What do you do when you’re down by four runs? Go for two . . . repeatedly. The Foresters strung together a trio of two-run innings to come back and defeat the Walnut Creek Crawdads on Sunday, 7-6, to complete a series sweep.
Also, a special thanks to BMW Santa Barbara Auto Group for a wonderful Hugs for Cubs Day. Lexi and Sam enjoyed a ride in a beautiful BMW convertible that delivered them to the mound, where Sam threw out the first pitch . . . for a strike! (see below)
After scoring two runs in the fourth and fifth, Santa Barbara still found itself trailing by two entering the sixth. In that frame, the Foresters were able to capitalize on some exciting plays. With DH Tyler Neslony on first, third baseman John Holland attempted a bunt that rolled directly on top of the foul line. As the Crawdad players all watched to see if the ball would go foul, Neslony was aggressively able to take third. It paid off as he was immediately driven in by a sacrifice fly by Bret Boswell, tying the score at 6-6. The Foresters were rewarded for aggressive base running when Holland stole second and kept on going to third as the pitch skipped away for a wild pitch. A booming double by left fielder Michael Smith (pictured sliding) easily scored Holland and gave the Foresters the 7-6 lead, which the bullpen made stand up.
Earlier, first baseman David Greer helped the Foresters answer back from an early 1-0 deficit in the bottom of the first, with a solo home run to left field, part of a 3-for-3 day for Greer.
In the third inning, the Crawdads took advantage of two Foresters errors and got to reliever Parker Joe Robinson for four runs, jumping out to a 5-1 lead.
In the bottom of the fourth the Foresters started their comeback. David Greer again paced the team, leading things off with a walk. He was promptly doubled in by right fielder Lex Kaplan. After Kaplan moved to third, he came home on a sacrifice fly by Tyler Neslony that trimmed the Crawdad lead to 5-3.
In the bottom of the fifth, Ryan Chandler singled and stole second. This set up Greer, who delivered again, this time with an RBI single. Lex Kaplan followed with another RBI single of his own, tying the score at 5-5.
The Crawdads retook the lead a run in the sixth when a bases loaded bunt went for a hit. However, Forester reliever Tyler Cohen was able to work out of a jam and minimize the damage.
Dalton Brown closed out the game in the ninth, sealing the win for Cohen and the Foresters. The Foresters will be back in action Tuesday at the Santa Paula Halos before returning home to host the California Cup July 2-5 at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium. — Ryan Riffenburgh