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Foresters capture sixth NBCWS title

NBC World Series Championship game recap:

Foresters take sixth championship in battle of storied teams

WICHITA, Kan. — Jacob Patterson pitched seven innings of shutout baseball and was supported by a 12-hit attack as the Santa Barbara (Calif.) Foresters defeated the Hays (Kan.) Larks 6-2 to win the 2016 National Baseball Congress (NBC) World Series.

The title is the sixth for the Foresters, who went undefeated in pool play and won three more games in the single-elimination playoffs to join previous titles in 2006, 2008, 2011, 2012 and 2014.

Santa Barbara took control early as Lex Kaplan singled in a run and scored on Dylan Paul’s two-run double in the first inning. The Foresters then added single runs in the second, fourth and seventh innings and did not look back in coasting to the win.

Patterson scattered six hits and two walks while striking out five to earn player of the game honors. Kyle Isbel went 4-for-5 while Kaplan and Matt Henderson each had two hits.

The Larks (5-1) had chances against Patterson, but were turned away until breaking through in the ninth against reliever Cody Crouse as Ty Redington and Conner Ross drove in runs. Redington and Alex Weiss each had two hits for Hays, which finished as runner-up for the fifth time.

Alex Lopez took the loss, giving up five runs on seven hits in 3.2 innings.

The 82nd annual tournament was the first one under a pool play/knockout round playoffs, in which 16 teams battled in four pools of four teams each. The pool champions in the first week played for the right to advance to Championship week, while during Championship Week both the pool winners and second-place teams advanced to the single-elimination quarterfinals, finals and championship.

The tournament saw fairly similar offensive totals to last year, with a team average of .281 and 26 home runs compared to .287 and 34 home runs in 2015. Twelve teams hit .300 or better, led by the National Junior College Athletic Association National Team, which batted .369. The Foresters were the lone team to finish with an ERA of 1.76, and Haysville (Kan.) had the best fielding at .983, although Santa Barbara edged Hays .982 to .981 to win the best fielding award.

Joseph DeRoche-Duffin of the San Diego Force hit three home runs, the most in the tournament since Nolan Reimold of Hays had four in the 2004 tournament.

Santa Barbara is 80-24 in the 17 years since the NBCWS became a wood-bat only tournament. Hays, in 15 appearances, is 62-28.

The tournament saw an appearance by the Kansas Stars, a collection of former Major League players headlined by Roger Clemens. The Stars went 3-2, reaching the semifinals before bowing to Hays 9-6 in a 17-inning marathon that was two innings shy of the all-time longest game, a 19-inning battle between Fallon (Nev.) and Langley (Va.) in 1961.

Santa Barbara and Hays earned automatic bids to the 2017 NBCWS.

Mike Dean

NBC World Series

Tournament scorer/statistician

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