As soon as West Ranch’s Will Chambers heard the crack of his bat making contact with the ball, he put his head down and bolted.
“I knew I hit it and I didn’t know what happened (after),” he said. “I just tried to get down the line as quick as I could.”
As he trekked from base to base, Chambers missed the sight of the ball careening over the right-field fence – and taking Saugus right fielder Cole Gallagher with it as the football-turned-baseball player jumped head-first over the fence in an attempt to make the catch.
The sight was just a taste of the emotion in the Wildcats’ 8-3 win over Saugus on Friday at West Ranch.
Chambers’ third-inning, two-run home run was preceded by a two-run double by fellow Wildcat Evan Gellatly.
In the fourth frame, Ryan Camacho put West Ranch up 5-0 with a two-run triple.
The scoring spree seemed to break the curse of some dismal at-bats that followed the Cats (14-8 overall, 6-3 in Foothill League) since their return from spring break.
“We have not won a game this year by having our offense carry us,” said West Ranch coach Casey Burrill. “And so we got a little bit of that today … As rough as the offense has been, we’re going to need more offensive performances like that. Hopefully, this put us in the right direction.”
Cade Nicol provided plenty of support on the mound, throwing a complete game for the first time in his varsity career. He logged seven strikeouts while giving up seven hits in seven innings.
He finished out his final inning strong, despite taking a ball to his lower left leg off a hit from a Saugus batter.
“The adrenaline right now is helping it not hurt, but I’m sure it’ll be hurting later,” Nicol said of his leg. “Pitch calling was amazing today (by) Jim Wagner and it just feels great having my first complete game.”
Saugus (10-8-1, 5-4) dented the scoreboard in the fifth inning on an RBI single from Brandyn Cruz. West Ranch’s Jovan Camacho countered with an RBI double in the bottom of the stanza, but the Centurions couldn’t be quieted just yet.
Hewitt Grissom homered in the sixth inning to drive in two more runs.
“My team is never going to give up and it’s just, we gave them too many opportunities today,” said Saugus coach Carl Grissom.
“…I’ve got to give (West Ranch) credit. They came out, they were very focused and we matched it for a little bit and we made mistakes and they capitalized.”
With the win, the Wildcats take the Foothill League series against the Cents 2-1 and move into the second-place spot in the Foothill League behind Hart.
“Now it’s a whole different game,” Chambers said. “We’re a different team after that game. We’re a different group of guys. It’s just really going to throw us into a win streak instead of being down on ourselves and kicking the dirt.”
West Ranch travels to Canyon on Wednesday for its next game, while Saugus hosts St. Bonaventure on Saturday, then Hart on Wednesday.