By Matthew Landis
The Foresters fell to the Neptune Beach Pearl in a close contest, 5-4 in an excitement filled ballgame. ‘Ster pitcher Kit Larson garnered the loss, giving up three earned runs on nine hits. The Neptune Beach Pearl, using four pitchers, held the hot bats of the Foresters to only seven hits. The Sunday loss was the first on the season for the ‘Sters, making their record (7-1, 5-1).
In the first inning, the ‘Sters were on the board first led by Jaylin Davis. With a leadoff single up the middle by Jaylin Davis, the Foresters had their first baserunner of the ballgame. Second basemen Grant Davis followed suit and drew a walk from Beach pitcher Kelley. Appalachian State product, Dillon Dobson hit a sharp ground ball to the left side of the infield, scoring Davis from second base from a throwing error on the Neptune Beach Pearl, and giving the ‘Sters the 1-0 lead.
The ‘Sters added to their lead in the second inning, up 2-0. Right fielder D’Andrea hit a sharp grounder to the left side of the infield and was on first due to another throwing error from the Pearl. Reggie Southall then drew a walk and Davis was hit by a pitch to load up the bases for the Foresters. With the bases full, Grant Davis continued his hot hitting with an RBI groundout that scored D’Andrea.
The Pearl answered the Foresters early runs with a run of their own. Shortstop Richie Johnson scorched a line drive down the left field line, reaching second standing up. Scampering to third on a groundout to the right side, Johnson then scored off a sacrifice bunt from designated hitter Myles Babit which made the score 2-1.
The Pearl tied up the contest in the fourth inning led by first basemen Eric Sapp. Sapp lined a double to left center field to lead off the inning. Sapp rounded the bases, scoring off of a single by Jordan Devencenzi.
The Pearl took the lead for the first time in the series in an exciting sixth inning. Matt Miller lined a single through the right side of the infield. Center fielder Jordan Gaspard scored Miller with another single, making the score 3-2. Vance Vizcaino made a stellar web gem for the Foresters in the sixth, with a great diving catch.
With two outs in the top of the eight, Devencenzi continued his stellar play on the day, hitting a solo home run to left field. Devencenzi also threw out numerous Foresters on the basepaths as well.
Answering back with a home run of their own, Myles Mendez hit a screamer over the right field fence, putting a run on the board for the ‘Sters in the bottom of the eighth. Mendez was the EP 19 Beverage Player of the Ballgame after taking over for the injured Dillon Dobson and going 1-3 with a solo home run.
The Pearl’s bats stayed hot in the ninth inning, adding yet another run to their total, making it 5-3. Logan Frandsen drew a walk and advanced all the way to third base from a groundout and a wild pitch by ‘Sters pitcher, Benenati. Ozzy Braff lined a single to right field that scored Frandsen.
The ‘Sters put together a late rally in the ninth inning that kept the crowd on the edge of their seats. D’Andrea was hit by a pitch and Reggie Southall drew a walk. Leadoff batter Jaylin Davis came to the plate with one out and scorched a single through the left side of the infield, scoring D’Andrea. The late rally was not enough however with the Foresters falling to the Neptune Beach Pearl 5-4.