Mustang-duel becomes Forester romp, 13-2

Mason RadekeWhat began as a pitchers’ duel between two Cal Poly teammates quickly developed into a one-sided slugfest as the Santa Barbara Foresters pounded the rival San Luis Obispo Rattlers 13-2 at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium on Friday.

Santa Barbara’s Matt Leonard pitched against fellow Mustang Mason Radeke, a former standout at Santa Barbara High who just finished a successful freshman season up in San Luis Obispo, and Leonard came out on top.

Radeke was solid, giving up two runs on five hits in five innings of work for the Rattlers, but Leonard tossed six scoreless frames of 5-hit ball.

“It was a little weird because we played against each other all year, so there was a little inside competition there,” said Leonard. “My change-up was working well and I was throwing a lot of fastballs in and out… The offense got a couple runs off of him so that’s what we needed.”

Coach Bill Pintard agreed.

“Radeke’s a good pitcher, and I thought our approach against him was good,” said Pintard. “We stayed in there and got a couple of runs off of him… We were beating him, and Leonard’s change-up was really good.”

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Once Radeke came out of the game trailing 2-0, it got downright ugly for the visitors as the Forester lumber broke out of its semi-slumber in a big way. Patric Tolentino cranked a two-RBI double off of reliever Danny Price of Westmont, and Jeremy Rathjen followed with a triple on the next pitch to drive in Tolentino and make it 5-0.

Price was relieved by Jared Levin – the San Luis Obispo High pitcher who knocked Santa Barbara High out of the CIF playoffs just over a month ago –  with one on and one out in the seventh and things got no better for the SLO bullpen. Levin immediately gave up a monstrous home run to James Wharton, and then Rathjen sent another missle over the left field fence for a three-run dinger before the inning ended with the hosts up 11-0.

Santa Barbara Beach Soccer Summer SlamThe Foresters (13-5, 5-2) had only hit one home run on the season before the outburst, and it was all the way back in the third game of the year when John De Alba knocked a two-run shot to right field in a win over the Santa Maria Packers.

“Both of them were bombs. They got way out of here and I think they were both over the screen (in left field) weren’t they?” pondered Pintard.

Rathjen, a lanky 19-year-old from Rice University, picked a good day to do it, as his parents were visiting all the way from Texas. He also passed along well-wishes to Hugs For Cubs kid Trent Gerke in the post-game interview, as Trent is currently undergoing cancer treatments in the hospital.

The Rattlers (15-6, 8-5) managed to score two late runs off of Ryan Gardener in the top of the ninth, and will no doubt be hungry for payback in Saturday’s game, which begins at 5 p.m. out at UCSB.

All games are broadcast on AM 1490 KIST and www.sbforesters.org.

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