Photo of starting pitcher Brett Standlee by Vic Neuman
By Patrick Hunter
After dropping just their second game of the season on Saturday (it was also the team’s first home loss), the Santa Barbara Foresters erupted for a dozen runs to outlast the Academy Barons 12-6 on a hot Sunday afternoon in Santa Barbara.
The ’Sters offense took a couple of innings to get going, but pitching was able to keep the game scoreless. Starting pitcher Brett Standlee held his own through the first four frames, as he struck out four and kept the Barons from gaining any sort of momentum.
In the bottom of the fourth, Conor Davis kicked off the scoring with a hard-hit line-drive single, scoring two baserunners. Next up, Utah Jones broke the game open with a two-run home run, as the ’Sters all of a sudden had built a four-run lead.
While the ’Sters seemed to have a comfortable grip on the game, the Barons were not ready to give up the game that easily. In the top of the fifth, they responded with a strong inning of their own, racking up three runs to cut the Forester lead to one. Just as fast as the Barons scored, Santa Barbara regained a solid lead in the bottom of the fifth. With two outs and a runner on, Luke Ritter smacked a hard line drive over the left-field wall for the second ’Sters home run of the game and his first of 2018.
The Barons made another late comeback attempt in the top of the seventh, scoring two more runs to make the game close at 6-5. However, as has been the story for Santa Barbara all season, they put up late-inning scores to eliminate any hope the Barons had to come back in the game. In the bottom of the seventh, Jones once again sparked the offense, knocking a base hit that scored Ritter. Michael Neustifter and Turner Gauntt hit consecutive RBI singles, increasing the cushion to four runs. Logan Allen, who has been hot all week, brought in one more run with a sacrifice fly, as the ’Sters doubled up the Barons in the blink of an eye.
Allen capped off the scoring for the day in the eighth with a line-drive single, bringing in two more runs for Santa Barbara. Catch Santa Barbara in action on AM 1290 on Monday, July 2, where they will travel north to take on the San Luis Obispo Blues before beginning a five-game home stand on Tuesday.