by Nate Loop
The story all along for the Foresters this summer has been the excellence of their entire pitching staff. The starters have consistently locked down opposing teams lineups, and the relievers often offer little chance for them to get back into any sort of rhythm. This means that the Foresters often end up with victories like today’s, as they suffocated the Braves offense en route to a 3-1 victory, their fifth in a row.
On the mound for the Foresters today was John Beck, who was looking to rebound from a rough game last week against the San Luis Obispo Blues. He looked like he had regained some of his composure, and his solid start set the tone for the rest of the starting pitchers.
The Foresters opened their scoring account in the third inning, after leaving the bases loaded in the second inning with nothing to show for it.
Arby Fields reached first on essentially a swinging bunt, a little dribbler up the third base line that Braves starter Dylan Christianson was unable to handle. Richard Sanguinetti then singled, and Fields flashed his speed by making it all the way to third. Ryan O’Hearn then came up and singled into right field, scoring Fields, and reminding everyone in the stands their is a reason he remains firmly entrenched in the heart of the batting order.
Beck seemed to be crusing along just fine, but there was at least one Brave who refused to let the Foresters walk away easily with another win. Forest Smith absolutely hammered a pitch from Beck in the top of the fourth inning, sending the ball out to the foliage in deep centerfield, roughly 415 feet from home plate. The solo blast tied the game up at one run apiece.
Beck would only last five innings, and upon his departure, the game was still tied at 1-1. T.J. McGreevey came in and pitched a solid sixth inning, allowing just one hit, and kept the Braves at bay so the Sters had time to come up with another solid inning of their own.
The Foresters broke the deadlock in the sixth inning, with a Kaeo Aliviado double scoring Shane Hoelscher all the way from third base.
The Foresters added to their 2-1 advantage in the seventh inning. Fields, who had reached base with his second infield hit of the day, scored from third on a wild pitch by Christianson. The pitch actually went behind the batter, and Fields was safe easily for the Sters third run of the ballgame.
Each team kept on trading scoreless innings after that, and it was down to the ninth inning, with the Sters holding on to yet another slim lead.
Hunter Lemke, going for his fourth save in as many days, pitched a masterful ninth inning. He got the first two batters to strike out looking- on fastballs firmly planted in the outside corner of the strike zone- and then got Connor Duckhorn to tap out weakly to third for the final out of the game.
Dylan Christianson took the complete game loss for the Braves, an admirable effort considering the lineup he was facing.
McGreevey earned the win as he was the pitcher of record when the Foresters broke the deadlock. Albert Minnis threw two perfect innings between McGreevey and Lemke, striking out one.
Arby Fields led the Foresters on offense, as he went 2 for 4 with two runs scored and a stolen base.
The Foresters next game will be tomorrow at 5:10p.m. against the Southern California Halos, not the Bakersfield Braves as previously scheduled. After that, the Foresters final three games of the summer will be played against Team Vegas, which is a CCL opponent. So don’t miss your last chance to see the Sters until June 2013!