Fantastic pitching and timely hitting once again equaled victory for the Foresters in Wichita, 4–2 over the Casa Grande Cotton Kings. With a pair of runs in the top of the ninth, the Foresters snapped a 2–2 tie and sealed their second straight win at the NBC World Series. They now look forward to their next game in the winner’s bracket on Sunday evening against the Hutchinson Monarchs. The game time will be announced here on Saturday.
Foresters starting pitcher Cody Dickson was marvelous, striking out every Cotton King at least once amid a total of 11 Ks in 6 2/3 innings, while allowing only 4 hits and 3 walks. However, Casa Grande’s Tanner Tripp was almost as good, keeping the Foresters off the board for six innings, even as Santa Barbara left seven runners on base, including five in scoring position through the sixth. In the seventh, though, the Foresters finally broke through. A leadoff double by Shane Hoelscher, the hero of the final game of the regular season, was followed by a bunt single by Taylor Stell. Arby Fields, the aptly-named RBI hero from Wednesday, lined a double into right to score Hoelscher with the game’s first run. Pedroza followed with a sacrifice fly to score Stell and the Foresters were up 2-0.
In the bottom of the inning, however, the Cotton Kings answered. They scored a pair of runs on three hits. The first run chased Dickson and the second came on the first pitch delivered by reliever T.J. McGreevey. Albert Minnis closed down Casa Grande in the eighth (he picked up the win) and then the Foresters turned on the jets. Fields led off with a walk, and Pedroza followed with a bunt single. After a fielder’s choice moved Fields to third, Ryan O’Hearn’s bloop single to left scored Fields with the go-ahead run. After a walk to Robert Vickers, Tyler Pearson was hit by a pitch to add an insurance run. Hunter Lemke earned his team-record 14th save with a 1-2-3 ninth.Through 19 innings of NBC World Series play, Foresters pitchers have given up only two earned runs.
The game ended right at 2 am Wichita time, so the Foresters headed to a much-deserved day off before play resumes on Sunday. —Jim Buckley