Hunter Watkins pitched three perfect inning in relief against Arroyo Seco to complete the non-hitter. | Credit: Entenza

The June gloom extended to the field for the Santa Barbara Foresters on Thursday night.

Two nights after exploding for 12 runs in a blowout victory over the Arroyo Seco Saints on the road at Jackie Robinson Field, the Foresters bats went dormant in crucial situations in a 5-2 loss to the Saints at Pershing Park.

The Foresters left ten men on base and were caught stealing three times in their first home loss of the season. 

“It’s not the execution we need. It’s early and we’ll get better at that stuff,” said Foresters head coach Bill Pintard. “We’re still down four pitchers and three position players.”

Foresters starting pitcher Hunter Watkins, who just finished up his senior season at Grace Brethren high school and will be attending Grand Canyon University in the fall made his second appearance of the season after picking up a win on opening day against the SLO Blues.

Watkins acquitted himself well for the most part, surrendering one run in three innings on the mound. 

Arroyo Seco catcher Jaime Perez was the player of the game as he did a nice job controlling the Foresters on the base paths and led off the top of the third with a double to right-center field. 

Perez came around to score on a wild pitch by Watkins to give Arroyo Seco a 1-0 lead. 

The Saints added three runs in the top of the fifth inning off of Foresters reliever Robert Cranz, a returner from last year’s NBC World Series Championship team, who was making his first appearance of the season and hadn’t pitched against live batters in over a month.

“He’s been throwing pens, but he hasn’t been throwing to batters,” said Pintard of Cranz. “He usually has more command and that’s when they scored their runs.”

Alex Jones came up with the big hit in the top of the fifth inning for Arroyo Seco, a two-run double with the bases loaded, that scored Max Blessinger and Mason Hammond increasing the Saints’ lead to 4-0.

The Foresters got on the board in the bottom of the fifth inning on a ground out by Daniel Patterson that scored Gianni Horvat, cutting the Santa Barbara deficit to 4-1.

In the top of the eighth inning, Alec Birge gave Arroyo Seco some insurance with a solo homer just inside the right field foul pole.

The Foresters loaded the bases in the bottom of the eighth with two outs, but Arroyo Seco pitcher Aaron Treloar was able to strike out Santa Barbara’s hottest hitter Horvat to end the inning. 

Santa Barbara tacked on a run in the bottom of the ninth on a single lined to center field by Will Rogers that scored Ryan Black. 

Rocco Garza-Gongora represented the tying run with runners on first and third with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, but his hard hit line drive to right field was snuffed out by a diving catch from Jared Quandt to end the game.

The Foresters (2-2) will travel to Thousand Oaks to take on the Conejo Oaks today beginning at 4 p.m. They will return home to Pershing Park on Saturday for a rematch against Conejo Oaks at 6 p.m.


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