Paul Wellman

Never before had a single defeat knocked the Santa Barbara Foresters out of the National Baseball Congress (NBC) World Series. But organizers of the 83rd annual tournament in Wichita, Kansas, discarded the safety net of a double-elimination format, starting with the quarterfinals Friday. The Everett (Washington) Merchants took and early 4-0 lead and held off Santa Barbara’s defending champions, 6-3.

The Foresters concluded the summer with a 34-12 record. They took a seven-game winning streak into Friday’s game, including a 3-0 record in tournament pool play. Manager Bill Pintard’s collegians leave Wichita with more NBC wins (100 in 23 years) and championships (six in the last 12 years) than any other team.

Santa Barbara halved Everett’s lead to 4-2 in the top of the fifth on a two-run single by Josh Jung. After the Merchants tacked on another run, an RBI double by Luke Ritter made it 5-3 in the top of the seventh, but the Foresters were unable to push across any more runs after loading the bases.

They brought the tying run to the plate in the top of the ninth, with two on and two out. After fouling off four pitches, Spencer Steer flied out to center to end the game.


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