By Matthew Landis
In a slugfest that saw both teams rack up 27 hits, the Foresters held on to beat the MLB Academy Barons 12-8 in a thriller. The ‘Sters committed crucial errors early in the ballgame but with steady pitching and an enormous amount of hits, they overcame the offensive surge of the Barons. The Foresters scored more runs in this game than the last three games combined. Though hitting took precedent, Santa Barbara Community College product Lucas Benenati added six strikeouts, providing solid support from the mound.
The bats finally came alive for the Foresters, as they put up four runs in the third inning. Shortstop Bret Boswell led off the inning with a single to right field, the first of the team’s fifteen hits. Boswell then swiped second base and advanced to third off of an infield single from catcher Colin Yelich. With runners on the corners, center fielder Jaylin Davis hit an RBI single deep to straight center field, that scored Boswell. Third basemen Dillon Dobson kept the bats aflame with a triple to right field that scored two. Up 3-0, the Foresters did not let up. Designated hitter Jeremy Montalbano lined to left center that sent Dobson home and put the ‘Sters up 4-0 on the Barons.
Trailing by three, the Barons struck back with help from the Foresters’ defense. The ‘Sters committed three errors in the top of the fourth, and saw themselves down for the first time this season. The Barons’ led by right fielder DJ Wallace capitalized on the ‘Sters mental lapses and added a multitude of timely hits. Wallace hit a towering ground rule double to straight center and center fielder Chris Jacobs added to the onslaught with a pair of singles in the top of the fourth. The ‘Sters faced twelve batters in the inning before they stopped the bleeding, trailing the Barons 7-4.
The seven run inning by the Barons hit a nerve with the Foresters who struck back with more clutch hits of their own, tying up the score. Granger Studdard hit a scary line drive off of opposing pitcher Pedro Fierros’ leg that put him on first. After a walk and sacrifice fly, the ‘Sters had runners in scoring position. Southall then hit a two run monster triple over the center fielders’ head. The ‘Sters were not done however, with Southall scampering across home plate after Davis’ passed ball strikeout, evening up the score.
The ‘Sters recaptured the lead in the bottom of the sixth inning led by Grant Davis and Dobson. Davis reached base after a fielder’s choice and used his blazing speed to steal second base. With one out, Dobson roped a strong line drive to center field that scored Davis, which gave the ‘Sters an 8-7 lead.
Yelich continued his hot night with a two out single to straight center field. Boswell and Yelich both advanced to third and second base respectively after the throw from Barons’ outfielder Baker. Barons’ pitcher then threw a wild pitch that scored Boswell for the first run of the inning. Southall continued the offensive frenzy with a single to right, which scored Yelich and gave him his third RBI of the night. With this two out rally, the ‘Sters lengthened their lead on the Barons, 10-7.
With shade creeping over Caesar Uyesaka Stadium, the Barons’ scored a single run in the top of the eighth innings after a triple by second basemen Casey Chenowith. The ‘Sters answered with a triple of their own with a bomb off of the bat of Grant Davis. Davis scored easily off of sacrifice fly by Dobson. Clean up hitter Montalbano crushed a soaring solo home run over right field, his second on the year and first of the contest. With the fourth triple of the game for the Foresters, Studdard hit a line drive down the right field line and then coasted into third base, though the late rally was not fruitful.
Moving from right field to pitcher, Graybill closed out the slugfest for the Foresters. The EP 19 Beverage Player of the Game was #5 Dillon Dobson, who went 2-4 with four RBI’s and a triple. The ‘Sters moved to (4-0, 2-0), outlasting the Barons in a marathon of a ballgame.