The Santa Barbara Foresters wasted no time in nailing down their second National Baseball Congress World Series championship. UCSB’s Mike Ford pitched the Foresters to a tidy 2-0 victory over the Seattle Studs Friday evening at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium in Wichita, Kansas.
Ford won three games in the tournament as the Foresters went 7-0, duplicating the perfect record of Santa Barbara’s champions in 2006. It took them less than two hours to dash Seattle’s hopes and end the competition in daylight. The fans were forced to wait around to enjoy the post-tournament fireworks show. The Foresters entertained them briefly with a dogpile of players and coaches.
Andre Miller swung the decisive bat in the final game. He led off the fourth inning with a home run, and in the sixth his triple drove in Chad Mozingo for the Foresters’ second run. Miller, who used to go by the first name DeAndre, is the only player to take part in both of Santa Barbara’s championships. He returned to the Foresters this year after spending 2007 playing professionally in the Angels farm system.
Ford, a right-hander from Scottsdale, Arizona, allowed just one run in 19 innings of work at Wichita. He struck out nine batters Friday, including the last three Seattle hitters in the ninth inning. Ford will be entering his junior year at UCSB. The 6‘3”, 210-pounder had a 6-4 record and 2.96 earned-run average for the Gauchos, leading their pitching staff with four complete games.
Kevin Keyes, the Foresters’ slugger from Texas, was named the NBC’s Most Valuable Player. He hit .486 in the series with a team-high 10 RBIs. Collecting All-America awards for the Foresters were Keyes, as the designated hitter; Ford, as a pitcher; Miller, as a utility player (outfielder and DH); and second baseman Steve Cook, another UCSB player.
Bill Pintard, in his 14th season as the club’s skipper, was chosen the All-America manager. His club got off to a slow start this year it was 12-12 at the end of June but then got on a roll and finished the season with a 40-16 record.
The Foresters are the first California team to win twice in the NBC’s 74 years of championships. They are also the first team to win two titles since the tournament went exclusively to wooden bats in 2000. They had the best offense among the 42 teams who congregated in Wichita, hitting .329 and outscoring their opposition 67-26.
And when they went up against a Seattle team that featured tough pitching, the Foresters outdid the Studs in that department too, thanks to Ford.