By Jim Buckley (Photo by Kylie Koeper)
It’s a longtime Foresters mantra: “Two-out hits win championships.” And while the ’Sters are not in line for a championship (well . . . not yet!), they used that mantra repeatedly in Sunday’s 8-5 win over Santa Maria. Five times Foresters players came up with two outs and men on . . . and five times they delivered, including three such RBI by C Noah Cardenas.
Clutch offense backed up a sterling five innings from starter Blake Adams (pictured), who did not allow a baserunner until the Soup got two hits in the fifth. Sean Mullen closed things out for the save.
Santa Barbara’s first run came through the first of the mantra-inspired hits. Cardenas continued his season-long timely hitting with a two-out RBI single to score SS Matthew McLain (who had three hits of his own in the game). In the second, CF Sean McLain reached on a dandy bunt hit that, joined with an error, put him on second. Jack O’Dowd did his job to move McLain over. With two down, Pat Caulfield beat out an infield hit and Sean M. scored run No. 2.
In the fourth, 3B Christian Encarnacion re-took the team lead with his seventh home run, a leadoff shot to center. Then DH Steven Zobac started a two-out rally with the first of three straight ’Sters hits and a walk. M. McLain drove in Zobac with one of those hits (did we mention it came with two outs?). When he stole second, the throw bounced far enough way for Caulfield to make it 5-0.
After a two-run homer by Jamey Smart pulled the Soup to 5-2, Zobac manufactured a run. He hit a leadoff double and stole third. The throw trying to nab him ended up in left field and Zobac trotted home. Later, the ’Sters got one more in the inning on another Cardenas two-out RBI. The Soup kept bubbling, though, scoring three in the seventh, helped in part by an untimely infield error by the Foresters. Cardenas got one of those back with his third two-out RBI of the game on a fielder’s choice in the eighth.
After the last day off of the season, the Foresters return to Pershing Park on Tuesday to play the Santa Paula Halos, a replacement game for a previously scheduled doubleheader vs the Lincoln Potters. So, one game only, 6 p.m. on KCSB.org/sports.