By Jim Buckley
Spectacular pitching has been the strength of the Foresters all season and it was no different in Game 1 of the NBC World Series. Behind a sterling start by Nick Palewicz, the Foresters came back to beat the Austin Gold Sox 2–1 in 10 innings. Arby Fields drove in both of the Foresters runs in a tense pitcher’s duel. With the clutch win, the Sters advance to play Friday against the Casa Grande Cotton Kings. The game is scheduled to start at 8 pm Santa Barbara time, 10 PM Wichita time; check back for updates.)
Palewicz (below from earlier in season), who gave up just three hits, a walk, and no earned runs in eight innings, was just one of two outstanding pitchers in the game, as Gold Sox starter Jordan Stewart kept the Foresters from getting a hit until the seventh. In all, Stewart gave up only one hit and three walks, along with a hit batter while bottling up the Sters for eight innings.
The Gold Sox scratched out the first run of the game in the fourth after a pair of Foresters errors put runners at the corners. On a squeeze bunt, Austin’s Ragan Pope clawed across for the game’s first run, even though Palewicz, that man again, made a fine play on the bunt to make it a close play at home.
Santa Barbara scratched back in the sixth, scoring a run without benefit of a hit. Shane Hoelscher reached on a walk, then stole second even though the Gold Sox had tried to backpick him on the play. After advancing to third on a groundout, he came home on a sacrifice fly by Fields.
Austin threatened again in the eighth, but a heads-up play by shortstop Richy Pedroza ended the inning. Pedroza cut off Taylor Stell’s throw following a single and tagged out a shocked Austin runner who had taken too big a turn around second.
After reliever T.J. McGreevey got the Gold Sox on four pitches in the ninth, the Foresters finally broke the tie in the tenth. Pinch-hitter Robert Vickers worked a walk after facing a 1-2 count. Newly acquired speedster Weston Hall pinch ran and promptly stole second base on his first pitch in a Sters uniform. After Hoelscher sacrificed Hall to third, Fields rammed a line drive off the pitcher’s glove and beat out an infield hit. Hall scored to give the Foresters their first lead of the game.
Hunter Lemke (pictured above) closed the door on Austin in the ninth, earning his 13th save of the season, which sets a new Foresters record.
The Foresters will have a hard-earned day off Thursday before returning to the field on Friday.