Photo By Vic Neumann
By Will Bashur
While the brutal heat wave had passed, the Foresters’ bats were still hot on Saturday as they bashed their way to a 10-2 win over the visiting Academy Barons. Santa Barbara poured it on early, and the Barons were never able to recover.
The Foresters came out swinging, scoring four runs off Barons starter Erik Gutierrez in the opening frame. Chase Illig started the scoring barrage with a three-run no-doubter home run to right field that nearly hit the Barons’ team bus. Two batters later, catcher Michael Neustifter lifted a solo home run that just cleared the left field fence, giving the ‘Sters a quick 4-0 lead.
Utah Jones continued the scoring in the second inning when he smacked a line-drive single to score Brandon Zaragoza, and Santa Barbara led 5-0.
Forester starter Caleb Sloan was determined to preserve the shutout, as he threw five scoreless innings, giving up just three hits. Sloan only struck out one, but was incredibly efficient, needing just 55 pitches to get through his outing. The TCU Horned Frog induced several routine ground balls and lazy fly balls, and never allowed the Academy to mount any comeback.
Brett Standlee entered the game in the sixth inning, and the Barons managed to avoid the shutout. Catcher Joseph Argumedo drove in the Academy’s first run of the game on a sacrifice fly to center, driving in shortstop Joseph Banuelos.
But as soon as the Barons scored, the ‘Sters responded with even more offense.
With the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh, Zaragoza scored on a passed ball that tipped off of the glove of Argumedo. Then, new Foresters first baseman Cameron Warren picked up his first RBI by drawing a bases-loaded walk. Michael Neustifter followed the walk with a two-run single, driving in his second and third runs of the game to extend the Foresters’ lead to 8-1.
After losing the shutout, Brett Standlee quickly recovered to throw two more scoreless innings, striking out three Barons along the way.
Santa Barbara’s offense wasn’t ready to call it a night, as they scored another two runs in the bottom of the eighth. Illig shot an opposite-field double into left field that scored Zaragoza and Logan Allen. The double was the cherry on top of what was a monster day for Illig, as he went 4-for-5 with 5 RBI for the ‘Sters.
In the ninth, Kamron Fields came in to relieve Brett Standlee, and threw a scoreless inning to secure the win and move the Foresters’ record to 25-3 on the year.
Santa Barbara will have two days of much-needed rest before resuming play on Tuesday against the Conejo Oaks at 4:30 P.M. Be sure to tune into 1290 AM for full coverage of the game beginning at 5 pm.