by Nate Loop
After dropping their first game of the Santa Barbara Tournament on the Fourth of July, the Foresters were looking to show that despite their chances of a tournament final were grim, they were still ready to come out and compete. After getting blanked against the Conejo Oaks, the Sters paid the lights out pitching forward, shutting down the Wahoos by a score of 6-0.
John Beck started the game for the Foresters, and was utterly dominant against the young Wahoos, who are made up of mostly high school and junior college players. He allowed just one hit in his six innings of work, walked, and struck out five.
The Wahoos brought out lefthander Nathan Thompson to start the game, and he was sharp in the early innings, allowing just one hit in the first couple of innings.
The Foresters did not put a big inning together, but showed that experience and a wealth of talent and patient hitting would be enough to overcome the Wahoos this afternoon.
Taylor Stell came across in the fourth inning on a wild pitch by Thompson for the Sters first run. The shaky inning by Thompson was enough to prompt a pitching change for the Wahoos.
Andrew Watson lasted just a third of an inning, and allowed Stell to score again for the ‘Sters. Stell drew a walk, stole second, then came around to score on a single by Peter Cuomo to make it 2-0 to the Sters after five innings of play.
The Foresters continued to scratch out runs slowly but surely rather than bust open the floodgates, but it was definitely enough to back up the excellent pitching. In the sixth, the Foresters scored when Luke Plucheck tagged up from third on a sac fly by Tyler Pearson.
Shane Hoelscher also scored in the inning on a fielding error by shortstop Zach Demarcus. Hoelscher was on second after a great theft, and came around when Demarcus’ throw towards first was well wide, allowing Stell (the eternal pest that afternoon) to reach safely and Hoelscher to score.
In the seventh inning, the Foresters scored again when Kaeo Aliviado, pinch hitting for Plucheck, smacked a double that was about five feet shy of a home run, scoring Ryan O’Hearn from first base for the fifth run of the ball game.
Stell once again made his way across home plate in the bottom of the eighth inning. He got most of the way there on his own with his lead-off triple, and Cuomo helped him along the rest of the way with a single to put the final score up on the board, 6-0 to the home team.
Kirby Bellow pitched two perfect innings in relief of Beck, striking out three along the way. Vince Wheeland, normally a starter for the ‘Sters, got some relief work in, pitching the final frame, allowing a couple of hits, but most importantly no runs.
The ‘Sters are now 1-1 in the SB Tournament. The Conejo Oaks (2-0) took pole position this afternoon with a 5-4 victory over the Southern California Halos (1-1). The Wahoos are now 0-2 in tournament play. The Oaks are essentially a lock for the championship game of the SB Tournament.
They will play the winner of the San Luis Obispo bracket on Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m. The winner of the tournament will get an automatic bid to the NBC World Series, to be played in the first two weeks of August in Witchita, Kansas.