By Patrick Hunter
Photo by Vic Neumann
Give this year’s Foresters team an inch, and they’ll take the win, no matter the deficit, no matter the inning. Arroyo Seco learned that lesson the hard way after Santa Barbara came from behind for the second straight game against the Saints, snatching a 4-3 victory on an overcast Sunday afternoon in Santa Barbara.
Santa Barbara trailed 3-2 with two outs in the eighth when second baseman Ryan Cash hit a hard line drive triple past the Saints’ center fielder, scoring Parker Upton, who flew around third base to tie the game at 3. In an attempt to tag Cash out at third, the ball slipped right through the legs of the Saints’ third baseman, allowing Cash to cruise into home, where he was greeted by a swarm of ’Sters celebrating Santa Barbara’s first lead of the game. “Ball got by the center fielder, and the rest is history.” Cash said with a smile on his face.
After hitting the go-ahead run in Saturday’s game, Cash came up clutch again, strengthening his track record against a talented Saints team.
While the ’Sters looked to have this one wrapped up late, the Saints were not ready to give up just yet. Arroyo Seco was able to load the bases with just one out in the ninth after a couple walks by Foresters pitching. Nic Lacayo stepped up to the plate, hoping to knock in some runs for his squad. He hit a hard grounder right to closer Garrett Crochet, who rifled the ball to catcher Chase Illig. After struggling to get a grip on the ball in his glove, Illig tagged home plate with his bare hand before firing it to first for a game ending double play. A Santa Barbara crowd that provided support all day rose to their feet on Montecito Bank & Trust Day, acknowledging the resilience their home team displayed in the game.
The Santa Barbara offense and defense took turns helping each other out all afternoon. Pitchers Brett Standlee, Tanner Bibee, James Notary, and Crochet combined for 11 strikeouts on the day, getting out of several jams with runners in scoring position to help minimize the scoring damage.
Illig kicked off the scoring effort for the ’Sters in the sixth with a hard hit double down the left field line, cutting the Saint lead to two. Shortly after, the Saints right fielder dropped Luke Ritter’s deep fly ball to right field, allowing Illig to easily come home to make it 3-2.
This game was full of wild sequences, including a foul ball that shattered a light along the third base line, raining shards of glass on the ’Sters coaching staff, but Pershing Park may have been the loudest it has been all season after Cash’s wild two-run dash around the bases. The Santa Barbara dugout loved every minute of the rollercoaster game, and once again showed some fight in a late game comeback. “We’re playing for each other.” Cash said. “We’re never out of it.”
The victory marks the 15th straight, as the ’Sters maintain their perfect record in the summer.
Santa Barbara will hit the road for a big trip up north to face the Healdsburg Prune Packers on Tuesday, June 26. Follow along with live stats, online via sbforesters.org, or on radio station AM 1290 as the ’Sters look to keep the hits coming.