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Locals John Jensen, David Gaydos, Luke Coffey Lead Foresters in Season Opener, 11-0

David Gaydos, Foresters pitcher on opening day. Click to view larger
Starter David Gaydos allowed two hits in his six innings of work for the Foresters. (JC Corliss / Noozhawk photo)

The Santa Barbara Foresters opened its 2018 summer baseball season in style on Friday night, with Chase Illig and John Jensen providing the offensive firepower and David Gaydos shutting down the Inland Empire Pirates in an 11-0 rout at Pershing Park.

Three Forester hurlers struck out 11 and walked just two in a combined four-hit shutout.

Illig, a junior catcher at West Virginia, went 3 for 5, with two booming doubles to right-center and three RBI. Jensen, a former Santa Barbara High and SBCC star who’s going to UC Irvine in the fall, went 3-4 as the designated hitter with three singles, three runs and two RBI.

The pre-game ceremonies began with a moment of silence for John McManigal and Dr. Mark Montgomery, who died in the Montecito mudslides in January. They were longtime Forester supporters who hosted players in their homes. Dr. Montgomery also worked on many Foresters as a hand surgeon.

Jensen drove in Parker Upton with the first run on a RBI fielder’s choice in the first inning and the Foresters added three more in the third on a run-scoring single by Jensen, an RBI double by Illig and an RBI single up the middle by first baseman Conner Woods.

“Johnny Jensen had five quality at-bats and Illig had four, so that’s nine quality at-bats from our 4 and 5 hitters,” said Foresters coach Bill Pintard. “That was pretty good. Both of those guys were great and Logan Allen did a great job running the bases.”

Chase Illig of Santa Barbara Foresters Click to view larger
Chase Illig scores in the third inning to give the Foresters a 4-0 lead. Illig went 3 for 5 with two doubles and three RBI. (JC Corliss / Noozhawk photo)

The Foresters tallied five runs in the fifth on three hits, a walk, two hit batters, a passed ball and a wild pitch. They loaded the bases on singles by Luke Coffey, a junior at Westmont, and Jensen and a walk by Woods. Inland Empire reliever Darrian Lopez hit two straight batters to force in two runs and two more scored on a passed ball and wild pitch. Allen came home on Upton’s RBI grounder to make it 9-0.

Jensen reached base in his first four at-bats and scored after singling in the third, fifth and sixth innings. He raced around from first to score the 11th run in the sixth on Illig’s second double of the game.

“I was just trying to have fun,” said Jensen. “I’m just trying to get on base any way I can because I know we have good hitters to drive me in. I’m playing full-time this year. We’ve been together four or five days and we already have great team chemistry.”

Gaydos, who just finished his career at Westmont, was outstanding, holding the Pirates to no runs on two hits with four strikeouts in six innings. Noah Gotsis struck out four in the seventh and eighth and Jackson Sigman struck out the side in the ninth after giving up a leadoff single.

“Gaydos was outstanding,” said Pintard. “I just hate this rule that we can’t use graduating seniors in our league season. The whole reason they’re out here is so they can get seen by people. He was great tonight, throwing in the 88 to 90 mph range and he was in command the whole game. In the sixth inning, he only had thrown 50-some pitches.”

Coffey went 2-4 with a single, a double and two runs.

Coffey’s younger brother, Isaac, will start Saturday’s 6 p.m. game with the Pirates. The Channel League MVP missed Friday’s opener after graduating from Dos Pueblos High.

Isaac Coffey had a stellar 2018 campaign, batting .419 with eight homers and 27 RBI as a shortstop and going 10-0 with a 1.28 ERA on the mound. He accepted a scholarship to play for Oral Roberts.

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