by Nate Loop
The Foresters came into the game hoping to construct some big innings with their wooden bats. The way the team has been pitching this season, the ‘Sters wouldn’t need a whole lot of lumber to deliver a victory. As it just so happened, the Oaks from Conejo came to town, and the ‘Sters caught fire and cleared the forest in producing a lopsided 19-2 victory.
Pitching has been the hallmark of this edition of the Foresters, but Sters starter Brandon Pierce was far from 100% today.
“Pierce was throwing up before the game,” said Manager Bill Pintard. “He even threw up a bit during the game.”
Whether it was food poisoning or the flu, Pintard doesn’t know, but that did not stop Pierce from taking the mound and gutting out five innings to earn the victory. The Oaks actually scored first, lest anyone forget, but Pierce came through for his team after that and pitched thenext four innings superbly considering thecircumstances.
Perhaps the players felt a bit of pressure to score some runs and help out Pierce, and if that’s the case then the Foresters certainly took care of their pitcher today.
Every Forester starter collected a hit on the afternoon, with Taylor Stell pacing the team with a 3 for 6 afternoon that turned into a long evening due to the onslaught of scoring produced by the ‘Sters. Cal Vogelsang and Ryan O’Hearn tied for the game high in RBIs with three apiece.
Grant Davis, in just his fourth game back since returning from a nasty concussion that has kept him out for most of the season, got back into the swing of things and collected a hit. Pintard was pleased with the progression
“He did a good job, got some knocks today, and played a couple different positions,” said Pintard.
The Conejo Oaks apparently operated under the guiding principle of Murphy’s Law, as anything that could have gone wrong did.
The Oaks allowed a couple of runs to be scored by way of errors. The team walked in a run. There were hit batters, stolen bases and sacrifice flies. A grounder in the third inning tightroped its way down the third base line, hopped over the bag, and stayed fair for a double. Cal Vogelsang hit a rare triple to score two runs.
On one particularly bizzare play, the Oaks pitcher had the bases loaded, threw a pitch that was hit right back into his glove, like the ball was a yo-yo, and threw it to the catcher for a force out at home, but the ball was dropped and a run came across. It would be tough to script calamitous errors like that.
Laughers like these come around about as often as blue moons and flying pigs, so it was a great treat for the fans to just kick back and watch the Foresters put on a hitting clinic.
After scoring just two runs in the three game series against the San Luis Obispo Blues, one wonders what Manager Pintard did to spark an offensive outpouring. Were there any especially profound words that he conjured up to coax a performance like this out of the team? Not so, as the plain-spoken manager basically gave his team tried and true, basic advice.
“We talked about approach, and we talked about focus,” said Pintard. “They really came out and put on a show.”
Games like these are memorable for any Sters supporter, but there was perhaps something extra special about this day that many fans may have missed. 19 is the number that was worn by the late Eric Pintard, who helped start the Hugs for Cubs charity. It’s on Bill Pintard’s jersey, the cap of every player, the teams logo, and one day after Eric’s birthday, it was on the scoreboard too.
The Foresters next game is Saturday, and it’s on the road against the Conejo Oaks. The game can be heard live on KZSB radio, with Gerry Fall on the call. The Sters return home on Sunday to play the final game of the series at 1 p.m. The game will be sponsored by Santa Barbara News Press.