Foresters share California Collegiate League title

The Santa Barbara Foresters defeated Team Vegas 8-1 in the final game of the regular season to earn a share of the California Collegiate League title.

Both the Foresters and the San Luis Obispo Blues finished with a 24-12 league record.  This is the first CCL title for the Blues and the 18th for the Foresters.

After dropping the first two games of the series to Team Vegas, Santa Barbara took control of their final home game and routed the visitors.

Mitch Mormann (Wichita State) started the game for the Foresters and was immediately helped by Sportcenter-worthy plays from his defense.  After allowing a walk, Mormann gave up a base-hit to right field.  Outfielder Joe Wallace (UCSB) fielded the ball and fired a laser to third base to beat the Vegas base-runner who attempted to go first-to-third.  After tagging out the runner, third baseman Derek Legg (CSU Fullerton) flipped the ball over to second to complete a rare 9-5-4 double-play.

Not to be outdone by his fellow infielders, shortstop Shane Kroker (CSU Chico) fielded a ground-ball from the next batter bare-handed and threw to first to end the inning.

Mormann took over the game for the next six innings, finishing the day with ten strikeouts.  He pitched a total of seven innings and allowed just one run on four hits.

“It gives me a lot of confidence going into Wichita,” Mormann, said of his performance.  “I’m excited to go back to school and pitch in front of some of our fans in Wichita and bring home a title.”

Team Vegas starter Brandon Garcia (USC) was not fortunate enough to have the defensive performance that Mormann got from his team, and Santa Barbara broke the game open in third inning.  After Wallace and Jeff McNeil (CSU Long Beach) reached base on errors, James Wharton crushed a ball well over the left field fence for his seventh home run of the season.  Michael Ratterree (Rice) followed with a double, and was brought home on a base hit by Legg.

Garcia was pulled, but the Foresters continued to light up the scoreboard.  A triple from Jeff McVaney (McVaney) in the fourth scored a run, and another error from Team Vegas on a ground ball from Jared Womack (Oklahoma State) scored a run in the fifth.

Ian McCarthy (Oklahoma State) and Stephen Johnson (St. Edwards) each pitched an inning to finish the game, and neither allowed a run.

Brett Vertigan (UCSB) and McVaney both had RBI-singles in the eighth inning to push the score to 8-1.

By winning one of three games in the series with Team Vegas, the Foresters won their ninth consecutive CCL title.

Santa Barbara immediately boarded the team bus after the game and set off for Wichita.  They start the NBC World Series tournament on August 3.

All Forester games are broadcast on AM 990 KTMS and www.sbforesters.org.

GAME NOTES: The San Luis Obispo Blues become the second team other than the Foresters to win a CCL title… Pitcher Austin Kubitza had a pinch hit single in Sunday’s game which was his only hit of the season… The Foresters have four players on the Wichita State baseball team who will be returning to Kansas for the World Series (Mormann, TJ McGreevy, Garret Bayliff, and Albert Minnis).

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