Foresters edge Aviators in NBC opener

Haysville shortstop Sterling Spurling tags out a Santa Barbara runner who was picked off, courtesy of a great throw by catcher Ridge Stephens.

By Travis Mounts

The Haysville Aviators and Santa Barbara (Calif.) Foresters put on a great pitching and defensive display Friday night in the opening-game for both teams at the National Baseball Congress World Series.

The Foresters got the game’s only run in the top of the fifth and beat the Aviators 1-0 at Wichita State University’s Eck Stadium.

With a runner on second base, Santa Barbara’s Eric Kennedy hit a sharp ground ball up the middle. Haysville second baseman Chris Robinson ran hard to his right to somehow field the ball but a difficult throw was off-target, which allowed the Foresters’ Tevin Tucker – who, with two outs, got a great jump off second – to score.

Haysville had an opportunity to the the game in bottom of the fifth. Keaton Candor led off the inning with a single, and advance to second base on a great sacrifice bunt by Senituli Taufahema. Then Charles Gordon hit a sharp line drive to centerfield that looked like it would reach the wall, but the Foresters’ Christian Franklin made a fantastic diving catch to rob Gordon of a hit and an RBI.

The Aviators’ had one last chance in the bottom of the ninth. With two outs, Dayan Reinoso hit a single to centerfield. But Ridge Stephens’ fly ball was caught for the third out, and the Aviators were shut out.

The Aviators’ Travis Harvey took the loss. He gave up five hits over six innings, striking out five against just three walks. Reinoso had two of Haysville’s four hits, with Taufahema and Candor each picking up a hit.

Haysville’s next game is at 11 a.m. Sunday against the Gameday (Colo.) Saints.