By Matt Mitchell
On a special night at Pershing Park, the Foresters played some special baseball.
Santa Barbara (26-9) knocked off the San Francisco Seals 11-1 Saturday night, improving their season-best winning streak to 10 games. Trailing by a run midway through the game, the Foresters needed a rare come-from-behind effort to keep their steak alive on a night they honored Noah Scott. Scott, who was the Foresters’ Hugs for Cubs kid for the summer, tragically passed away last month after his battle with cancer. Tonight, the Foresters tried to honor his memory in one of the best ways they could: by winning.
“It was very awesome to have his and and his brother, Zach here,” Foresters manager Bill Pintard said. “I’m sure for a couple hours we got to help take their minds off the tragedy that just happened to them and let them enjoy some baseball.” A special Foresters thanks to BMW of Santa Barbara for providing the sweet ride that Zach took to the field to throw out the first pitch (pictured below).
Evan Lee got the start on the mound for the Foresters. Lee pitched five innings, striking out five and allowing only a run on six hits, but he found himself trailing 1-0 as he exited the game.
His teammates made sure he left with the win, however. David Hamilton got the Foresters on the board in the fifth with a hard-hit RBI double to center field. Hamilton then stole third, one of his two steals on the night, and Spencer Steer drove him home on a sac fly to deep center to give the ‘Sters a 2-1 lead.
“I thought a big part of the game was getting the hit-and-run going,” Pintard said. “Once we started getting going and running it just got a little contagious.”
After Daniel Vasquez relieved Evan Lee and got a shutdown top of the sixth inning, Santa Barbara added to the lead with four runs in their half. Blake Brewster drilled an RBI triple to drive in a pair. Joey Fiske followed with an RBI on what was controversially called a ground-rule double to make it 5-1. Hamilton then capped off the big inning with his second RBI of night on a single, making it 6-1.
“Sometimes you just get a little lucky out there and get a few bloops in,” Hamilton said of his nice two-strike hit to left. “It was a nice night for us at the plate.”
The Foresters had another big inning in the seventh, scoring five runs. Walker Grisanti singled in David Clawson from second base. Austin Todd, pinch-hitting for Brewster who had been ejected earlier in the game along with Pintard, then followed with an RBI double. After Joey Fiske’s RBI single, Hank LaForte ended the inning with bang. LaForte smashed the first pitch he saw over over the right field fence to make it 11-1.
With the game now well within hand after a slow start, Braden Pearson and Chris Fearon each pitched scoreless innings to finish off the game for the Foresters and secure the victory.
A night of remembrance and celebration of Scott’s life ended with the Foresters celebrating yet another win. Although baseball pales in comparison to any loss of life, tonight the Foresters were able to give the Scott family a reason to smile, at least for a while. The Foresters will always be there for the Scott family as we continue to keep them in our thoughts and prayers.
The Foresters will resume play tomorrow at 2 p.m. at Pershing Park for their second game against the San Francisco Seals.