Saugus pitcher Leslie Reynaga admitted she was nervous prior to the start of Thursday’s Foothill League opener between the Centurions and Canyon High.
It didn’t take Reynaga long to shake the butterflies.
The sophomore made quick work of Canyon, striking out nine and allowing just two hits to pick up the win in Saugus’ 3-0 victory.
“Leslie was dominant on the mound,” said Saugus coach Julie Archer. “She had great ball movement and a strong presence on the field.”
Reynaga mixed speed and location to keep Canyon’s batters off balance and hitless the first time through the lineup.
“There was a point in the game where (our batters) were getting frustrated, and they wanted to put the ball in play so badly,” said Canyon coach Jeanette Sauceda Reynolds. “… The frustration skewed our being smart at the plate.”
Canyon (7-8 overall, 0-1 in Foothill) found life in the sixth, when Shannon Hunter and Melissa Spencer both reached base to put runners on first and second with one out, trailing by three runs.
However, Kailee Powell followed with a ground ball to second baseman Libbie McMahan for what looked like a routine double play.
Instead, McMahan tagged Spencer as the two collided and both went to the dirt.
The field umpire quickly called Powell out due to ‘malicious contact’ from Spencer, a call that would normally lead to an ejection.
According to both coaches, that call was downgraded to runner interference and Spencer was allowed to stay in the game, but the Canyon rally was over as Powell’s out was the third of the inning.
“It definitely affected the momentum of the inning,” Sauceda Reynolds said. “It’s a learning experience for us as coaches and players to avoid the tag.”
Reynaga induced three quick outs in the seventh to seal the victory.
The wind at Canyon High caused issues for both team’s throughout the game, with fly balls held in the park by consistent wind and fielders forced into awkward routes by sudden gusts.
“The wind restrained our hitting, which could have led to a much higher scoring game,” Archer said. “We had many hard hits that got caught up in the wind.”
Saugus (11-6, 1-0) got on the board early, though, thanks to Jessica Cordola’s two-RBI day.
Cordola had an RBI double in the second and followed with an RBI single in the fourth.
Golden Valley 4, West Ranch 3, 8 innings
The Grizzlies picked up a historic win in Thursday’s Foothill League opener, defeating West Ranch for the first time since winning back-to-back league game against the Wildcats (5-7, 0-1) in 2007 and 2008.
Cassidy Cangemi struck out nine batters in eight innings, allowing three unearned runs for the Grizzlies (10-6, 1-0). Nicole Smart had the game-winning hit.