SAN LUIS OBISPO — The San Luis Obispo boys baseball team has started off this summer season hot as they are 14-6 after falling at home last night to the reigning champion Santa Barbara Foresters 4-2 to open up their six-game homestand. The Blues opened their season winning eight of their first 10 and entered last night’s game-winning seven of their last 10 but could not get the victory due to good pitching from the Forresters and some bad throws from Blues infielders.
Right-handed pitcher Pierson Ohl (Grand Canyon University) started on the mound for the Blues and pitched well once gaining his bearings. The Forresters came out swinging early knocking three hits and scoring two runs in the bottom of the first but that is all they would get off of Ohl through his four innings.
The Blues responded in the bottom of the first inning with a run and tied up the game thanks to a Santa Barbara error in the bottom of the third. Julian Bury (Columbia) reached first on a two-out hit and made it all the way home when he took off for a hit and run as Dane Stankiewicz (Grand Canyon) slapped a ball down the third base line. Stankiewicz’s speed might have forced the Forresters third basemen to rush his throw but regardless of the reason the throw to first ricocheted off the home side bullpen allowing Bury to score the tying run.
The Forresters added a single run in the top of the fifth inning that could have turned into more if right fielder Hunter Swift (Oral Roberts University) didn’t make a nice catch on a dead sprint in foul territory to end the inning. Santa Barbara added one more run in the top of the ninth on a sacrifice fly bringing the Blues up to bat needing two runs.
Brady Lindsly (Oklahoma) got the inning started for San Luis Obispo when he drew a walk sandwiched between two strikeouts giving the Blues a puncher's chance with the tying run at the plate. Next into the box was Swift who singled giving life to those still in attendance and setting the table for local high school standout Dylan Beavers (UC Berkeley). Beavers showed impressive patience running the count to full after falling behind 1-2 and eventually drew a huge walk, loading up the bases. The crowd stood up and began cheering as their team had a chance to take down the reigning champions but the celebration was premature as the game ended on a strikeout. The two runs for SLO was their second-lowest output of the season.
The Blues (14-6) have been dominant on both sides of the ball this year. Offensively they are averaging almost seven runs per game (6.89) through 19 games and defensively have held teams to two or fewer runs in 11 games this year. With college baseball nearly finished, the Blues roster is close to solidifying which also means the local high school players will no longer get to occupy their spots. Lucas Climer from Paso Robles and Justice Gibbons from Templeton both saw playing time with the Blues and played well. Climer pitched seven innings for the Blues only giving up two earned runs and walking three while striking out 10 and Gibbons saw 15 at-bats and recorded three hits and scored four runs.
The Blues also have former local pitchers back in town from college, from both Templeton and Paso Robles, in Noah Bullard (Ventura City College) and Brad Tews (Azusa Pacific), respectively. Bullard and Tews have each thrown nine innings only allowing three runs while striking out nine for SLO.
Tuesday was the Blues first game of a six-game homestand where they will face the Forresters three times and then the Orange County Riptides, Arroyo Seco Saints and Conejo Oaks on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Friday’s game against the Riptides will also be the Blues first fireworks game of the year.
The Blues fell to the Forresters in game two of the three-game series 3-1 on Wednesday night.