Hart baseball edges Saugus by one run again


The one-run game phenomenon between Hart and Saugus continued.

In the series finale, the Hart Indians completed the season sweep by edging out the Saugus Centurions, 3-2, Wednesday at Hart High.

All three of Hart’s wins over Saugus this season were by one run.

“I don’t know what it is,” said Hart coach Jim Ozella. “It’s a crazy deal. We’ve played a lot of one-run games against them.”

MORE: Foothill League baseball roundup: Valencia beats Golden Valley for sweep

It is the 21st one-run game between the schools in their last 35 meetings.

“It’s almost status quo,” said Saugus coach John Maggiora. “If you’re going to Vegas, it’s almost a for sure.”

The latest edition featured a pitching duel between Hart’s Bryce Collins and Saugus’ Tony Jacob Jr.

Collins picked up the win, allowing two earned runs on five hits with nine strikeouts over five-plus innings of work.

“I was confident in my fastball and curveball,” Collins said. “I was able to get ahead with the curve. And once they started sitting fastball and curve, I backed it up with a changeup.”Jacob Jr. struck out six and limited the Indians to three runs on four hits over his five innings on the mound.

After allowing a two-out RBI single to Matt Elser in the first, Jacob Jr. didn’t surrender another hit until Brooks Statley’s one-out single in the fifth.

Josh Cerpa followed Statley with a bloop single, and both came around to score on Cole Roederer’s groundball and Cody Jefferis’ double down the right field line, respectively.

“I thought (Jacob Jr.) did a great job controlling the outside part of the plate… We were really fortunate to get three runs against those guys on a day they pitched really well too,” Ozella said.

The Centurions (8-20 overall, 4-9 in Foothill) responded with a rally of their own in the sixth.

With no outs and runners on first and second, Brandyn Cruz’s double hugged the right field line, driving in Chase Lindemann and knocking Collins out of the game.

Leading 3-1, Ozella called upon Brendan Henry.

JC Choy scored on a ground out to cut the deficit to 3-2, but Henry sealed the one-run outcome by stranding Cruz at third and retiring Saugus in order in the seventh.

Beyond playing against Hart (17-10, 8-5), the Centurions have been on the losing end of 11 one-run games this season.

Nolan Kutcher extended his hitting streak to eight games by going 2-for-3 with a walk, while Cruz went 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI for Saugus.

Statley and Cerpa each went 1-for-2 with a run scored. Elser finished 1-for-3 with an RBI for the Indians.

Hart finishes Foothill League play next week against Canyon, while Saugus finishes against Golden Valley.

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