Foresters offense explodes for 13-3 victory

Hitting coach Gary Woods said before Saturday’s game the the Santa Barbara Foresters have had holes in their bats recently.

Those holes were plugged up once things got going against the visiting Academy Barons, as the defending national champs collected 14 hits to demolish their California Collegiate League foes 13-3.

“I guess everyone was just seeing the ball well today,” said a subdued James Wharton, who has been a standout at first base this season. He drove in four runs on the day all by himself, including a big two-run triple that brought in Matt Valaika and James Meador in the fourth inning.

Westmont righty Time Crabbe retired the first 10 Barons he faced in the start and pitched a one-hit shutout through five innings before giving way to Matt Evers, who was similarly stingy, giving up one hit through three innings.

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The win came a day after an extra-inning loss to the Barons down in Compton in which coach Pat Burns said that the Foresters were “underachieving” so far this season.

“It was a welcomed sight for us because we got some two-out hits today and we squared up a couple of fastballs. That was great to see because we’ve won a lot of close games where our pitching has had to be perfect,” said coach Bill Pintard.

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After Wharton’s single, Cal State Fullerton pitcher Kevin Witten came in to relieve Barons starter Jarrett Malloy. Witten, a well-known prospect who throws upwards of 93 mph, was tagged for an RBI single by Santa Barbara’s Ryan Hege on his very first pitch.

“Hege just came up and turned on a fastball and spanked it, and it gave the rest of the guys confidence the rest of the way,” said Pintard.

The Foresters absolutely exploded in the sixth inning after consecutive one-out doubles by Zach Chavez and Casey McMurray, as Santa Barbara scored six in the frame to put the game completely out of reach. Chavez went 2-for-3 with two runs scored and Valaika scored thrice.

Santa Barbara (10-3, 3-2 CCL) heads back down to Compton on Sunday for the rubber match of the series, with game time set for 5 p.m. All games are broadcast on AM 1490 KIST and on www.sbforesters.org.

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