Santa Barbara High graduates Warrecker, True pitch Forester to victory in opener
Bryce Warrecker, a third-generation pitcher for the Santa Barbara Foresters, had a memorable debut during the team’s season opener on Wednesday night.
Warrecker, a Santa Barbara High graduate bound for Cal Poly, struck out five batters in two innings as the Foresters defeated the Inland Empire Pirates 12-3 at Pershing Park.
The game was the first official sporting event held in Santa Barbara since the COVID-19 pandemic shut down school competition in early March. It marked the start of Bill Pintard’s 26th season as the club’s manager.
UCLA made its mark, with starting pitcher Nick Nastrini getting the win by throwing three shutout innings with no walks. Matthew McLain, the Bruins’ All-America shortstop blasted a two-run triple and a two-run single, while Pat Caulfield, a former SBCC star now at UCLA, scored twice, knocked in a run, and stole two bases.
Oklahoma’s Christian Encarnacion added a solo homer run and a two-run single.
But Warrecker and Derek True, another former Don who played his freshman season at Cal Poly this spring, had the most dramatic performances on the mound.
True, who entered the game in the top of the sixth inning with the Foresters leading 6-3, walked two batters and gave up an infield single to load the bases with no outs. He followed that up, however, by striking out the next three Pirates.
Warrecker faced a similar situation in the seventh, giving up two singles on his first three pitches. But he got an unusual double play by striking out Hayden Winters and having catcher Noah Cardenas of UCLA pick off the runner at first base. Warrecker then struck out Jesse Villalobos to end the threat.
He struck out the side in the eighth inning on just 13 pitches.
His grandfather, former Santa Barbara High coach Fred Warrecker, was an original Forester in the late 1950s. His father, Wes Warrecker, pitched for the team in the mid-1990s.
The Foresters exploded for four runs in the second inning. Jace Jung, who went 2-for-3, got the first of his two RBIs with a single. An error scored Santa Barbara’s second run while McLain drove in the next two with his triple.
Encarnacion, a sophomore from Oklahoma State, increased the lead to 5-0 with his third-inning homer. He also scored three runs in the game.
Santa Barbara scored again in the fourth on McLain’s single for a 6-1 lead.
After the Pirates drew to 6-3 with a two-run fifth, the Foresters pulled away with a run in the seventh on Jung’s sacrifice fly and five more in the eighth. Encarnacion hit a two-run single and Peyton Graham capped the outburst with a three-run double.
The Foresters are scheduled to return to Pershing Park for 6 p.m. games tonight against the Santa Barbara Grizzlies and Friday against the Santa Paula Halos before playing their annual Fourth of the July Game on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. against the Bakersfield Blaze.