa Barbara Foresters ended up defeating the Wellington Heat 5-0 in their second game of the 2013 NBC World Series, but the final score does not reflect the kind of game that was played. Despite putting at least one runner on for the first seven innings, the Sters were unable to score until Lechich, playing on a hurt foot, got the hit of the season so far.
Playing after an off day following the Sters 4-0 victory against the Northwest Honkers, Santa Barbara threw out their ace Drew Van Orden and he did not disappoint. DVO provided seven scoreless innings giving up just one hit while striking out seven batters, giving him 72 strikeouts on the season, second all-time in Foresters history. The win is his sixth of the season
In the bottom of the second inning, Van Orden came up gimpy after covering first base on a little dribbler to first base. The righty from Duke stayed in the game after throwing a couple of warm up pitches and was able to retire the side.
Van Orden dominated the Wellington hitters for the next five innings, but equally impressive was the Heat’s starter Brandon Marris. Wellington pulled their season stats off their team website for the tournament but in his college season at Southeastern Oklahoma St. Marris had a 3.56 ERA while going 4-3 with 59 strikeouts. He finished the evening with a no decision after a stunning seven scoreless innings pitched with four strikeouts.
The Foresters finally got on the scoreboard with Lechich’s triple in the top of the eighth, notching his team leading 33rd RBI of the season to give the Sters a slight edge. Scoring on the play was Garrett Mattlage, who worked a seven-pitch walk to reach base off of Heat reliever Matt Royal.
Disaster almost struck the Foresters in the bottom half of the inning, as Aaron Siple hit a two out triple to right off reliever Tejay Antone, sending the hometown Heat fans into a frenzy. For a moment it looked like the next batter, Nick Thimesch, had hit an RBI single, but the soft liner floated into Keaton Jones’ glove for the final out of an inning in which Antone did not throw a single ball.
Santa Barbara ended the drama with four insurance runs in the top of the ninth, putting the Sters up 5-0 and essentially cementing the victory. The inning started with a Jacob Felts home run to left, his second of the season. The hit seemed to lift the nervous tension for the Foresters, as Austin Darby and Steven Reveles both hit bunt singles and reached home on a two run smash to left by Colt Atwood. After Mattlage reached on a failed fielder’s choice attempt, Lechich hit an infield single to drive in the final run of the game.
Lechich finished the game 3-5 with a triple and 2 RBIs to lead the Sters late inning offensive effort. Shane Hoelscher, Atwood, and Darby each added two hits of their own.
Santa Barbara has now only allowed an incredible six hits in their two NBC World Series games combined while not giving up a single run. A seventh hit was robbed by Hoelscher, who dove toward the line to come up with a hard liner that he then gunned over to first to finish off the web gem.
The Foresters have now defeated the Wellington Heat for the fourth time in four games against them in the last six NBC World Series. The Heat play in the Jayhawk League and are located just 36 miles away from Wichita.
The Sters are back in action for their third game of the NBC World Series against the Clarinda A’s on Tuesday, August 6th. The game time is 10 pm here in Wichita, 8 pm Pacific time. Make sure to check the Foresters Facebook page or the twitter account @sbforesters for updates.