By Jim Buckley; photo by Eric Isaacs
Crooked numbers were the theme of Thursday’s 15-9 Foresters win over the Conejo Oaks. Santa Barbara scored in every inning but two, six players had at least one RBI, and the team scored multiple runs in five different innings. Santa Barbara took advantage of 10 walks issued by Oaks pitchers as well as five errors by Conejo fielders. As the Oaks putting up some crooked numbers of their own against the usually stalwart Foresters pitching staff, the ’Sters needed all they could get. The victory ended the 2022 series with the Oaks with Santa Barbara up 5 to 2.
The hit parade started early and never really stopped. In the first, Gavin Kash continued his assault on CCL baseballs with his ninth homer of the season, a three-run shot that opened the scoring in the first. Kash is now two shy of tying the single-season wood-bat record of 11 set in 2007 by Rebel Ridling.
Santa Barbara kept it up in the second. Josh Stinson led off with a double and came around to score soon after on a passed ball. The Foresters then loaded the bases with two outs, but they didn’t stay that way long. Griffin Everitt (pictured) ripped a two-out triple that cleared the sacks and made it 7-1 Sters.
The Oaks did not go quietly, though, scoring three in the bottom of the second when a Foresters error opened the door to a succession of hits and walks that turned into three runs by the time the dust had settled on the inning.
Starter Peyton Tolle was the unfortunate victim of that tough inning; in his three innings of work, he allowed four hits and four runs, but only one of those was earned.
In the fourth, Nate Rombach loved what Everitt had done so much, he did it himself—his two-out triple scored Kevin Bazzell, who had reached on an error, to make it 8-4.
In the fifth, Stinson drove in Hunter Ensley, who had singled and stolen second. After yet another Oaks error, Stinson came home on a single by Hudson White.
With the Oaks chipping away in the bottom of innings, the Foresters kept up the offensive pressure. In the seventh, a two-run homer by Miguel Santos—who had also homered in the CCL All-Star Game Wednesday night—scored Stinson as well and extended the SB lead to to 12-6.
After Conejo matched the Foresters pair in their half of the seventh, Santa Barbara re-established a big lead thanks to an Ensley single that scored Kash, and a Sebastian Orduno double that scored Ensley. A groundout by White scored Stinson in the ninth for the Foresters final run.
The Foresters hope for big home crowds on this final weekend of the 2022 season. Be at Pershing Park to watch the Foresters take on the Barons Friday at 6, the Riptide Saturday at 6, and the Blues Sunday at 2. Bring friends, and cheer the Sters on as they head off to Wichita for the NBC World Series.