Tolentino plays every position in Forester win

Patric Tolentino was a baseball nomad on Thursday, meandering around the field at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium like a Mongolian goat herder in the Gobi Desert.

The University of Nebraska-bound catcher eventually grazed the whole darn field, playing all nine positions in the Santa Barbara Foresters’ 2-0 win over the California Wahoo. The Foresters swept the 3-game series with a cumulative score of 22-2.

“We always mess around and I tell the coaches ‘hey, put me in at shortstop’ or ‘hey, put me in at pitcher’, and so we did it today and I just went out there and tried to have fun,” said Tolentino, who is normally a standout catcher.

It wasn’t the first time the Foresters have pulled the stunt. Kevin Frandsen, now a big-league infielder with the San Francisco Giants, did it in 2003 and Roberto Lopez accomplished the feat in 2006.

“It’s kind of a tradition. Every year we seem to have a guy that’s very versatile like Patric,” said Associate Head Coach Pat Burns. “Today was kind of a getaway day because we’ve been paying the same team for three days and (Manager Bill) Pintard’s out of town, so we thought we’d let the guys have some fun. It’s important because we grind so hard through the summer.”

Tolentino started at third base in the first inning and proceeded to move to shortstop, second, first, left field, center field and right before putting on the catcher’s gear in the eighth. With the Foresters hanging on to a precarious 1-0 lead heading into the bottom half of the frame, the team knew it would have to get an insurance run in order to allow Tolentino to pitch in the ninth (Burns said he would not have put him on the mound with a one-run lead).

BOX SCORE

Team captain Ryan Goetz came to the rescue, smashing a solo shot deep to right field to kick things off and end the day’s scoring.

Tolentino faced just one batter in the ninth, throwing a fastball that was fouled off before dishing out a nice-looking slider that was popped up to second base. Ryan Gardener came in to nab the final two outs.

“My third pitch was gonna be a knuckleball,” said Tolentino with a big grin.

While he said he was most uncomfortable in the outfield (“everything was so far away”), he had it pretty easy, as he didn’t have to make any plays defensively in the game — mostly because of solid pitching from starter Tim Kelley and a decent relief appearance from Chris Joyce.

Goetz was the big bat for the day, driving in both runs and falling a triple short of the cycle.

James Meador also had an experimental day defensively, catching the first eight innings. The reigning West Coast Conference Player of the Year out of the University of San Diego hadn’t played catcher since his freshman year in high school, but was advised to give it a try.

“I’m an average right fielder when it comes to the big-league level, so my coaches said I should try it out behind the plate. It was fun and I felt pretty good back there,” said Meador.

The Foresters (25-9) embark on an important 3-game road trip to face the CCL-rival San Luis Obispo Rattlers beginning with a 5 p.m. game Friday. All games are broadcast on AM 1490 KIST and www.sbforesters.org.

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