Kaplan’s blast helps power Foresters to 9-3 win

Lex Kaplan belted a pinch-hit three-run homer to lead the Foresters to a 9-3 victory over the South Coast Saints Saturday at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium.

Kaplan’s blast to right field in the bottom of the 8th inning broke the game open.

“Coming into the at-bat I knew (Saints pitcher James Mendez ) had a decent changeup. I worked to make it a full count and was able to put a nice swing on it” Kaplan said of the homer.

When asked if a dominant offensive performance like this can boost the team’s momentum, Kaplan stated, “Everyone on the team can play ball, we’re all top players in the country and we have to just keep the ball rolling and keep winning”.

Saturday’s game was a night to pay respect to Doug Reeves, who passed away earlier this year. Reeves was a longtime contributor to the Foresters, serving as a member on the Board of Directors and hailed as a volunteer extraordinaire due to his architectural work on Santa Barbara’s baseball fields.

The Saints were the first to strike off Forester starting pitcher Glenn Otto. Brian Polizzi walked and stole second and third. Elijah Skipps drove in Polizzi with a fielder’s choice to put South Coast on top 1-0.

Santa Barbara tied the score in the third off starter Matt Mogollan with an RBI single by Granger Studdard to bring home David Greer.

Jeremy Montalbano pulled the Foresters ahead with a two-run homer to left to make it 3-1.

The Saints responded with a two-run home run of their own in the top of the 4th off the bat of Bryce Peterson, knotting the score at 3-3.

Santa Barbara blew things wide open with a six-run 8th inning off James Mendez who came in to relieve Mogollon. Neslony kicked it off with a single to left to bring in Montalbano who led off the inning with a single.

UCSB’s Paddy O’Brien followed it up with a line-drive past third base to score pinch-runner Brandon Evans. Kaplan finished off the inning with his homer.

The Foresters finished with 15 total hits.

Right-hander Tyler Cohen got the win, allowing no runs, no hits, and getting three strikeouts over 2 innings of work.

Santa Barbara looks to sweep the Saints in Sunday’s Father’s Day game at 1 p.m.