The dominate pitching by the Santa Barbara Foresters has put them in position to win an eighth National Baseball Congress World Series championship.
Starter Kyle Luckham and three relievers combined on a three-hitter in a 5-1 semifinal victory over the Cheney Diamond Dawgs of Kansas on Saturday at Wichita State’s Eck Stadium.
The Foresters advance to the finals of the 13-team double-elimination tournament and will play Monday night against a team to be determined on Sunday.
Cheney ended Santa Barbara’s tournament streak of 24 consecutive scoreless innings by scoring a run in the ninth inning. The Foresters were coming off an 8-0, nine-inning, no-hit performance by four pitchers on Thursday. On Tuesday, they won 8-0 on an seven-inning two-hitter by a pair of pitchers.
On Saturday, Luckham went 5.2 innings and allowed two hits and no walks while striking out four. Caden Monke picked up for Luckham in the sixth and pitched the seventh without allowing a hit. Sean Mullen retired the side in the eighth and Peyton Pallette gave up one run on a walk and a two-out double before retiring the side in the ninth.
The Foresters jumped on Cheney starter Zach Bravo for single runs in the first and second and two runs in the fourth.
In the first, Jace Jung double to right-center field, moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on an error by the catcher.
Sean McLain drew a two-out walk in the second inning, went to second on a wild pitch and came home on a single by Casey Dykstra.
Dykstra was the hitting star for Santa Barbara, going 3 for 3 with three RBI. He also drew a walk. He twice drove in Ryan Holgate on a triple in the fourth inning and a single in the sixth.
Noah Cardenas also scored in the fourth after a walk, a double by Holgate and a passed ball.
Santa Barbara last won the NBC World Series in 2018.
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