By Lucas Armstrong
Two pitches decided the Foresters-Saints game Friday evening. One turned into a game-tying solo home run for the Saints in the top of the ninth, and the other was a wild pitch that sent Santa Barbara’s David Hamilton home with the Foresters’ third walkoff win of the season, 2-1.
Before the final-inning fireworks, the story was the pitching. For the second time this year, Foresters pitchers struck out 17 batters and walk none. Tanner Lawson set the tone early by striking out nine batters in the first four innings, including six batters through the first two.
“His breaking ball was outstanding,” Forestera manager Bill Pintard said. “He showed he doesn’t need the high velocity fastball to be effective.”
After both teams battled to a stalemate through six innings, Ryan Cash gave the Foresters the lead on an RBI single to make it 1-0 in the seventh.
Foresters fans thought they may have had the game won until a game-tying leadoff smash in the top of the ninth made it a whole new ballgame. After giving up the home run, Foresters pitcher John McMillon kept his composure and shut down any further Saints’ threat.
“He was very calm,” Pintard said. “I thought he could have come unraveled, but he didn’t. He kept his composure out there. The pitch he threw wasn’t right down the middle, so sometimes you just have to tip your cap to the batter.”
A wild bottom of the ninth inning for the Foresters began with a Zach Humphreys leadoff walk. David Hamilton, pinch-running for Humphreys, was bunted over by Jake Pavletich on an 0-2 pitch. After Jimmy Galusky reached base via an intentional walk, both runners were advanced by a wild pitch. One more wild pitch later and the Foresters won the game, as Hamilton scored from third.
“We’ve given up leads this way,” Pintard said. “It’s happened to us but we haven’t won one this way. Baseball has a way of evening itself out.”
The Foresters (19-9) will be back in play tomorrow for a double-header against the Ventura Halos. First pitch for the first game will be at 1:30 p.m.