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Baseball

Foresters Count Down to Opening Day, First Home Games at Westmont

The 2015 Foresters set an all-time club record with an .833 winning percentage, losing only seven games in the regular season.
The 2015 Foresters set an all-time club record with an .833 winning percentage, losing only seven games in the regular season. (Foresters Sports Information)

Nothing means summer like baseball! The five-time national-champion Santa Barbara Foresters kick off another family-friendly summer season with a pair of games at San Diego this week, playing locally for the first time in 2016 at Westmont College June 7, 8 and 9.

Bill Pintard has led the Foresters to more than 850 wins and five national championships in his 20 seasons in charge.
Bill Pintard has led the Foresters to more than 850 wins and five national championships in his 20 seasons in charge. (Foresters Sports Information)

Later this summer, the Foresters will play a pair of games against Team USA, the national team that represents the country in international competition. One of those games, on June 28, will see the Foresters play at Dodger Stadium for the first time.

“We’re looking forward to our upcoming season and can’t wait to get started,” said manager Bill Pintard, who starts his 21st season as the team’s skipper, continuing a career that has landed him in the National Baseball Congress World Series Hall of Fame. “Our two games with Team USA will be a great event for our community, both on the road at Dodger Stadium and then here at home on June 29.”

But first, the Foresters welcome local fans new and old to a trio of games at Westmont College. Foresters’ opener at their usual home at UCSB is set for June 14 against the Ventura Halos.

The complete schedule is available at www.sbforesters.org. Once again, the Foresters can be heard locally and online via AM 1290 KZSB, beginning with the June 7 game at Westmont versus the Healdsburg Prune Packers.

The Foresters season will also include a number of events for the team’s Hugs for Cubs childhood cancer support program. A surf day, a visit to a Los Angeles Angels game and bowling nights at Zodo’s, along with several events at Foresters games, are all planned for this season.

This year’s Foresters team has a lot to do to match last year’s, which set a club record with an 0.833 winning percentage (that’s just seven losses, folks!). The 2016 edition returns as many as a half-dozen players from last year’s outstanding team.

Returning pitcher Cody Crouse is part of a very deep and talented pitching staff for the Foresters. Click to view larger
Returning pitcher Cody Crouse is part of a very deep and talented pitching staff for the Foresters. (Foresters Sports Information)

Garrett King, who won the Eric Pintard Award as the team’s top pitcher, returns, as does former Santa Barbara High star John Brontsema and slick-fielding infielder Matt Henderson, the 2015 Foresters MVP.

Veteran hitters Bret Boswell and Lex Kaplan are also slated to return and continue the Foresters’ winning tradition.

Early in the season, several Santa Barbara City College and Westmont College players will also appear for the Foresters as out-of-town regulars finish up their college games and classes.

The Team USA games in late June are considered quite a coup for the Foresters.

In 2015, 12 players in the Major League All-Star Game were alumni of Team USA, including Kris Bryant, Max Scherzer and David Price. Famous names from past Team USA squads include Kevin Brown, Will Clark, Nomar Garciaparra and Todd Helton.

In addition, several Foresters players of the past saw time with Team USA, including pitchers Cody Martin and Riley Ferrell.

The Foresters have an outstanding relationship with Team USA, having played them at the NBC World Series as well as met them at their former home in Tucson.

Local fans will remember John Brontsema from his MVP days at Santa Barbara High School.
Local fans will remember John Brontsema from his MVP days at Santa Barbara High School. (Foresters Sports Information)

“These are some of the very best players in our nation, with many on their way to the Major Leagues,” Pintard said. “We’re excited by the challenge and pleased that our fans will have a chance to see this great team.”

Additional information about the Team USA special events, including news about fan buses to Dodger Stadium, will be available on the Foresters website soon.

Once again, all games can be heard live on the radio on KZSB, AM 1290, as well as online via a link on the home page of sbforesters.org.

Fans can find information about season passes for individuals, couples and families at the team’s website at www.sbforesters.org. For more information, contact the Foresters at [email protected] or 805.684.0657.

Jim Buckley is a longtime Foresters volunteer and board member.

 
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