Near third base, Hart left fielder David Holuby stretched his right arm to the rain-filled clouds above him, grasping a baseball. The expression on his face was one of happiness, but tinged with a trace of desperation.
As the umpires reviewed the sixth-inning catch, the happiness fizzled.
Holuby’s diving grab was ruled no good, which gave Saugus a 5-3 win at home on Tuesday afternoon – the team’s first Foothill League win of the season.
“That shows that when we work together as a team, we have the fight,” said Cents catcher Andrew Sharp. “We can beat any team in this valley.”
Sharp was responsible for the 3-run single in the sixth inning that escaped the Indians and boosted the Centurions to a 5-3 lead.
“I just was trying to battle one off and I hit it fair,” Sharp said. “I just put my head down and started running and just tried to help the team out and luckily it fell.”
Saugus (3-5-1 overall, 1-2 in Foothill League) was the first to dent the scoreboard, as Brandyn Cruz drove in a run on a single to center field. Hart was able to tie it up, 1-1, in the second inning as Holuby hit an RBI single for himself.
Josh Cerpa drilled an RBI double down the third baseline to give Hart (4-6, 2-1) a 2-1 lead in the fourth inning. Saugus’ Tony Jacob drove in a run on a single at the top of the frame to keep the score even.
Jacob also put in work on the mound, giving up seven hits and recording 12 strikeouts in a complete-game effort.
“I just did the best I could,” said Jacob. “Just trying to throw strikes and … let my defense work behind me.”
Cole Roederer launched a home run over the fences in the fifth inning, seemingly turning the momentum in the Indians’ favor.
However, riding a 3-2 lead, the team struggled to close the deal in the following frame. Hart exchanged starting pitcher Ryan Carolan, who yielded five hits and threw four K’s, for Warner Rhodes. Rhodes struck out one and gave up one fateful hit.
“We had numerous chances to get more runs and when you’re in this league, you better get those runs,” said Indians coach Jim Ozella. “So it’s disappointing because the game got away from us.”
Saugus handed Hart its first league loss of the season, while gaining its first win after falling to Valencia and West Ranch.
Cents coach Carl Grissom was relieved to be in the win column but also knows there’s plenty of work yet to be done.
“I think they’ve got until their done cleaning the field and its back to reality,” Grissom said. “We’ve got to get back to it.”
Because just like Holuby’s catch, nothing is ever guaranteed in Foothill League baseball.