By Jim Buckley
On a strange night in Foresters history, when no fans were in the seats, a parade of Foresters pitchers provided their own fans, striking out 13 batters to lead Santa Barbara to a 12-3 Opening Day win over the Inland Valley Buccaneers. Thanks to SB City Parks Department and SBCC and some hard-working team volunteers, the Foresters were the first live sports in the area in months. Fans who listened on KCSB heard quite a show.
Nick Nastrini started and threw three shutout innings, striking out three. After returning pitcher Spencer Jones added a couple of frames, a pair of former SB High heroes put on a show. Derrek True struck out three after loading the bases. Then Bryce Warrecker struck out the side in the eighth to cap off his two-inning, 5-K outing.
Power pitching was supported by power hitting. Shortstop Matthew McLain led off and powered a double and triple to drive in four runs. DH Christian Encarnacion had the first homer of the 2020 season in the second, then drove in two more with a two-strike, two-run single in a five-run eighth. Peyton Graham, the third baseman, had the big blow in that inning with a bases-clearing double to right field.
Jace Jung had a pair of RBI and started a terrific 4-3 double play in the fifth. He was one of several great “Foresters Family” story lines on the night. Jace’s older brother Josh was a 2018 ‘Sters star and a first-round MLB draft pick in 2019. Matthew’s hits were joined by brother Sean’s single in the seventh; Foresters historians could not recall another instance of a brother pair getting knocks in the same game for S.B. Warrecker’s appearances marked the first three-generation Foresters family, as he follows grandpa Fred and father Wes (to say nothing of uncles Teddy and Donovan). Waiting on the bench was Nick Oakley, grandson of Hall of Famer Bill.
The Fan-Free Foresters play on Thursday with another 6 pm game, as they take on the Coastal Cubs. Listen in on KCSB.org/sports or visit our Livestream link at the top of the Foresters home page!