West Ranch baseball rides defense, pitching to win over Saugus

West Ranch's Cade Nicol (6) throws a pitch during a game against Saugus at West Ranch on Friday, March 16, 2018. Nikolas Samuels/The Signal

West Ranch baseball’s outfield has a pair of twins, but with the way the Wildcats’ defense was clicking on Friday afternoon against Saugus, it’s easy to think that the trio’s chemistry is one of triplets.

The outfield combination of Ryan Camacho, Jovan Camacho and Garrett Monheim – along with some lights-out pitching from Cade Nicol – led the Cats to a 5-0 win over the Centurions at home.

“We made all our routine plays,” Ryan said. “We just want to work on keeping our infield and outfield consistent and make every play that we can possibly.

“… Our pitching game, it was phenomenal today again from Cade and he’s been having a bunch of great outings and we want to keep it going.”

West Ranch (7-2 overall, 1-1 in Foothill League) dented the scoreboard early, with Christos Stefanos driving in two runs on a single in the first inning.

West Ranch’s Alex Burge (22) bunts the ball during a game against Saugus at West Ranch on Friday, March 16, 2018. Nikolas Samuels/The Signal

In the next frame, Ryan Camacho’s RBI single pulled the Wildcats ahead 3-0 and a wild pitch brought it to 4-0 by the end of the frame.

All the while, Saugus (2-5-1, 0-2) struggled against West Ranch’s defense, only sending a runner to third base once in the entire game. The Cents’ Nolan Kutcher nearly homered in the first inning, but was denied after a quick catch from Ryan Camacho in right field.

“It’s just tough right now,” said first-year Saugus coach Carl Grissom. “It just seems like everything is not going our way and like I told them, it’ll change. I think we’re way too talented for it not to change.”

Centurion pitcher Brandyn Cruz, who committed to Cal State Northridge earlier this week, gave up four hits and recorded six strikeouts in five innings on the afternoon.

For the Cats, Nicol yielded four hits while striking out four before Trent Bird allowed one hit and struck out two in one inning of relief.

“It was exciting,” Nicol, who had his first Foothill League start on Friday, said. “There was a lot of adrenaline going through me and it felt good to get out there.”

West Ranch tacked on one final run in the fifth inning. Jovan Camacho reached first base on a walk, the stole second and reached third on an error to set the scene. Ryan Camacho hit a sacrifice fly to right field to send his brother home.

“I know he’s fast and so if I put the ball in play, I know he’s going to score anytime,” Ryan said. “So I’m confident in him.”

The Wildcats will play Calabasas on Monday, March 19 before resuming league play against Canyon at home on March 21. Saugus will host Hart on March 21.

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