by Nate Loop
The Foresters have treated their fans to alot of free baseball over the past couple of weeks, and they weren’t done giving just yet. It took the Sters 10 innings to finally wrap up their series sweep of the Los Angeles Brewers, as they came away with a come from behind 4-2 victory.
The starting pitching matchup featured a rematch of college teammates from the previous series between these two squads. It was Gaucho vs. Gaucho, with Andrew Vasquez taking the mound for the ‘Sters and Jared Wilson getting the nod for the Brewers.
The Brewers scored a run in the first inning due to an error by Richard Sanguinetti, playing his first game of the summer at first base. Cameron Walker singled into the outfield with Travis Clark on first. As Clark moved to third, Walker rounded to try and take second, but the throw back to the infield had him caught in a rundown, Sanguinetti, being immediately put to the test, looked to throw down to third to keep Walker from scoring. However, his throw sailed wide of third baseman Shane Hoelscher, and Walker scored anyways for the early 1-0 lead.
The Brewers added a run in the fourth on an RBI single by Joey Bielek. Vasquez would be done for the game after this inning, giving way to Jason Hursh in relief for an inning of work.
The Foresters didn’t break through for a run until the fifth inning. Arby Fields led off with a double, then was moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Cal Vogelsang. Wilson, who had been pitching on cruise control until this point, couldn’t stop Hoelscher from hitting a sacrifice fly deep enough to score Fields and cut the Brewers lead to 2-1.
The Foresters bullpen did a fine job of shutting down the Brewers, continuing Vasquez’ strong performance. This allowed the offense time to tie up the game, and they finally did so in the top of the 8th inning.
The Sters had Taylor Stell on third and Peter Cuomo on first with nobody out, the best spot they had been in against Wilson all day. Wilson showed off brawn and brains, getting Plucheck to strike out swinging and then picking off Cuomo at first base. Just when it looked like the Sters might waste their best opportunity to tie the game, Wilson gifted them the tying run, bouncing a pitch to Sanguinetti that allowed Stell to score from third.
Both teams went down quietly in the 9th, setting up extra innings. T.J. McGreevey pitched a solid two innings in the 8th and 9th, and Ryan Sandler did well picking up the pieces for Wilson.
The Foresters didn’t want to waste anymore time getting back to Santa Barbara, and got down to business in the top of the 10th inning. Hoelscher led off with a walk and moved to second on a sac bunt by Stell. Cuomo then hit a sharp grounder to short and beat out the throw for an infield single, setting up runners on the corners with one out.
Nick Melino, pinch hitting for Plucheck, may have proved he is too strong to bunt, as his attempt was popped up all the way out to the first baseman Josh Fuentes. Hoelscher, who had been running on the pitch, was stranded well off of third base. Fuentes noticed this and fired to Clark at third, hoping for an inning ending double play, but Clark let the throw bounce out of his glove, the ball dribbling towards the grass in left field, and Hoelscher thanked his lucky stars as he crossed home plate for the go ahead run. Cuomo also moved to second on the play.
Sanguinetti then gave the Sters some breathing room, as he came up and promptly hit a line drive single that scored Cuomo, making the score 4-2 in favor of the Sters.
Pintard called upon Hunter Lemke to come in for his second save opportunity in as many days, and as usual, Lemke delivered, notching a strikeout on his way to quick 1-2-3 inning, notching his 8th save of the summer and delivering the series sweep for the Sters.
The Foresters (27-14, 17-10) are now just one game back of the San Luis Obispo Blues, with three league games left in the season. The Foresters will return to action Tuesday at 5:10pm for their first of three games against non-league Bakersfield Braves. After the conclusion of that series, the Sters host Team Vegas in their final three games of the regular season before heading off to Wichita, Kansas for the National Baseball Congress World Series.