By Taylor Jennings
Few teams win games in which they commit five errors. Then again, fewer teams boast a pitching staff as formidable as the Foresters.
Despite the quintet of miscues, four of which came in the first four innings, the Foresters held on for a narrow 4-2 victory in the opener of their three-game series in San Luis Obispo against the Blues.
The offense did just enough for Santa Barbara, while pitchers Isaac Coffey, Drake Greenwood, Brad Demco, Connor Woods, and Ryan Bergert combined on a three-hit masterpiece.
Blues’ starter Pierson Ohl had not allowed a run in either of his two appearances this season, but he ran into trouble out of the gate. Behind consecutive singles from Blake Hall, Jacob Katzfey, and Zach Presno, the Foresters jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the top of the first.
The ’Sters gifted a run back in the bottom half of the inning, as the Blues got on the board thanks to a pair of Santa Barbara errors. Leadoff man Ryan Cole reached on a fielding miscue from shortstop Tevin Tucker, stole second, and took third on a Connor Pavolony throwing error. Two batters later, Cole scampered home on a Taison Corio sac fly as the Blues cut the lead in half without recording a hit.
It was more of the same in the bottom of the 4th, when the Blues tied the ballgame up without a ball leaving the infield. A leadoff walk put Coffey in the stretch, and Julian Bury promptly scored from first when a Quentin Selma throw across the diamond from third skipped down the right field line.
Noah Huerta entered in the fifth, and once again, Santa Barbara went to work tarnishing a perfect ERA. Eric Kennedy continued his recent torrid stretch when he laced a one-out double down the first base line. Blake Hall followed with his second hit on the day, and just like that, the ’Sters reclaimed the lead.
Drake Greenwood relieved Isaac Coffey in the sixth, and the Foresters reliever immediately had traffic on the basepaths. A walk and two singles yielded nothing on the scoreboard, however, as Connor Pavolony cut down a would-be base-stealer to stymie the rally.
Santa Barbara added some insurance in the top of the ninth in the form of a Ryan Cash sac fly. It was a good thing they did, because the Blues refused to go quietly in the bottom half of the ninth.
A pair of walks and another fielding error loaded the bases against Foresters closer Ryan Bergert, but the West Virginia Mountaineer proved his worth yet again, striking out the side to slam the door.
Four Foresters recorded multi-hit games, including Eric Kennedy and Zach Presno. Both ’Sters laced doubles and stole a bag for the visiting team.
Santa Barbara returns to Sinsheimer Park in San Luis Obispo tomorrow. First pitch is scheduled for 6:00 pm; tune in to AM 1290 for all of the action.