By Matt Mitchell
One inning sealed the Foresters’ fate Tuesday night.
“Take away that first inning and we win the ballgame,” Foresters manager Bill Pintard said.
The Santa Barbara Foresters (0-1) opened the 2017 season with an 8-4 loss to the Southern California Catch at Eagles Diamond at Biola University. It was the Foresters’ first loss in a season opener since the 2012 season.
Southern California (2-4) scored five runs on five hits, two walks and a balk in a chaotic bottom half of the first inning, gaining a 5-0 lead it would never relinquish.
Foresters starting pitcher Ty Wiest labored through the first inning, throwing 30 pitches and being charged with five earned runs, but he settled down soon after and allowed only a single over his remaining three and a third innings of work.
“I thought Ty Wiest really competed out there,” Pintard said. “If you look at the game and not the numbers, the hits that he gave up, they weren’t crushing the ball. They were ground balls in the 5-6 hole and another one was a bloop hit.”
The Foresters chipped away at Southern California’s lead, scoring two runs in the fourth inning before giving three runs right back in the fifth thanks in part to a few costly errors.
“We were very sloppy and we didn’t take care of the ball,” Pintard said. “We had three throwing errors and couple guys tried to do too much.”
With Santa Barbara trailing 8-3 in the top of the eighth inning, designated hitter John Jensen looked to ignite a Foresters rally as he launched a solo shot to deep center field to cut the deficit to four.
The Foresters continued to apply pressure in the ninth with a pair of singles, but the rally came up short, as shortstop Reed Fell popped up to end the game with runners on second and third base.
“I liked the effort,” Pintard said. “I thought we put a little battle on them in the ninth inning.”
The Foresters will look to rebound on Wednesday as they take on the MLB Academy Barons. First pitch is at 5:50 p.m. on AM 1290, KZSB.