By Blythe Hastings; photo by Eric Isaacs
Good old Pershing Park. As the Foresters played the final game of the summer season in front of a large group of fans at the ol’ ballyard, the gods of the grass smiled on Santa Barbara as the ’Sters bounced to a 2-1 win over the SLO Blues. Next stop: The NBC World Series in Wichita starting Friday, July 29, where the Foresters are the two-time defending national champs.
Will Pendergrass (pictured in an earlier game) delivered the game-winning hit in the eighth for the ’Sters. With Nate Rombach on first, Pendergrass drilled a twisting line drive to the right field corner. It looked like a simple double, but the ball took a lefthanded hop away from the Blues rightfielder, allowing Rombach to chug all the way home with the go-ahead run.
It was the highlight of an otherwise offensively challenged game, as both teams managed only a run apiece. The Foresters scored first in the second inning. After Gaving Kash was hit by a pitch, he made to second on a groundout and scored on Griffin Everitt’s solid single to right field.
The Blues answered in the third as a leadoff single and a walk put two men on the bags. A ball that kicked off the glove of Gianni Horvat at third for an error, saw the Blues tie it 1-1. And that was it until the eighth, in part due to another outstanding game by the Foresters pitching staff.
Starter Kyle Robinson went five strong innings, scattering five hits and a walk and allowing no earned runs.
Santa Barbara caught a break in the sixth when the Blues made a baserunning blunder. What would have been a sac fly to right turned into the final out of the inning, taking a run off the board, as the Blues runner from third was ruled out for leaving early.
Robinson then turned the game over to Alec Grossman, Jake Faherty, new acquisition Casey Dykstra, and Chase Webster. They threw four innings of nearly perfect scoreless relief.
Postgame, the Foresters thanked their fans with a tip of the cap and manager Bill Pintard promised to play hard and represent Santa Barbara back in Wichita. The team also thanked its Host Families, its amazing summer staff of young volunteers, the board of directors led by Christina Songer, and of course all our great sponsors, supports, and fans.
Stay tuned to this website and to our Facebook page for updates on the schedule for Wichita. All the games will be on a free YouTube livestream video, but we will also have a radio simulcast on AM 1290 and FM 96.9, as well as online via sbforesters.org/radio.
’Ster it up! Wichita, Kansas, here we come!