The opening weekend for the Santa Barbara Foresters came to a dramatic conclusion on Sunday afternoon with a walk off single by Benjamin Martz in the bottom of the tenth inning that boosted Santa Barbara to a 4-3 victory over Conejo Oaks.
Martz came on as a pinch hitter with the bases loaded and no outs. He lined a single to left field setting off a celebration and punctuating a 3-0 opening weekend for the Foresters.
“I saw something straight early on and swung out of my shoes a little bit. I had to remind myself that there’s something other than a fastball going on,” Martz said. “I was just looking for something up, that’s what they were telling me the whole time. I got two strikes and saw that elevated breaking ball and just decided to let it eat so it was fun.”
Martz, who played catcher at Santa Barbara City College this past season and will move on to UCSB next season, fell behind in the count before battling back for the clutch hit after the Foresters had squandered similar opportunities throughout the game.
The Foresters fell behind 3-0 after two innings as starting pitcher Cole Quintanilla surrendered three runs on five hits during his three innings of work. However, the Santa Barbara bullpen was once again lights out and shut down the Conejo Oaks for the remainder of the game.
“Our pitching through the first three games has been outrageous. We’ve been putting up zeroes,” said Foresters head coach Bill Pintard. “For that bullpen to come out and shove zeroes up and get all those swings and misses, that was something, I’m really pleased.”
Six Foresters pitchers combined for 15 strikeouts. Relief pitcher Connor Woods got the win for his work in the top of the tenth inning.
The Forester got one run back in the bottom of the sixth inning when Tommy Holguin doubled bringing home Eric Kennedy.
In the bottom of the eighth inning, Ross Cadena jumped all over a hanging curve ball and evened the score at 3-3 with a two-run homer to left field.
“How clutch can you be, it was the bottom of the eighth inning when he hit it,” Pintard said. “That was huge. That was the ball game.”
Blake Hall walked to lead off the top of the tenth inning. Cadena and Holguin followed with back-to-back bunt singles to load the bases with no outs, which set the stage for Martz’s heroics.
The Foresters will have a day off Monday before traveling to Conejo Oaks for their first road game on Tuesday, beginning at 4:30.