Kevin Bazzell ripped a fly ball deep into the left-center field gap and Hudson White raced home from first base in the bottom of the ninth inning to secure a 4-3 walk off victory for the Foresters over the MLB Academy Barons on Friday night at Pershing Park.
The victory clinched first place in the CCL South standing for the Foresters as they improved to 24-11 overall and 23-10 in CCL games.
“We take a lot of pride in our position in the league,” said Foresters head coach Bill Pintard. “We don’t play in the (CCL) tournament because we’re going to Wichita and that has been part of our moniker for 30 years and we’re defending champions there. But we still have enough pride that we want to do well and win our league.”
The Foresters were trailing 1-0 in the bottom of the second inning when Will Pendergrass singled to score Hunter Ensley from second base to even the game at 1-1.
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Santa Barbara tacked on two more runs in the bottom of the fifth inning when Griffin Everitt reached on an error to drive in Hudson White and Ensley doubled to score Everitt, which put the Foresters ahead 3-1.
After the Barons scored two runs in the top of the seventh to even the score at 3-3, the Foresters had the bases loaded with no outs in the bottom of the eighth inning, but failed to push a run across.
However, Bazzell made up for the squandered opportunity one inning later. After White led off the bottom of the ninth with a walk, Bazzell seized the moment with the game winning hit before sprinting into the outfield with his teammates on his tail.
“It’s awesome. I tried to run out as far as I could to center field and have the guys chase me,” Bazzell said. “Usually in summer ball it’s like an ego contest in the dugout, but this team is different. A lot of us have known each other before or played together so it was easy for us to bond and have games like this.”