Thirty former Major League Baseball players on the Kansas Stars’ roster have helped NBC World Series baseball fans remember the past. But the Santa Barbara Foresters are still the defending champions and a strong part of baseball’s future.
A lineup full of young prospects once again has the Foresters favored to advance deep into the weekend with an eye on defending last year’s NBC World Series championship. They had already clinched a spot in the quarterfinals with two wins entering Wednesday’s play. A 6-2 win over the Colorado Sox solidified their first-place finish in Pool C.
The Foresters (3-0) boast a roster that includes college prospects from 24 NCAA D-I baseball programs, including teams from the SEC, Big 12 and Pac-12. Two players, catcher Zach Humphreys (TCU) and second baseman Hank LaForte (Cal State Fullerton) played in this year’s College World Series.
LaForte went 2 for 4 with a run scored in Wednesday’s win, while Humphreys singled and caught all nine innings from seven different pitchers.
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Wichita State’s Luke Ritter went 1 for 2 with a double and 3 RBIs to help the Foresters break a scoreless tie with a four-run sixth inning.
The undefeated record in pool play, large number of prospects and last year’s championship are just the most recent bragging points for a program with a long history of success at the NBC World Series. The Foresters have won six NBC championships – tied for the most ever – all of them in the last 12 years.
The Foresters will enter the single-elimination tournament portion of the NBC World Series as the top seed out of Pool C with a quarterfinals match up against Pool A two-seed Everett (2-1). The Merchants’ only loss this week came at the hands of the Kansas Stars.
The Everett Merchants clinched a spot in the NBC World Series quarterfinals Wednesday afternoon with a 5-4 win over the Colorado Cyclones. Jake Levin went 3 for 5 with an RBI and scored a run in a 4-run fifth inning.
NBC World Series
- San Antonio Angels vs. CheneyDiamond Dawgs, 1 p.m.
- San Diego Waves vs. U.S. National Team, 3:30 p.m.
- Seattle Studs vs. Hays Larks, 7 p.m.
- Mulvane Patriots vs. Wellington Heat, 9:30 p.m.