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Foresters Fall to Team USA at Dodger Stadium

Santa Barbara puts forth valiant effort during 10-6 defeat to U.S. Collegiate National Team

The Santa Barbara Foresters square off with Team USA on Tuesday June 28th, 2016 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.
The Santa Barbara Foresters square off with Team USA on Tuesday June 28th, 2016 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. (JC Corliss/Noozhawk photo)

LOS ANGELES – Playing against the U.S. National Team at iconic Dodger Stadium was quite a grand stage for the Santa Barbara Foresters on Tuesday afternoon. 

Santa Barbara’s Dylan Paul slides past Taylor Walls of Team USA on Tuesday afternoon at Dodger Stadium.
Santa Barbara’s Dylan Paul slides past Taylor Walls of Team USA on Tuesday afternoon at Dodger Stadium. (JC Corliss/Noozhawk photo)

CHECK OUT PHOTO GALLERY OF THE GAME

Not to mention the fact there were nearly 100 pro scouts on hand to observe this world-class display of talent, Santa Barbara might have been a bit star-struck heading into the highly anticipated contest. 

Team USA put on an impressive display of offense while getting out to an early 8-0 advantage after the third inning.

However,  the 'Sters battled back to make the ballgame competitive before eventually falling 10-6.

“They showed tremendous character today and never gave up while grinding out at bats,” Santa Barbara coach Bill Pintard said. “Even though we lost, there’s a lot of bright spots that our guys took out of this game.” 

The Foresters (14-6) were once again led by leadoff hitter Kyle Isbel, who went 2 for 3 with two runs scored. Also contributing nicely to the offense was former SBCC star and current Florida State player Matt Henderson, who went 1 for 3 with two RBIs. 

“Our guys are tough players and just kept battling while staying patient at the plate,” added coach Pintard. “We did a great job considering that we were down by eight."

Team USA got a solid performance at the plate from Jeren Kendall. The Vanderbilt center fielder went 2-3 with a home run, three RBIs and a run scored.

"He’s an awfully gifted guy that has an exceptional skill set,” commented U.S. manager George Horton of the University of Oregon. “After his first at-bat I teased him a little bit, told him: ‘Hey, we didn’t bring you here to bunt' and then he went out there and hit a homer.”

Foresters starter Connor Mayes delivers a pitch during a 10-6 defeat to Team USA on Tuesday June 28th, 2016 at Dodger Stadium. Click to view larger
Foresters starter Connor Mayes delivers a pitch during a 10-6 defeat to Team USA on Tuesday June 28th, 2016 at Dodger Stadium. (JC Corliss/Noozhawk photo)

Also making an impact for the Team USA’s potent offense was Evan White, who went 4 for 6 with two runs batted in and a run scored. KJ Harrison and Brendan Mckay combined for four hits, three RBIs and three runs on the day. 

“We have great respect for the Foresters,” noted coach Horton. “They’re a very competitive team and to be able to pull out a win, we’re OK with that.”

The U.S. scored their first run in the second after an RBI single from Harrison allowed McKay to score. Kendall then ignited an offensive explosion in the third, smacking a first-pitch fastball from Santa Barbara starter Connor Mayes into the right field bleachers for a 3-0 lead. 

The next five USA hitters batters reached base with four consecutive singles and a walk off the right-handed Mayes, who surrendered seven runs off seven hits.

Team USA’s Brendan McKay strolls past Santa Barbara catcher Brian Bussey for a score during the second inning on Tuesday afternoon at Dodger Stadium.
Team USA’s Brendan McKay strolls past Santa Barbara catcher Brian Bussey for a score during the second inning on Tuesday afternoon at Dodger Stadium. (JC Corliss/Noozhawk photo)

“I wouldn’t necessarily categorize that as a total team effort although we did enough offensively,” assessed Horton.“We relied on our talent as we’re still trying to put our system in place."

The Foresters bullpen stepped up big while limiting Team USA to just two runs. The relief combination of Cody Crouse, Blake Smith, Sean Chandler and Austin Blessing went 6 1/3 innings while striking out four batters.  

Trailing 8-0, Santa Barbara responded with three runs of its own in the top of the fifth. With the bases loaded, Henderson cashed in with two-run single. Later in the inning, Evan Cassaloto had a RBI groundout to score Brian Bussey

“Their guy was throwing hard and I was trying to stay away from offspeed pitches that I may have been fooled on,” Henderson said. “I was just looking for something straight and luckily I was able to came out on top.”

In the sixth, the 'Sters offensive kept rolling when Dylan Paul stole home. This was followed in the next inning by a sacrifice fly from Hunter Williams, which allowed Isbel to reach home and trimmed the deficit to 8-5. 

Nevertheless, the U.S. extended their lead during the home half of the seventh with three straight hits and another run. After a run-scoring double play from TJ Friedl, Team USA took a 10-5 advantage.

In the top of the ninth, former Forester Glenn Otto found himself himself in a peculiar situation, trying earn the save against his previous summer league team while trying to earn a spot of the U.S. National Team.

Foresters leadoff hitter Kyle Isbel goes for a steal against Clay Fisher of Team USA on Tuesday afternoon at Dodger Stadium. Click to view larger
Foresters leadoff hitter Kyle Isbel goes for a steal against Clay Fisher of Team USA on Tuesday afternoon at Dodger Stadium. (JC Corliss/Noozhawk photo)

With bases loaded and one out, Williams stepped up to the plate and drove a deep sacrifice fly to right field, which allowed Isbel to reach home again. Yet, this run proved to be the final score on the day as Otto clinched the victory while getting Colby Barrick to pop out to the shortstop. 

All things considered, the roughly 100 local fans who made the trip from Santa Barbara  were privileged to witness a once-in-a lifetime event for their beloved 'Sters during a wildly entertaining ballgame that featured 28 total hits and 16 runs scored. 

“We definitely embraced the moment,” concluded Henderson. “Being able to play in such a historic park meant a lot to us and it was an experience that we’ll never forget.”

The two squads will play again Wednesday at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium when Santa Barbara's Kyle Johnston (2-0, 3.97) takes the mound to face-off with Brendan Mckay (12-4, 2.30) at 5:05 p.m.

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

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