By Jim Buckley (Photo by Kylie Koeper)
Pressure is powerful. Pressure fills balloons and helps us fill our lungs. Pressure causes earthquakes. Pressure creates stress. Pressure wins ballgames. That last fact was proven without a doubt on Wednesday night when the Foresters applied pressure from the first pitch and crackled their way to a 12-4 win over the Santa Maria Pea Soup.
The Foresters stole seven bases, highlighted by Pat Caulfield’s straight steal of home in the seventh, his second such theft of the season and his team-leading 19th on the summer. The Foresters took advantage of nine walks and three wild pitches, but several times tagged up to get into scoring position. On one play, Christian Encarnacion made it from second to third on a ground ball to the shortstop.
“You put so much pressure on the defense when you do this stuff,” said a happy manager Bill Pintard. “It causes [the other team] to hurry, it causes the pitchers to hurry, it’s just pressure baseball. We’ve been playing it for years, and this team has really bought into it.”
Along with hustle, the Foresters hit, racking up 14 hits. The big blow as a Castillo Street Special by Jace Jung, high and far over the right field fence in the second. Though Jung was hitting .500 when the game started, Pintard noted that “believe it or not, Jace has struggled the past couple of days. So where was he at 1:30 today? He was in the cage with Coach Schuck and they got some things ironed out. And he hit that ball in the middle of the street.”
Peyton Graham continued his hot hitting with a game-high three hits, while Ryan Holgate had a pair of doubles. All that combined to support a great starting outing by Nick Nastrini, who was working on a no-hitter until three straight hits chased him in the fifth.
That was okay, because the Foresters bullpen put up 4 2/3 innings of zeroes, striking out nine while walking only one. “Our bullpen was just unreal, all over 90 and spotting all their pitches,” said Pintard. “They really got the job done tonight.”
The Foresters hope to keep the pressure up again on Thursday with another game versus the Andersen’s Pea Soup team. First pitch is at 6 pm on KCSB.org/sports.