By Matt Mitchell
After three losses to the Oaks, the Foresters turned the tables in a big way.
Santa Barbara (17-9) defeated the Conejo Oaks 11-1 Wednesday night at Sparky Anderson Field, earning some payback for three previous losses to the Oaks this season.
“It was really nice to see our bats come alive today,” Foresters manager Bill Pintard said. “Yesterday we had only four hits and didn’t get anything going and today we had multiple guys with three.”
Along with a season-high 15 hits, Santa Barbara got a sterling starting pitching performeance. Evan Lee was dominant, pitching six innings of shutout ball and striking out eight Oaks hitters.
“He was great out there today,” Pintard said. “He’s the kind of guy who smells the blood in the water and he attacks. He was dominant. It was just a dominant performance.”
Backing up Lee, Foresters newcomer Zach Humphreys, making his first start for Santa Barbara at catcher, got the offense going early with an RBI single to make it 1-0 in the second inning. Jimmy Galusky followed with a sacrifice fly to make it 2-0, and the Foresters never looked back.
The Forester barrage continued in the third inning. David Clawson, fresh off being named a CCL All-Star, hit a rocket over the right field fences to push the Santa Barbara lead to 4-0.
“My first at-bat, I got jammed,” Clawson said. “So I said, ‘That’s not going to happen again.’ and I focused on getting my hips squared up and my head down. The rest took care of itself.”
In the fifth, Santa Barbara kept it rolling. Chandler Bengston smacked a two-run RBI single with the bases loaded. Then Humphreys then delivered his second RBI of the night on a single to drive in Luke Ritter from third, making it 7-0. Humphreys finished the game 3-5 with a pair RBI in his first Foresters start.
“He was outstanding,” Pintard said. “He’s a good hitter and a really good receiver. He and [Evan] Lee were locked in.”
The Foresters big inning came in the seventh, as they capped off the route with four more runs thanks to a Joey Fiske three-run RBI triple and a Hank LaForte RBI single.
Conejo finally snapped the shutout with a run in the ninth after a pair of Oaks hitters reached base due to two errors coming with two outs. Nonetheless, Foresters reliever Colton Follett shut the Oaks down to secure the win.
The Foresters will resume action Thursday on the road when they take on the Ventura Halos. First pitch is at 5 p.m.