The crowd gasped and fell silent.
Saugus High pitcher Leslie Reynaga crumpled to the ground holding her face.
The line drive that avoided her glove and struck her in the nose Thursday at Saugus could’ve signaled a devastating day for the Centurions.
Libbie McMahan filled in admirably, Saugus held off Golden Valley, 4-2, and – most importantly – Reynaga suffered a fractured nose, according to her coach, rather than anything worse.
Centurions coach Julie Archer said later in the day that doctors ruled out a concussion and that Reynaga was doing “OK.”
The news allowed Saugus (12-8 overall, 2-0 in Foothill League) to breathe a sigh of relief more significant than any of the exhales it experienced during the game.
Still, Golden Valley (10-7, 1-1) loaded the bases with no outs in the top of the first before Reynaga induced a 5-2-3 double play and a strikeout to escape unscathed.
The Grizzlies loaded the bases in the third and in the fifth, but failed to score on both occasions.
Grizzly Sophia Medellin’s two-run home run shortly after McMahan took over in the third provided her team’s only runs.
From there, McMahan found a groove.
“Going in, I was freaking out,” McMahan said. “After Sophia hit the home run, I was totally relaxed. I was like, ‘I know I can do this.’”
Saugus scored all four of its runs in the bottom of the first, making Golden Valley pay for two hit batters and a walk with three straight RBI singles.
Not scoring again, the Centurions couldn’t finally relax until McMahan forced a ground out to end the game.
“Something like that happens with a teammate, and it’s scary,” Archer said of the line drive. “To come in and take over, Libbie did a great job.”
In 4 2/3 innings, McMahan allowed five hits. She hit two singles at the plate, as did Jessica Cordola.
Medellin finished 2-for-3 with a double. She walked in the bottom of the seventh, but the Grizzlies couldn’t advance her.
“We just never got the key hit,” said Golden Valley coach Daniel Soto, “… that’s rough.”
Hart 14, Canyon 13
Aly Kaneshiro hit a walk-off two-run double to lift Hart (12-7, 1-1) to its first Foothill League win of the year. Kaneshiro finished 3-for-5 with four RBIs.
Indian Abby Sweet had two hits and three RBIs. Brooke Marquez went 4-for-5 with two RBIs and Jordyn Gasper had two hits and two RBIs.
For Canyon (9-9, 0-2), Cayla Calderon, Alexis DeYoung, Kate Post and Kailee Powell homered.
Valencia 2, West Ranch 0
Shea O’Leary struck out nine batters and allowed five hits in the complete-game victory for Valencia (14-7, 2-0).
Ally Shipman walked four times and scored both Viking runs, the second on Kelia Paragas’ double in the fifth inning.
Makenna Harper pitched seven innings for West Ranch (7-11, 0-2), striking out nine, walking six and allowing three hits.