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Foresters Suffer First Loss in Home Opener

Santa Barbara’s bats go cold against Healdsburg Prune Packers

Foresters starter Connor Mayes delivers a first-pitch strike against the Healdsburg Prune Packers on Tuesday evening at Westmont College.
Foresters starter Connor Mayes delivers a first-pitch strike against the Healdsburg Prune Packers on Tuesday evening at Westmont College. (JC Corliss / Noozhawk photo)

Two runs off wild pitches and a base-running blunder proved too much to overcome for the Santa Barbara Foresters in their home opener at Westmont College’s Russ Carr Field on Tuesday evening.

Foresters leadoff man Kyle Isbel reaches second base after a double.
Foresters leadoff man Kyle Isbel reaches second base after a double. (JC Corliss / Noozhawk photo)

With only five hits mustered throughout, Santa Barbara suffered a 4-1 defeat in its California Collegiate League opener against the Healdsburg Prune Packers.

“The problem wasn’t the pitching tonight but the hitting, as our quality of at-bats were not what we wanted,” Foresters assistant coach Steve Schuck said. “We didn’t get timely hits and shouldn’t have been in a position where one mistake cost us the game.”

Connor Mayes (0-1) went five innings, giving up three hits and striking out five. However, the right-hander from the University of Texas surrendered three runs — two scoring on wild pitches. 

On the mound for the first time since his days at Santa Barbara High, Connor McManigal threw two innings of scoreless relief. Also seeing relief duty was Andrew Garretson, who allowed one run and two hits in two innings.

“I tip my hat to our pitchers as they kept us in the game and that’s all we can ask of them,” Schuck noted. “Despite not having thrown in a long time, McManigal did a good job and Garretson just showed up today and we threw him right in the fire.” 

The Prune Packers (7-1 overall, 1-0 CCL) were led by leadoff man Billy Wilson, who went 2 for 4. The outfielder from LMU also made his presence felt on the basepaths as he stole a pair of bases and scored two runs.

Mayes struck out five batters in his  five innings of work. Click to view larger
Mayes struck out five batters in his five innings of work. (JC Corliss / Noozhawk photo)

“Obviously, the tools speak for themselves, as he’s a very athletic young man,” said Healdsburg head coach Joey Gomes of Wilson, a Loyola Marymount product.  “Coming into the summer, I think he just needed some confidence, and it’s fun to watch him mature out there.”

Santa Barbara (2-1 overall, 0-1 CCL) got a notable contribution at the plate from Trevor Abrams, who went 2 for 3. Kyle Isbel and Bret Boswell combined for two hits and a run scored. 

“It’s always a great atmosphere having lots of people rooting for you and playing in front of our home fans,” said Isbel of playing for the Foresters. “Today, I was sticking to my approach and trying to get good pitches to hit.”

Despite getting leadoff hitters on base in four innings, the Foresters managed to score only one run on the day. 

“We had a great time playing out here but obviously it didn’t end the way we wanted,” Isbel added. “They were mixing up pitches and we need to stick to a better approach in order to do damage.”

Trevor Horn (2-0) got the win for the Prune Packers, allowing just three hits and one unearned run in five innings. Austin Scheiber picked up the save with a perfect ninth.  

“A lot of our kids don’t really know each other yet, so games like this one bring us closer together,” added coach Gomes. “We’re big on the synergy and you can’t win ball games without team chemistry.”

After Healdsburg scored a run in top of the first, the Foresters responded with a run of their own, when Boswell doubled and scored after Codi Santana’s ground ball was bobbled by Prune Packers shortstop Jake Scheiner. 

Healdsburg tacked on two runs in the fourth to take a 3-1 advantage and added a run in the eighth when Shiner smacked an RBI single to center field to score Wilson. 

Santa Barbara threatened in the bottom of the eighth, putting runners on second and third. The threat was diffused as Healdsburg center fielder Eli Oruna caught Colby Barrick’s fly and threw out Abrams at second base for an inning-ending double play. 

“It’s baseball and sometimes it rains or shines but it’s no big deal and we’ll clean up things tomorrow and take care of business,” concluded Schuck.

The two squads will face-off again today at 5 p.m. at Westmont.

— Noozhawk sports reporter Blake DeVine can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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