See Tomorrow’s Pros Today

Santa Barbara Foresters Swing Into the New Season

Turn on many Major League Baseball games these days and you can
root, root, root for the home team — even if you live nowhere near
the teams you’re watching. That’s because you can often also root
for Santa Barbara’s own home team, the Foresters — or at least the
many former players from that club now making their mark on the Big
Leagues. In 2005, the Foresters boasted their first-ever Major
League All-Star and first-ever former players in the World Series.
Houston Astros third baseman Morgan Ensberg was the former, and
Ensberg and pitcher Chad Qualls were the latter. As the season
begins again this summer, the rallying cry is “Who’s next?”

Who will follow in the cleat-steps of the 15 former Foresters
who have spent time in “the Show”? Ryan Church and Ryan Spilborghs
patrol the outfield for the Nationals and Rockies, respectively.
Kevin Frandsen came up with the Giants this spring and scored three
runs in his first game. Brian Bannister has started for the Mets
this year; Tyler Walker is the closer for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.
For fans who remember these guys from their youthful days in the
Santa Barbara sun, it’s a special point of pride to know that we
“knew them when.” The hardest part for longtime Foresters manager
Bill Pintard is when one of his former players faces another. “Of
course, that way, we win no matter what,” he said.

This summer, local fans can get a close-up view of tomorrow’s
Major Leaguers today by heading out to Caesar Uyesaka Stadium
beginning Thursday, June 8. The season actually began last
Saturday, June 3, but it kicks into high gear this weekend with
Coastal Collegiate League (CCL) action all weekend. New league
member Santa Cruz is in town June 8 and 9, while two games with
archrival Santa Maria Indians are on tap. Saturday’s game is at
Santa Maria’s Elks Field, while the Sunday afternoon game is back
here at UCSB. (See the box for a complete home schedule; visit for more information.)

As always at Foresters games, the action on the field is
top-shelf; some of the best college players in the country are
heading west to hone their games and practice with wood bats
(college players use aluminum bats; pros use wood, so if you want
to have a shot at the bigs, you’d better learn to hit with — and
pitch against — wood bats). And the action off the field is a
blast, too, as numerous kid-friendly events and promotions are held
throughout the games, which can also be heard all season long on

In 2005, the Foresters were just six outs away from a national
championship at the 72-year-old National Baseball Congress (NBC)
World Series, continuing an almost-but-not-quite streak that
stretches to 2002. The Foresters have finished fourth, second,
fourth, and second nationally over the past four seasons. However,
with more returning players than ever this summer, hopes are very
high indeed that this might be the year the team drops the “almost”

Among the returning players scheduled to join the team as soon
as their college seasons are over are 2005 MVP DeAndre Miller, who
set a single-season record with 71 hits last summer; outfielder
Steve Susdorf, who led the 2005 squad with a .404 batting average;
outfielder Nick Peoples, who first helped Texas win the 2005 NCAA
baseball championship and then later became the first Forester ever
to hit for the cycle. Other top returnees include utility star
Taylor Holiday, speedy shortstop Hector Estrella, and UCSB’s own
Mario Lewis. On the mound, look for 2005 Eric Pintard Award winner
(for top Foresters pitcher) Alexander Francisco as well as 2005 ERA
leader Bobby McEwen.

This larger-than-ever crop of returning players will infuse this
summer’s team with a huge amount of Foresters spirit. They’ll
continue not only the national championship-level play on the
field, but the vital work of the Hugs for Cubs off the field. All
the Foresters players give their time and energy to improving their
skills and winning games, but they also participate fully in the
team’s ongoing childhood cancer survivor support program.

Making young men better people, making college ballplayers into
future Major Leaguers, and making fans of all ages remember how
much they love this game … sounds like another great Foresters


Please note this login is to submit events or press releases. Use this page here to login for your Independent subscription

Not a member? Sign up here.