By the way the Foresters came out to play Saturday evening at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium, you never would’ve realized that the game was essentially meaningless. They had already been eliminated from their own Rawlings Cup tournament earlier in the week by the Conejo Oaks but the Foresters still responded with a commanding 8-2 victory over the Socal Halos.
“We’re always disappointed when we lose, especially in our own tournament,” head coach Bill Pintard said. “But like I said, the sun came up the next day and we had to get going.”
Backed by a strong pitching performance and a six-run 5th inning, the Foresters were able to overcome some sloppy defense and head into the all-star break with a win.
Jacob Felts and Ryan O’Hearn led off the bottom of the 5th with back-to-back singles before Halos’ pitcher Kyle Eaton gave up consecutive walks to Arby Fields and Luke Plucheck to give the Foresters a 2-1 lead. With the bases loaded, the next batter, Robert Vickers sent a ball to the left field wall for a bases clearing triple. He eventually scored on Kaeo Aliviado’s sacrifice fly.
The triple was Vickers’ only hit of the night but it cemented the win and tied him with Taylor Stell for the team lead in triples with two.
Pintard also singled out the pitching staff, Jacob Felts – who entered the game with a team-high batting average (.365) – and Richy Pedroza for their offensive and defensive performance respectively.
“We’ve been doing a good job taking advantage of our pitching. I really believe we’ll get it going,” Coach Pintard said. “Felts got going today, he had couple knocks. We pitched really well and only gave up two hits. Pitching has been our strong point this year. You win with pitching and defense and [Pedroza] can really play shortstop.”
He also downplayed Peter Cuomo’s errors at second base and attributed it to the lack of time he spends at that position. He normally plays shortstop for the Foresters.
“We made a couple errors but I’m okay with Cuomo – he hasn’t played 2nd base, he’s a shortstop by trade,” Pintard said.
The Halos made things interesting in the top of the 8th when relief pitcher Cody Dickson failed to hit the strike zone and walked the bases loaded with zero outs. Pintard went to one his all-star pitchers in the bullpen, Albert Minnis, who promptly struck out the next two batters. Although he walked Dominique Guevara to make it 7-2, Minnis got Farris to flyout to right field to end the comeback attempt.
In all, the Forester pitching staff combined for two total hits and two runs – although both were unearned. Nick Palewicz pitched two scoreless innings and got the victory for his fourth win of the season (4-1). He has thrown 31 strikeouts and incredibly, has only walked one batter all season. It is the type of pitching dominance that has characterized the 2012 Forester season.
The Forester’s next play at Conejo Oaks on July 12th at 5pm, but the Foresters will be represented by 13 players at the CCL All-Star Game on July 11th at the MLB Urban Youth Academy: IF Austin Davidson, LHP Cody Dickson, C Jacob Felts, OF Arby Fields, RHP Ian McCarthy, LHP Albert Minnis, IF Ryan O’Hearn, RHP Nick Palewicz, C Tyler Pearson, IF Richy Pedroza, OF Luck Plucheck, LHP Andrew Vasquez OF Cal Vogelsang.