By Patrick Hunter
Photo of Ryan Cash by Vic Neumann
The ‘Sters have accomplished a lot in the young summer season, so let’s recap. They have beat every team they have faced, thrown a combined no-hitter, won on a walk off strikeout, made a lot kids and fans happy, and the list goes on.
But after dominating the SoCal Catch 13-2 on Thursday evening, they added another impressive feat to the ongoing list: Every ’Ster that stepped foot in the batter’s box recorded a hit. All ten Santa Barbara batters had at least one base knock against a SoCal team with a fair share of capable pitchers.
While the outcome was a familiar sight for ’Sters fans everywhere, the first inning was far from it. For the second time in as many days, Santa Barbara found themselves in unfamiliar territory—trailing. However, the moment was fleeting, as the ‘Sters offense made up for lost ground shortly after the SoCal score.
Third baseman Easton Murrell drove in Chase Illig with a hard-hit line drive, and was brought home himself after catcher Kameron Guangorena hit a sacrifice fly to put the ’Sters up 2-1. Santa Barbara added needed insurance in the fourth inning. Tyler Hardman kicked off the inning with a single, one of his three hits on the day. Following consecutive bunt singles from Brandon Zaragoza and Logan Allen, Ryan Cash took a low fastball to the ankle, scoring Hardman and earning a painful RBI. Following another sacrifice fly, Santa Barbara built their lead to three runs.
A Catch homer in the sixth score closed to 4-2. But just as SoCal looked to regain some momentum, the Foresters halted them in their tracks. Michael Neustifter rocked a solo home run to left field to cushion the lead. If that shot didn’t show the resilience of the ’Sters, Guangorena’s two-run blast eliminated any concerns just two at-bats later. “I had fun. Did what I know I could do.” Guangorena said.
Leading 7-2, Santa Barbara erupted for a huge scoring barrage in the eighth and ninth. Parker Upton, recently subbed into the game, smoked a ball down the right field line for a triple that scored Logan Allen. Allen knocked in a run of his own in the ninth before sliding into home plate once more thanks to another knock from Parker Upton. When Murrell caught the final out along the third base line, the final score read 13-2, Foresters.
After allowing an early unearned run, starting pitcher Michael Hobbs settled into a nice rhythm, pitching five strong innings. The bullpen came in for relief, and per usual, made the opponent’s lives difficult. Coach Pintard varied his approach, alternating between right handed and left handed pitchers down the stretch. Matt Hartman, Brad Demco, James Notary, and Garrett Crochet pitched an inning apiece, and save for a leadoff homer allowed off of Hartman, they were flawless.
Throughout the game, whether they were trailing 1-0 after the first or leading 7-2 after the seventh, the mood in the Forester dugout did not falter once. Their camaraderie is evident, and as the win totals keep building, so does their bond. “That’s the great thing about this team. We don’t let a run defeat us and bring us down. It motivates us more to get that back.” Guangorena said. “When we get it back, we double it, triple it.”
The ‘Sters are back in action on Friday, June 22, where they will get a chance to battle the Catch on familiar ground at Pershing Park. First pitch is at 6pm.
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