by Nate Loop
Playing the day after a a big loss isn’t easy. But when you have a manager like Bill Pintard, you can make sure a bad game remains firmly entrenched in the past. Pintard, working like a baseball alchemist, mixed together five pitchers, smart baserunning, and some classic smallball to end up with a golden 3-1 victory over the San Diego Force.
The Foresters immediately reawakened their hibernating bats and scored in the first inning. Steven Reveles drew a leadoff walk from Force staring pitcher Matt Truitt. A sacrifice bunt from Austin Davidson moved him to second, and a sac fly from Cal Vogelsang advanced him to third. Then catcher Jacob Felts came up, and hit a seeing-eye grounder that slipped past the Force shortstop to score Reveles, 1-0 to the ‘Sters.
Starting pitcher Aaron Bummer was no let down in his three innings of work, allowing just one hit and no runs while striking out three. Manager Bill Pintard had him on a pitch count, as Bummer had not taken the mound competitively in a while.
Dae Yang Kim, a righty out of the University of Washington, came in to pitch for Bummer and got a solid 1-2-3 fourth inning.
The ‘Sters added another run in fourth inning thanks to a sacrifice fly by Zach Fish, allowing Felts to score from first.
Pintard was extremely impressed with Felts today, not just for his work with the bat, but behind the plate as well.
“He called a great game and he’s never caught these guys,” said Pintard. “So he did a great job today.”
The ace of the Foresters staff this afternoon turned out to be Nick Palewicz, who took the mound in the 5th inning and kept the Force off the scoreboard for his four innings of work. The ocean breeze wasn’t quite as stiff as it usually was on this sunny afternoon, but Palewicz had the Force batters fanning the infield with swings and misses, as he racked up seven strikeouts and allowed just two hits.
The Foresters created a little extra breathing room for themselves in the bottom of the 8th inning. Right fielder Zach Fish lined a one-out single into left field to score Felts from second base, putting the ‘Sters up 3-0.
Pintard then brought in southpaw Albert Minnis, another member of their extensive pitching committee, to close the game out in the 9th inning.
Minnis walked the first batter, Tyler Nordgren. First baseman Chris Moody then hit a soft liner that skimmed the top of Davidson’s glove at third, landing in shallow left for a single and setting up a tense situation with runners on first and second and nobody out.
Minnis buckled down and struck out Shane Riley on three strong pitches. He got the next batter David Whiteside to hit a dribbler to second, which Gonzales flipped to Reveles covering at second to get the force out. However, Reveles tried to finish off the Force and fired a low throw past Vogelsang at first, allowing a solitary run to cross the plate and end the shutout bid with an out to go.
Pintard played the odds and brought in righty Hunter Lemke to face the righthanded hitter Colin Forgey, who represented the tying run at the plate. Lemke showed no mercy and struck out Forgey looking for the final out, securing the 3-1 victory for the ‘Sters.
Felts stood out at the plate for the Foresters, finishing the game 3 for 3 with two runs scored, an RBI, and a walk.
Zach Fish made his presence felt in the batter’s box as well, going 1 for 3 and picking up 2 RBIs.
The Foresters showed their support for local youth baseball, as they welcomed to today’s game a few young players from the Goleta Valley Little League, who came out to the park dressed in their uniforms to catch the action.
The ‘Sters (4-5) have the day off tomorrow, but will attempt to get back to .500 on the season when the San Luis Obispo Rattlers come to town on Tuesday afternoon. The game is scheduled to start at 5:10 p.m.