by Nate Loop
When the bats are talking for the Foresters, the team can seem unbeatable in tandem with the suffocating pitching staff. The team looks best when they get into a rhythm earlier, as everything seems to fall into place, and there is less pressing all around. The Foresters continued their winning ways with a strong 6-1 victory over the Neptune Beach Pearl.
The Foresters wasted little time in getting to Pearl starting pitcher Chris Garrison, scoring in the bottom of the first inning. Arby Fields singled with one out and nobody on, which brought up Jacob Felts, who has been excellent behind the plate for the ‘Sters all summer. Felts, intent on remaining a stranger to Pearl pitcher Chris Garrison, swung on the first pitch and belted it high over left field, the ball landing at the scoreboard for a two run homer.
The Foresters brought out John Beck to start, who after a quick first inning looked shaky in the second. The Pearl loaded the bases against him with nobody out, and Beck needed to buckle down. He got a soft comebacker, but sailed the force out throw to home plate, allowing one run to score.
Beck, backed into a corner and still nobody out, bore down and got DonAndre Clark to strike out looking. He then induced a tailor made 4-6-3 double play to get out of the inning with minimal damage.
Luke Plucheck scored a third run for the Foresters in the third inning. He reached first on a walk, moved to third on a single by Ryan Barnes, then crossed home when Nick Melino reached safely on an error by Garrison.
There was an injury of note in the third inning, as Ryan Barnes left the game with a possible dislocated shoulder. Barnes dove back to first base on a pick-off attempt and landed awkwardly. Taylor Stell came in to pinch run for Barnes and take over in the outfield.
Felts continued to do damage, leading off with a double in the third inning. He then tagged up twice, moving to third on a fly out by O’Hearn, and then coming home on a sac fly by Vogelsang to take the Foresters lead to 4-1.
The Foresters kept on trucking adding a run in the fourth inning. Nick Parent reached base on a wild pitch third strike. He then went to second on a pickoff error by Garrison, moved to third on a flyout by Nick Melino, and completed his unorthodox journey around the basepath when Richy Pedroza finally singled him in to make the score 5-1.
The first reliever for the Pearl was Tyler Cobb, who came on to pitch in the sixth inning. Not only was Cobb a knuckleballer, but as an added twist, he threw this pitch sidearm. The notion of a sidearm knuckleballer almost sounds like a circus trick brought to competitive baseball, but this trick worked out pretty well, as Cobb threw one inning and allowed just one hit.
The game slowed down considerably after that. Beck regained his form and shut down the Pearl after his shaky second inning. The Foresters slowed down as well, but did tack on another run in the bottom of the seventh inning, with Vogelsang lining a double to right center to score Arby Fields. That put the Foresters up with a commanding 6-1 lead.
Beck recorded his first win of the summer for the ‘Sters, with five solid innings under his belt today.
Cody Dickson, TJ McGreevey, Albert Minnis, and Michael Kwan eached pitched a shutout inning of relief. Dickson was especially impressive, as the hardthrowing lefty struck out the side in the sixth.
Jacob Felts finished 2 for 4 with 2 RBIs and 2 runs scored. Vogelsang also added two RBIs of his own.
The win takes the Foresters record on the season to 15-8. The ‘Sters continue the homestand as they host the MLB Academy Barons for a three game series this weekend. The first game is tomorrow afternoon at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium, with a 5:10 p.m. start time.