Foresters have tough 7th inning, lose third straight

SAN LUIS OBISPO — The Santa Barbara Foresters are still a couple of days away from the long bus ride to Wichita, but they’ve already run into a bit of a pothole.

No need to panic, however.

“Every team has to go through adversity at some point during the season, and we really haven’t gone through too many adverse situations,” said manager Bill Pintard. “Right now we’re experiencing that.”

The defending national champs lost their third straight game on Friday, falling to the San Luis Obispo Blues 7-0 in their final regular season away game.

BOX SCORE

It was a nightmare-ish seventh inning for the Foresters, who were struck out in order by hard-throwing Texas A&M righty Ross Stripling, who came on in relief for Kyle Hendricks. Hendricks struck out six and allowed just one hit through six before Stripling did the same in just three innings to close things out.

“Their pitching was outstanding and they played a good game. They just beat us today,” said Pintard.

The bottom half of the seventh was when things got really sticky, and the Blues’ Luke Yoder was the catalyst. Yoder was struck out by AJ Griffin but reached first base after the third strike got away from catcher Ryan Hege. The Blues (39-11) then laid down a sacrifice bunt and Griffin threw to second base to try and get Yoder but came up short. Another sac bunt followed, and Griffin again tried to get Yoder over at third base. Yoder beat the throw and the bases were loaded with no outs.

R.J. Etchebarren then hit a ground ball to first that was fielded by James Wharton. Wharton tried to throw out Yoder at the plate but sent it wide as two runs came in. Kevin Dickey came in to relieve Griffin (who gave up no hits in the inning) and allowed a two-RBI triple on the first pitch to Jake Atwell to make it 5-0.

Two more runs would score before Jeremy Rathjen stopped the bleeding with a diving catch in center field. Rathjen picked up both Forester hits in the game, both singles.

“I think in that inning we tried a little too hard. We tried to go for the great play instead of getting the outs, and when you do stuff like that it’ll snowball on you,” said Pintard. “You can’t force things in baseball.”

The Foresters (35-13) have two home games before heading to Kansas for the National Baseball Congress World Series in Kansas, both against the East L.A. Dodgers. Saturday’s game is at 5 p.m. and Sunday’s is set for 1 p.m.

The team will try to get some positive momentum before embarking and will also try to get healthy after a nasty stomach flu was passed around during the week.

All games are broadcast on AM 1490 and www.sbforesters.com.

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