Saturday, August 16, 2008

Foresters win it all in Wichita


When the Santa Barbara Foresters semi-pro baseball team sported a lowly 13-12 record in mid-June, Head Coach Bill Pintard bet his wife that his squad would win the National Baseball Congress World Series.
The Pintard who wears baseball pinstripes won that bet with perfection yesterday after the Foresters shut the Seattle Studs out with a 2-0 victory in the NBC championship game in Wichita, Kan. And he did it with a club he was told by at least one spectator was the finest baseball team they’d ever seen play in Wichita.

“I’m just real proud of how the boys played,” he said. “We went right through this thing. This team was very focused, very determined. They weren’t going to do anything to get in the way of this championship.”
Validating Pintard’s sentiments of his team’s play is the fact that the Foresters swept through the tournament with a 7-0 record. Two of those wins tested the Foresters’ resolve, as they were forced to come back from five-run deficits during two straight games.
“Our team wanted it more than any team in this tournament,” Pintard said.
But it’s not like the Foresters didn’t roll into Wichita in their decades-old bus riding a hot streak. They went 20-4 during the month of July and clinched their 14th California Collegiate League title, which secured a berth in the World Series.
The NBC World Series title marks the second for the Foresters in the past three years. Pintard’s team won its first title in 2006 in similar fashion, sweeping through the tournament undefeated.
Present on the field yesterday and in 2006 was Andre Miller, also known as DeAndre, who batted in both Foresters runs with a solo home run and an RBI triple.
Like Pintard, Miller said he had little doubt that this year’s Foresters team was compiled of the kind of players poised to win a championship. It just took a little while for them to catch fire in unison.
“I always knew that when you need to take it up to the next level, we had the right players,” he said. “It’s not about how you start, it’s how you finish.”
After three scoreless innings, Miller got the Foresters on the board yesterday in the fourth inning with his solo home run.
In the sixth inning, Foresters right fielder Chad Mozingo led off with a walk and advanced to second base on a wild pitch. Mozingo moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by shortstop Sean Nicol. The next batter was Miller, who smashed a triple to left field, scoring Mozingo for the second and final run.
Foresters Pitcher Mike Ford threw a complete-game shutout behind nine strikeouts and one walk. He gave up five hits.
The Studs also had luck on the mound, but couldn’t stop Miller. Studs starting pitcher Josh Berry threw five and one third inning, giving up two runs on two hits and one walk. The Foresters finished with four hits, one fewer than the Studs.
Foresters designated hitter Kevin Keyes was named the MVP of the tournament. Pintard said Keyes also won the award for most outstanding prospect and another for having the most runs batted in.
Pintard was named manager of the tournament. However, some may believe he’s manager of the past half-decade, as the Foresters have fought their way into the final game of the NBC World Series four times in the past six years.
Awards aside, Miller said the Foresters managed to play the last seven games as if they were their last, and that is the key to winning championships.
“When you get in the playoffs, a different mentality comes with a competitive baseball player,” he said. “And this team has a whole bunch of them and it worked out in our benefit.”
A complete box score and play-by-play from the game is available at

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