Santa Paula holds off Foresters

After three early season trips to Santa Paula to face the Halos, the Santa Barbara Foresters finally hosted the California Collegiate League newcomers at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium on Wednesday, but lost 5-3.

BOX SCORE

A ninth-inning rally drew the Foresters closer to the Halos, but not quite enough for a win or to send the game to extra innings. Ben Johnson reached on an error and Joey Epperson joined him on the basepaths with a bunt single. With two outs, Austin Darby singled in both men to pull within two runs.

However, Jerry McClanahan’s drive to center was caught to end the game.

Recent Santa Barbara High School graduate Jeff Paschke was 3-for-4 for the Halos, upping his league-leading batting average to .426. Paschke has 26 hits in 21 games so far this season for the Halos

The Foresters struck first in the first inning, as Colt Atwood singled and came around on a pair of Halo errors, originating from a pickoff attempt by pitcher Allen Gwynn.

However, a Forester error by second baseman Garrett Mattlage set the stage for a four-run Halo third innings. After starter Parker French induced what looked to be a sure double play, Mattlage bobbled the ball and ended up with both runners safe. The Halos loaded the bases before Ryan Xepoleas promptly unloaded them with a two-run double.

An RBI groundout and a passed ball put the next two runs across as the Halos moved ahead 4-1.

French only pitched four and a third innings, leaving on the hook for the loss after allowing five runs, only two of which was earned. French allowed six hits during his time on the mound, striking out two.

Andrew Vasquez entered, striking out his first batter on three straight pitches before allowing a double down the line to score the last runner charged to French.

Entering for the sixth, seventh and eighth innings was Tejay Antone, who held down the Halos to allow the Forester offense to try to climb back into the game. Antone struck out three during his appearance. Louie Lechich pitched a scoreless ninth while striking out one.

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