By Jim Buckley
It’s a Foresters mantra: Two-out hits win championships. On Tuesday, three two-out hits led to a three-run ninth inning that broke a 1-1 tie and gave the Foresters a 4-1 win over CCL South leader OC Riptide. Daniel Patterson, Eamonn Lance, and Will Rogers contributed two-out singles to give Santa Barbara its eighth straight win. The late offensive surge paid back a great outing by Foresters pitchers, who had 16 strikeouts, highlighted by starter Robert Cranz with 8 in three innings. It was the Foresters’ eighth win in a row and moved them into first place in the CCL.
An exciting, tense ballgame reached the climax in the top of the ninth. With two outs, Patterson laced a single up the middle. Kevin Michaels was hit by the first pitch he saw. Lance then smacked another single to center and Patterson sprinted home with the go-ahead run. PK Walsh ran for Lance and a wild pitch moved both runners up. Rogers then cemented the win with the third two-out hit of the night, driving in Michaels and Walsh.
The Riptide made it interesting in the ninth, putting two runners on in the ninth, but Blake Pivaroff got SB’s 16th K of the night to earn the save.
The Foresters had a chance to go ahead in the second, loading bases with no outs, but a 1-2-3 double play ended the threat.
Cranz mowed down the Riptide in his three innings, but they scratched across the first run on a base-hit RBI by Connor Maguire.
In the fifth, the Foresters and Ryan Black were robbed of a two-run double on a diving play by the RIptide rightfielder. Santa Barbara finally tied the score in the sixth when Max Balyeu knocked a sac fly to right to score Lance.
Zach Erdman, Hunter Watkins, and Mason Koch were scoreless picking up after Cranz before Pivaroff ended the game.
The same two teams play Thursday at Pershing Park on The Independent Night. First pitch 6 pm, or listen on AM 1290/FM 96.9 or online via sbforesters.org.