Foresters raise their seventh NBC championship banner, pull off 1-0 victory on Opening Day at Pershing
Summer in Santa Barbara is supposed to be chill — walking the beaches in flip flops, listening to the waves crash and generally taking a load off.
No one told Dylan Kelley that.
He interrupted Santa Barbara’s zen with a good-sized bark after escaping a bases-loaded jam unscathed in the seventh inning of the Santa Barbara Foresters’ season-opening 1-0 semipro baseball victory over the San Diego Waves at Pershing Park.
“Summer ball is supposed to be loose, it’s supposed to be relaxed, but once you step in between the lines, it’s game time,” said Kelley, an SBCC standout and longtime Junior Foresters player.
“You have to show up. You have to show your X-factor. That pushes you to perform.”
Forester manager Bill Pintard was likewise pumped to see Kelley’s fire on the hill.
“He went out there and showed some emotion,” Pintard said. “Got into a bit of a jam, but challenged the hitter, made a big pitch and won the challenge. That’s great to see.”
And while many times the pitching will catch up to the hitting later in the summer, the Forester pitching staff showed early season dominance, with five pitchers giving up five hits and two walks, while striking out seven.
Starter Garrett Clarke was slated to go only two innings, but kept his pitch count down and was able to work four innings, giving up two hits and striking out three.
“I thought our starter was outstanding, he worked out of some jams,” Forester manager Bill Pintard said.
Bishop Diego grad and future Westmont hurler Gabe Arteaga worked two innings of one-hit ball, while Drake Greenwood came on in the eighth to pick up the win and Conner Woods worked the ninth for the save.
“Gabe was hitting his spots, his fastball was sneaky quick,” Pintard said. “Woody played with us last year and came in and cleaned it up. I was really pleased with the pitching.”
It took stellar pitching to allow the Forester bats to come around.
SBCC product Tommy Holguin opened up the bottom of the eighth with an infield single up the middle, moving over one pitch later on a passed ball. While a little against normal Foresters style of play, Cameron Bogard bunted in an attempt to move Holguin over, but ended up legging out a single while Holguin moved to third.
Ryan Cash would lift a fly ball into right field to score Holguin and rid the scoreboard of goose eggs.
“It feels good, it’s been about a month since our season ended (at SBCC),” said Holguin, who collected two of the Foresters four hits.
“These guys won a title last year, so you want to get back into that mindset and get after it in this first game.”
The Foresters raised their seventh National Baseball Congress championship banner before the game — something not lost on Kelley, who still is in awe of putting on a Forester uniform for the first time.
“I came to so many games (as a kid), it’s kind of surprising to have this uniform on. It feels great,” Kelley said. “It’s kind of weird to wear these (uniforms), but it feels right.
“(Pintard) called me up and asked if I wanted to play with the Foresters. I told him that I don’t think there is any opportunity where I’d say no.”
The Foresters host the Waves again today, with first pitch slated for 6 p.m. at Pershing Park.