By Jim Buckley: The scoreboard lit up early and often in Orange County, with the Foresters and Riptide combining for 12 runs in the first three innings. After that it was all Foresters, as they turned a tight 8-4 game into a 19-4 rout. It was the Foresters’ final regular-season game and extended their winning streak to an incredible 16 games. They wrap up the 2021 regular season with a 30-7 overall record, and a CCL South-best 23-7 league record.
On this final Sunday, every Foresters player, including four subs, had at least a hit or scored a run. Catcher Nate Rombach (pictured) was a one-man wrecking crew, going 5-for-6 with 4 runs scored and a pair of RBI. Third baseman Dylan Campbell nearly matched him, getting three hits and his own pair of RBI. Incredibly, with 19 runs on the board and 21 hits, the Foresters had only three extra-base hits. Carson Wells had the game’s only homer, a solo shot in the fifth.
The scorekeeper was busy from the start of the game. In the top of the first, Santa Barbara surged to a four-run lead on two-run doubles by Ryan Wrobleski and Ethan Bates. In the second, the hits just kept coming. Six Foresters in a row reached base, with five hits and a walk. Three came in to score to make it 7-0 Foresters.
The Riptide flowed right back into the game in the bottom of the inning, smacking a two-run homer for their first runs, but the Foresters got one back in the third on Andrew Kachel’s second hit and first RBI of the game.
In the bottom of the third, OC cut the lead to four with a two-run double off reliver Carson Lambert.
So, after three innings, it was 8-4 Foresters; Santa Barbara had cracked 10 hits in those three frames.
Then . . . the deluge overcame the Tide: Wells’s one-out homer came in the fifth. The Tide pitchers had control problems after that. As the inning continued, they gave up four consecutive singles and then five walks. Six more Foresters came in to score before the inning ended: 15-4.
Just an inning later, the flood gates were opened again. Three singles, a walk, a hit-by-pitch and a sac fly added up to four more runs to reach the final score.
After the first two Foresters pitchers (Peyton Cole and Carson Lambert) gave up two runs apiece, five relievers each threw scoreless innings to shut down the Tidal flow. The staff piled up 15 Ks against only three walks.
The Foresters’ bus leaves Monday morning for Wichita. As soon as the Thursday August 5 game is schedule, we’ll let you know on all our social media channels.