The Santa Barbara Foresters tapped into their never-say-die character and scored three runs in the bottom of the ninth inning Thursday to defeat the San Diego Stars, 7-6, in the quarterfinals of the 84th National Baseball Congress World Series at Wichita, Kansas.
In order to play for a record seventh NBC championship on Saturday, the Foresters will have to stop the San Antonio Angels in a semifinal game Friday at 5 p.m. Santa Barbara time.
Things looked bleak for Santa Barbara when a two-run homer by pinch-hitter Ben Bruff put San Diego ahead 6-4 in the top of the eighth, and the Foresters went out 1-2-3 in the bottom of the inning. But in the ninth, they parlayed two hits, two walks and a hit batter into a game-winning rally. Luke Ritter knocked in a run with a sacrifice fly, Michael Neustifter drew a bases-loaded walk to force in the tying run, and Ryan Cash hit a solid single for the walk-off victory.
San Antonio, one of the last teams to get into the tournament, knocked off the San Diego Waves, 8-4, to cap an improbable run to the semifinals. The Angels had to play an extra week of games to qualify for the championship pools, and now they sport the best record (8-0) in Wichita.
Wellington (Kansas) edged the Seattle Studs, 4-3, to reach the other semifinal against the NJCAA National Team, which pushed across a run in the ninth to defeat the Colorado Cyclones, 9-8.