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Foresters feel right at home in Wichita

For other teams, the muggy weather sweeping over Wichita this past week has been almost unbearable. Not for the Santa Barbara (Calif.) Foresters.

"I mean, we play in Santa Barbara," first baseman Nick Melino said. "It's warm here, but it's not hot. It's nice; perfect baseball weather."

The atmosphere has certainly been nice for Santa Barbara. After winning 9-0 on Wednesday night, the Foresters won their second game of the tournament Thursday night in a 7-2 win over League City (Texas).

Melino and James Wharton each hit home runs to lead the Forester attack.

"We're good at situational hitting," Melino said. "We've had a lot of success with that and pitching. And two-out base hits wins championships."

Anger alleviated — Waking up early for a morning game wasn't in the agenda for the Kenai Peninsula Oilers. Qualifying from the prestigious Alaskan League, Kenai was a pre-tournament favorite to make a deep run.

But a first-round loss sent the Oilers to the first game of the day on Thursday, in which they took out their frustrations on the Rock City (N.C.) Red Sox during a 8-0 run-ruled victory.

Rock City was eliminated from the tournament after being beaten by a combined 17-0 in two run-ruled losses.

"We definitely didn't expect to be in the loser's bracket after the first game," Oilers' shortstop Tyler Grimes said. "We got our back against the wall now."

Energy was still an issue for the Oilers, but their talent was enough for the win on Thursday.

"We still came out lackadaisical," said Grimes, who plays for Wichita State. "It's definitely not the energy level we're used to. Today was a little better, but I still don't think we're at our potential yet."

Not there yet — The Hutchinson Monarchs looked ready to force a run-rule on Casa Grande (Ariz.) after they took a 10-1 lead entering the bottom-half of the fourth inning.

But Casa Grande responded with a rally of its own, scoring six consecutive runs to make things interesting until Hutchinson closed out a 11-7 victory.

Eric DeBlanc, Andy Petz and Aaron Wick finished with two hits apiece to lead the Monarchs' attack. Hutchinson advances in the loser's bracket and will play again on Saturday.

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