By Jim Buckley: Was it happening again? After two straight surprising losses, the Foresters were once again in a hole, down 7-5 as the sixth inning began on Saturday night. Spurred by an excited home crowd, though, the Foresters battled back, scoring five in the inning on their way to a much-needed 15-9 victory over the OC Riptide. The big blow in the go-ahead inning came off the bat of new third baseman Dylan Campbell. He smacked a clutch two-run double that pushed the score to 8-7 Foresters, a lead they never gave up.
“Dylan has been on fire since he got here, two homers the other night, and he’s been great all around,” said a happy and slightly relieved manager Bill Pintard. “He’s exceeded our expectations, plus he’s a great kid.”
Campbell, who was 3-for-4 with 4 runs scored, was far from the only hitting hero for Santa Barbara. 1B Ryan Wrobleski had 5 RBI, coming on a run-scoring double in the first, a two-run homer in the third, and a two-RBI single in the seventh.
“Ryan has been a rock for us,” said Pintard of his C/1B/DH/OF/slugger. “He brings some maturity to the team on a squad with a lot of young players. He has a high baseball IQ and the young players see what he does, and try to emulate him. He’s a great team guy and he knows how to keep a sense of humor.”
DH Tanner O’Tremba contributed mightily as well, reaching base all six times he came to the plate, including a pair of singles, a double, and a pair of walks, while driving in three runs amid the parade of hits.
In fact, every spot in the batting order got at least one hit and seven different players scored at least a run.
They were needed on a night when the Foresters offense seemed to sputter early on. Of the first nine Sters hitter, six reached base, but only one scored. Wrobleski’s homer turned that around and tied the score at 3-3 in the third before a four-spot in the fifth put OC on top. In fact, the Foresters’ pitching was spotty early before settling down. Brandon Beckel and Max Flame threw the first four innings and seven runs scored, though two of them were unearned due to costly Foresters errors.
But in the grand Foresters tradition of passing the rope to the next man up, the offense came to life with the Campbell-led five-run sixth to retake the lead, and then a parade of relievers bottled up the Riptide, allowing only two runs in the final five innings.
The homestand wraps up on Sunday with a 2 pm game against the archrival San Luis Blues on Community West Bank Day. ’Ster it up at Pershing Park!