By Kian Karamdashti
A game full of missed opportunities was almost instantly forgotten when Benjamin Martz delivered a 10th-inning, game-winning, walk-off single with the bases loaded, making Santa Barbara a 4-3 winner over the CCL-rival Conejo Oaks. After falling behind early 3-0, the Foresters (3-0) squandered numerous chances to climb back from the deficit. Then in the eighth, the big blow came in the form of a huge, two-run, game-tying homer by catcher Ross Cadeena.
Staring pitcher Cole Quintanilla was chased after three innings and after allowing Ramon Gomez’s two-run single and Trent Mackinney’s solo homer. However, those would be the only three runs the Foresters gave up all day as the Foresters’ bullpen threw seven straight scoreless innings with only two hits allowed the rest of of the way. The firemen recorded 11 of the ’Sters 15 strikeouts.
“Quintanilla, you know, wasn’t himself today. He gave up a few but only two were earned, we gave them the other,” said manager Bill Pintard. “Our pitching overall has been outrageous. I’m seeing guys throw for the first time and I’m really pleased.
“Missed opportunities” seemed like it was going to be the theme of the day for the Foresters, as they left runners on base in nine of the game’s 10 innings. The two opportunities in particular that seemed would come back to haunt the ‘Sters were a bases-loaded double play that ended a potential fourth-inning rally and Eric Kennedy getting picked off first in the eighth.
“We missed a lot of chances early on but we eventually took advantage,” said Pintard. “We want our players on base. The more players on base, the more havoc there is.”
“We just kept going. This club’s resilient,” said Cadena. “We couldn’t get phased by the missed chances and just had to continue playing the game of baseball.
The dam finally broke in the bottom of the sixth when a Kennedy steal was followed by a Tommy Holguin single. Holguin has had a hot start, reaching base in seven of his 10 plate appearances in three games. The ‘Sters completed the comeback in the eighth as Cadena came through with a two-run shot on an 0-2 curveball to left to tie the game heading into the final frames.
“I got two questionable strikes on the first two pitches. I didn’t let it phase me,” said the Wichita State University junior. “He left a curveball up and I was able to make good contact.”
The Foresters were able to grind out the win in the bottom of the tenth behind a walk by Blake Hall, and “sacrifice” bunts by Cadena and Holguin went for singles. That left the bases loaded with no outs for pinch-hiter Martz, who took care of business with a single.
“Those were not straight sacrifices, we wanted those guys on base,” said Pintard about the final frame. “Tommy (Holguin) and Cadena have been perfect. For him (Cadena) to hit a bomb and then lay that bunt down is something. Holguin has been great on both offense and defense. He was supposed to just be a fill-in but he’s going to stick around for a while. He’s a baseball player who grew up in a baseball family, he knows the game.”
The Foresters will look to stay undefeated with their first road game, against Conejo Oaks on Tuesday at 4:30 P.M. Live radio coverage will begin at 5:00 pm on AM 1290 or on newspress.com.