The Santa Barbara Foresters advanced to the NBC World Series championship game after a 9-2 win over the Seattle Studs in Friday’s semifinals in Wichita.
The Foresters will now be looking to clinch three consecutive titles when they face the Hays Larks on Saturday.
Both teams got off to a good start, with the game tied 2-2 after the first set. In the top half, Santa Barbara’s Miguel Santos threw an early homer to get the team on the board, followed by an RBI sacrifice on-bat by Hudson White.
The big first inning, however, was followed by four straight scoreless innings as each starter settled down.
Graham Osman started the game on the hump for the Foresters, allowing two runs on three hits and four walks while striking out seven in 5 ⅓ innings of work.
With the game still tied at 2-2, Forester’s offense finally awoke in the sixth. A two-out, two-run single from Gianni Horvat gave Santa Barbara a 4-2 lead and they never looked back.
The Foresters added to their lead with three runs in the seventh thanks to an RBI double from Gavin Kash and a two-run single through Blayne Jones to make the game 7-2.
Santa Barbara continued to build up in the eighth, as Santos and Nick McLain each doubled RBI to extend the lead to 9-2.
The bullpen combination of Robert Cranz, Jake Faherty and Cole Reeves kept Seattle off balance for the rest of the game, tossing 3 ⅔ scoreless innings in relief.
McClain led the Foresters with three hits while Santos, Rombach, Jones and Horvat recorded two-hit performances en route to the win.
The championship game against the Hays Larks is Saturday at 5 p.m. in Wichita.
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