By Jim Buckley in Wichita
After only scoring a single run in Game 1 of the 2019 NBC World Series, the Foresters bats woke up on Sunday in support of a great start by Luke Taggart. That dynamic duo led to a 6-1 victory over the Great Bend Bat Cats in Game 2. The Foresters wrap up pool play on Tuesday against the Gameday Saints from Colorado at 5:30 pm (SB time).
Taggart was simply incredible. After allowing three singles in the first for the Great Bend’s only run, Taggart thoroughly tamed the Cats. Taggart struck out two batters each in the second, third, and fourth, part of a string of five perfect innings. In fact, he retired the last 16 batters he faced and struck out a total of ten while walking no one.
“Before the game, I was excited, but once I got out there, I was actually a little nervous,” Taggart said. “But after they got those hits, I settled down and just stuck to focusing on one pitch at a time. The curveball and fastball were working today for strikeouts. And I hate walking people, so walking none was perfect.”
The Foresters bats backed Taggart starting in the second, when DH Zach Presno hit the second pitch he saw for a long home run over the left-centerfield fence. That added to his his team-leading seven for the summer. RF Blake Hall followed with a ground-rule double to right and bravely advanced to third on C Ross Cadena’s groundout to third! 1B Quentin Selma drove in Cadena with an infield single to deep short.
The Foresters added one more run in the third. Singles by LF Jacob Katzfey and a walk to Blake Hall loaded the bases and Cadena coaxed a run-scoring walk to make it 3-1.
Katzfey, of course, feels right at home at Wichita State and got his second hit of the night when he clobbered an opposite-field triple to score Tevin Tucker and Dru Baker, who had walked and singled. That made it 6-1, more than enough for the Foresters bullpen.
Newly added arm Carson Carter came on in relief of Taggart and gave up a hit to break the retired-batters streak at 18 but closed out the seventh with yet another strikeout. Clayton Beeter pitched a 1-2-3 eighth and hit 97 on the radar gun. Bradley Demco wrapped up the ninth by continuing his remarkable 0.00 ERA string.