Foresters celebrate draftees and a perfect week

The Foresters routed Neptune Beach Pearl 10-0 on Saturday for their fifth win in five days, but for manager Bill Pintard, there was something bigger than the wins.

The last three days have seen a total of 10 current and former Foresters taken in the MLB First-Year Player Draft.

“I’m like a proud papa,” an elated Pintard said after the game. “My phone has been blowing up, they’re all texting me. It’s like Christmas.”

Current Foresters John Beck and Shane Rowland were selected in the 15th and 20th rounds, respectively. Beck was picked up by the Colorado Rockies and Rowland was drafted by the Cleveland Indians.

Rowland, who leads the Foresters in RBI and walks, is batting .385 in six games this year.

“It’s definitely a dream come true,” Rowland said of being drafted. “I’m very excited. The Indians are giving me an opportunity to play and I’m going to take full advantage of it.”

Beck had not yet arrived in Santa Barbara, but he helped the Foresters to last year’s NBC championship. He posted a 2.11 ERA for the ‘Sters last year, and had 10 strikeouts over 6.2 innings in the 2012 NBC championship game.

“I’m going to lose him, but I couldn’t be happier for him,” Pintard said.

The Pittsburgh Pirates selected Beck’s 2012 teammate Cody Dickson in the fourth round. Dickson pitched his way to a 2.86 ERA with the Foresters in 2012.

“(Beck) pitched the championship game for us last year and Dickson pitched the semifinal game and now they get to live their dream,” Pintard said.

The Foresters, who currently hold a 7–0 record, will have to finish their season without Rowland’s leadership behind the plate and Beck’s strong arm. On Saturday evening, with Rowland out of the lineup, they showed they could do just that.

Rapping out 10 hits in the first inning alone, the Foresters offense took a 9-0 lead and never looked back. Austin Darby led the way, going 3-for-5 with 3 RBI on the day. Darby had two hits in the first inning, including a two-run single that put the Foresters on the board.

Thanks to a Ryan O’Hearn triple and a Ben Johnson single, the Foresters put up two more runs before the Pearl managed to record an out. They would go on to score five more runs in the inning.

“That first inning was just monstrous,” Pintard said. “There wasn’t one ball that wasn’t hit hard. Our guys were just locked in.”

The Foresters tacked on another insurance run in the fifth inning, and starter Drew Van Orden pitched 6 innings of two-hit baseball to keep the Pearl off the scoreboard. Jace James and Patrick Weigel combined to pitch a scoreless final three innings. James had four strikeouts in his two innings pitched, and Van Orden had seven.

“I think the whole pitching staff today did a really good job of getting ahead in counts,” Van Orden said. “We all did a really good job of throwing first pitch strikes and we were able to work on our offspeed stuff.”

Steven Reveles had a stellar all-around game for the Foresters. He went 2-5 with three runs scored and a RBI. Johnson and Keaton Jones also had multi-hit games for the ‘Sters, who combined for 13 hits on the day.

Eric Sapp, Michael Theofanopoul and Marquise Gill each had a hit for the Pearl. Theofanopoul also pitched two scoreless innings against the Foresters, striking out three and allowing just one hit.

Pintard expressed his excitement and support for the drafted players, despite the huge loss to his team.

“We have a saying around here that goes ‘Once a ‘Ster, always a ‘Ster,’ and today is graduation day for them,” Pintard said. “Is losing (them) going to hurt us? Yeah. Do we wish them well? You bet.”

Complete list of 2013 drafted Foresters (Current and former):
Jason Hursh, 1st round, Atlanta Braves
Cody Dickson, 4th round, Pittsburgh Pirates
Austin Kubitza, 4th round, Detroit Tigers
Jeff McNeil, 12th round, New York Mets
John Beck, 15th round, Colorado Rockies
Richie Pedroza, 17th round, St. Louis Cardinals
Jared Wilson, 19th round, Minnesota Twins
Christian Summers, 19th round, San Diego Padres
Shane Rowland, 20th round, Cleveland Indians
Albert Minnis, 25th round, Houston Astros