By Jim Buckley: The 2021 Foresters can win ’em big (outscoring opponents 81-6 while opening the summer 5-0), and they can win ’em small. In Santa Barbara’s first tight game of the young season, the ’Sters came from behind to squeeze by the OC Riptide 4-1 on the road. While moving to 6-0, instead of piling up runs in big innings, the Foresters chipped away with timely hits and speed.
The Riptide scored first after a walk turned into a run. But Foresters starting pitcher Josh Swales settled down and allowed only one more hit in his four innings of work. The Foresters offense got to work in the third. After Kendall Pettis and Jack Reidel reached base, they each stole a base, two of the team’s six swipes on the night. A wild pitch allowed Pettis to trot home with the tying run.
Santa Barbara took its first lead in the fifth on back-to-back doubles by Nate Rombach and Andrew Kachel. In the sixth, they padded the advantage after Josh Stinson led off with a walk. After advancing on an error, he scored from second on a Reidel single to make the score 3-1. Stephen Zobac made it 4-1 in the seventh, knocking in Kachel, who had singled and (all together now) . . . stolen second.
Back on the mound, Cooper Randall took over for Swales and kept the Riptide off the board in his three innings of work. Randall struck out three and walked no one, while scattering two hits. Nick Proctor took the mound next, striking out the side around a lone single. In the ninth, the Foresters flashed the leather, with first baseman Noah Rombach starting a 3-6-3 double play that ended the game and gave Proctor his first save of 2021.
Santa Barbara returns home to Pershing Park on Thursday for a 6 pm game against the San Luis Blues. We hope for a big crowd to help cheer the Foresters on as they continue CCL play. Tickets at the gate, and you can listen to all the action on AM 1290 KZSB.