Santa Paula, Calif. – The Santa Barbara Foresters defeated the Santa Paula Halos with an 11-2 beating Thursday night in Santa Paula as three Foresters—Lex Kaplan, Jeremy Montalbano, and John Holland—each had a pair of RBI.
The Foresters wasted no time in starting their offensive onslaught early in the first inning. Lex Kaplan had a leadoff single and moved over to second with a wild pitch followed by David Greer drawing a walk. Granger Studdard then shot a line drive single into left-center field to bring in Kaplan making it 1-0.
Santa Paula looked to be in trouble with runners on the corners for Jeremy Montalbano and no outs. Montalbano grounded into an around-the-horn double play but not before the ‘Sters got their second run in.
The Halos got back a run in the bottom half of the inning with after a fielder’s choice allowed Justin Toerner to score. A 6-4-3 double play closed out the first frame to make it 2-1 heading into the second.
The ‘Sters continued their attack with another leadoff base knock by Paddy O’Brien. In similar fashion, the next batter, Tyler Neslony, walked to put two men on again with no outs. After John Brontsema moved the runners over, John Holland drove both runners in with a drive into right field for a 4-1 score.
Three scoreless innings proceeded for both teams before the ‘Sters blew the game wide open to begin the sixth inning. Troy Conyers sliced a line drive up the middle and advanced to scoring position on a wild pitch. O’Brien received a free pass after a full count and the runners moved over with another wild throw by Halos pitcher Sam Sheehan. A Neslony walk created a bases loaded situation with one out for Brontsema, who ended up being walked as well.
With the bags jammed with Foresters, Kaplan pierced a hard-hit line drive single up the middle of the infield to bring home O’Brien and Neslony, making it 7-1. Greer picked up his own 2-RBI hit in the next at-bat. Studdard completed the six-run inning when he reached base on an error by shortstop Andru Cardenas, allowing for Greer to score.
Entering the eighth inning comfortably ahead 10-1, the ‘Sters tacked on one more run off Halo Landon Nealon. Greer’s leadoff two-bagger was not put to waste as Montalbano was able to get his teammate across home plate with a grounder to short.
Santa Paula collected their second run off Andres Nunez, making his Foresters debut in the ninth inning, after passed balls allowed Josh Heinz to score all the way from first base.
On the mound, the ‘Sters went through three pitchers that held the Halos to two runs and four hits. The starting pitcher, Willy Amador, threw five innings, struck out four batters and allowed three hits and two walks. Tylor Megill came in for relief and picked up six strikeouts over three innings with only one walk.
The win leaves the Foresters in first place in the CCL heading into a three-game non-league series against the South Coast Saints. After the opener on Friday at 5 pm, the Foresters invite you to make sure to attend a pair of special events this weekend honoring two members of the Foresters family.
—Saturday, June 20, 5 pm: Doug Reeves Night
Join Doug’s family and friends in honoring the late long-time volunteer and board member of the Foresters and Hugs for Cubs. Doug’s contributions behind the scenes were an invaluable part of the team’s success over the past decade and more. We miss him every game day.
—Sunday, June 21, 1 pm: Gary Woods Day
The longtime hitting coach for the Foresters, Gary was a baseball man through and through. Join the Foresters family for a special ceremony honoring his life and legacy before Sunday’s game.
By: Cindy Alamillo