On a day that the Foresters honored First Responders, it was left to Granger Studdard to respond last. The Sters’ RBI leader crushed a three-run walk-off winner with two outs in the bottom of the ninth to give Santa Barbara a dramatic 6-5 win over the Menlo Park Legends. Studdard had a total of nine RBI in the three-game series, giving him 38 for the year. Setting the table for his walk-off winner were John Holland and Matt Henderson, who each came through with tough two-out hits to set up Studdard.
It was a hot Santa Barbara day, but the Foresters bats were cold, as Menlo Park starter Erik Amundson did not allow a hit until Holland’s double in the sixth inning. He scored on a single by Henderson to tie the score at 1-1. The Foresters had a rough seventh as they tried to take the lead. Dillon Paul was picked off second and Michael Smith was caught trying to steal. Both calls were questionable, and after the second, manager Bill Pintard protested so vehemently, he was ejected. Then Menlo Park put up three in the top of the eighth.
However, the Sters battled back as David Greer drove in a Henderson and Holland with a single. After Menlo Park added a run in the ninth, that set up Studdard’s drama. He hit a 2-1 curveball the opposite way, driving it into the screen above the left-field wall. He rounded the bases in triumph as the fans erupted, and was surrounded by a dancing, bouncing, water-spraying band of Foresters.
The Foresters will enjoy two days off before starting a three-game series against the LA Brewers at Cypress College. Due to scheduling conflicts, the games will not be broadcast on the radio or online, but pitch-by-pitch GameCast action will be available starting shortly after each game begins at 1 pm Pacific time.—Jim Buckley