West Ranch baseball coach Casey Burrill said before league play that juniors Christos Stefanos and Will Chambers would be counted on to produce the most runs.
That, of course, is why the burly sluggers were slotted into the No. 3 and No. 4 slots in the club’s batting order.
In Friday’s Foothill League contest, Stefanos hit a two-run home run in the first inning and Chambers launched a back-breaking grand slam in the sixth of an 11-1 road win over Saugus.
Stefanos leads the Wildcats (17-6 overall, 10-1 in Foothill) with 25 RBIs; Chambers is second with 21.
“It was kind of a big deal that we could get up on (Saugus starter Brandyn) Cruz early,” Burrill said. “He settled down nicely after that.”
Indeed. After West Ranch’s four-run first inning, Cruz didn’t allow another run over his final three innings.
He struck out six and walked two.
West Ranch ace Timmy Josten also struggled in the first, as Saugus (8-18, 4-7) loaded the bases with no outs.
But after JC Choy’s RBI groundout, Josten sandwiched a walk between two strikeouts to end the threat.
“That was a big moment for him, and for us in general,” Burrill said.
Over six innings, Josten allowed the one run on three hits. He struck out eight and walked three.
At the plate, Nico Valdez led West Ranch with a 3-for-3 performance. Ryan Camacho finished 1-for-3, knocking in two runs with a single in the fifth inning.
That preluded Chambers’ home run in the sixth, after Saugus intentionally walked Stefanos to load the bases.
The blast boosted the score to 11-1.
“That obviously puts any kind of comeback out of reach,” said Burrill, whose team leads Valencia by one game for first place in the Foothill League’s standings with two-game series against Canyon and Valencia left to play.
Valencia will a two-game set against Golden Valley before taking on the Wildcats.
Saugus, which closes league against Hart and Golden Valley, trails Hart by two games for third place.
Friday, Centurion Chase Lindemann went 2-for-3 and Nolan Kutcher went 1-for-3.