The Santa Barbara Foresters’ bats continued their offensive onslaught on the visiting Walnut Creek Crawdads Friday afternoon with 14 hits in the game culminating in a dominant 13-6 win.
After trailing the Crawdads early in the game, the ‘Sters took the lead and never looked back thanks to consecutive 5-run innings in the sixth and seventh frames. Starting pitcher Gary Cornish did his part to hold Walnut Creek to only two runs, earning his fourth win of the early season through six innings of work with as many strikeouts.
Walnut Creek got on the board early in the first two innings. The first would come via the wild pitch while the Crawdads took advantage of an error to bring in the second run.
The Foresters would strike back in the fourth off a Tyler Neslony sac fly to right field to bring in Jeremy Montalbano from third. The difference was one run with a 2-1 score and Neslony beginning his stellar performance at the plate.
Along with timely hitting, strong plate discipline and aggressive base running were key factors in the game. With two outs in the fifth, Granger Studdard and Montalbano got on with line drives into the outfield gaps. Neslony brought in Studdard with a laser into right field, evening the score. Bret Boswell then drew a walk to load the bases and knock the Crawdads starting pitcher out of the game. The ‘Sters got their lead after John Holland earned the free pass, forcing in Montalbano and making it a 3-2 score.
The first big inning for the ‘Sters came in the sixth when they batted around the order and added to their lead. Matt Henderson walked and Ryan Chandler executed a bunt single to set up David Greer. Greer easily scored them in after their double steal. A few batters later, Neslony ripped a liner into the right field corner for a triple as Greer and Studdard crossed home for an 8-2 edge.
Santa Barbara blew the game open in their next frame sending 10 men to the plate with five of them drawing walks. Henderson and Chandler got on base yet again for Greer with all three players getting free passes. During Greer’s at bat, the double steal was successful once more and Henderson was able to score on throwing error by the catcher. With Montalbano drilled and the bases jammed, Neslony and Boswell earned the final two base on balls to make it 11-4. Holland hit a sac fly to center and Kaleb Denny followed with a pinch-hit RBI single for a 13-4 score at the end of the seventh.
The Crawdads tried to claw back in the late innings with a pair of runs in the seventh and ninth but by then the damage had been done. The final score would be 13-6 as the Foresters excelled at every aspect in producing runs, ending up with seven stolen bases and 10 walks drawn to go along with their 14 hits.
Santa Barbara and Walnut Creek face off in game two tomorrow set for a 5:05 p.m. start.
By: Cindy Alamillo