An exciting ballgame was almost capped by a ninth-inning comeback by the Foresters, but instead ended in extra innings with the Conejo Oaks on top, 4-3.
After Santa Barbara led most of the game, the Oaks scratched out two runs in the bottom of the eighth to take a 3-2 lead. But the ’Sters roared right back, as Matt Henderson drove in Evan Castalotto with the tying run. In the bottom of the tenth, a leadoff walk, a stolen base, and a passed ball put the potential winning run on third for Conejo. The Sters tried a bold strategy, putting two runners on via intentional walks to create a forceout situation at home. Blake Smith got one batter on a strikeout, then induced a grounder that Hunter Williams fired home to catcher Dylan Paul from first base to cut down a run. But the Oaks’ Kyle Sanchez worked his third walk of the game, and the winning run scored.
Foresters pitching in general was excellent on the day, shutting down the heart of the Oaks’ order—their 3-6 hitters were 1 for 17 with a walk. Kyle Johnston started and went five solid innings, allowing only a run. Tanner Lawson and Jackson Sigman kept the Oaks bottled up until the eighth. Conejo got to Austin Schnabel in the eighth, but Smith came on to strike out four batters in his two innings, the final walk being the lone dark spot on his record. Along with Henderson’s clutch tying single, the Foresters got their first two runs on a Hank LoForte single in the fourth, driving in Bret Boswell and Tyler Adkison.
It was a tough loss for Santa Barbara and leaves them only one game ahead of Conejo in the CCL. But they can regain a two-game cushion with a win Sunday in a rematch with the Oaks. It will be Santa Barbara Community Bank Day at Caesar Uyesaka, so come out and cheer on your Sters starting at 1:30 pm on Sunday.—Jim Buckley