Blasting a three-run home run to center field in the top of the second, Makayla Lopez set the tone for the Centurions’ 16-5 win over West Ranch at West Ranch on Thursday.
“Honestly, I was just trying to get a base hit for my team,” Lopez said. “I wasn’t trying to hit a home run or anything because we just need base hits right now and I just tried to get my bat on the ball and calm my body down and it worked out for me.”
Heading into the bottom of the second, it looked like the home run from Saugus (19-9 overall, 6-4 in Foothill League) was going to spoil the Wildcats’ senior day.
West Ranch senior Kailey Bevan had other plans. With the bases loaded, Bevan hit a two-run single to get the Wildcats within one run, 3-2.
“Once it went through, I was like ‘Yes we finally got to score some runs’ and I was glad that I was able to help,” Bevan said.
The next two batters, Sara Olson and Chandler Felan, both hit RBI singles to bring in one run each to give West Ranch (16-10, 2-8) the 4-3 lead with one out in the inning.
Saugus head coach Julie Archer decided to switch pitchers and bring in Leslie Reynaga for Malia Risdall.
“Malia was a little off and we made a couple mistakes behind her too,” Archer said. “…But then we just wanted to change momentum and go with a different pitcher so it was great having Leslie. They are both great pitchers so if one is having an off day then we can go with the other one.”
Allowing one more run in the inning on a sacrifice groundout to Makenna Harper, putting the Wildcats up 5-3, Reynaga was able to keep the Wildcats at bay the rest of the game as she allowed one more hit the rest of the way.
It wasn’t until the fifth that the Saugus bats woke up.
Scoring 13 runs in the top of the fifth, Hayley Mihut, Taylor Tonoian, McKenna Gibson and Maya Avila all had an RBI in the inning, while Isabella Alvarez had two RBIs and Jessica Cordola hit two doubles bringing in a whopping five runs in the two at-bats that she had in the inning.
In the middle of the fifth, Saugus stretched their lead to 16-5.
“This is probably the strongest one through fifteen that I’ve ever had,” Archer said. “I have girls that are on the bench that should be starters on other teams, so I love that I can go with anybody on this team and have a great game because I trust everyone single one of them.”
Since it was senior day for the Wildcats, coach Phil Giarrizzo kept the huddle going for longer than usual as the whole team shared a couple words about the season and the seniors that might have played their last game in a West Ranch uniform.
“Every one of them was tearing up as they were talking,” Giarrizzo said. “… And they thought it was a bad thing, but I said ‘No. It’s a very good thing.’ Because it showed how close you are to each other and how you all bonded and support each other and with everyone tearing up like that, it really tells a story.”
The Centurions finish third in Foothill League play and head to the playoffs, while the fifth-place Wildcats hope to get a wild-card spot.
Golden Valley 5, Hart 1
Cassidy Cangemi finished the game with 14 strikeouts. Sophia Medellin went 2-for-2 with an RBI an Nicole Smart went 2-for-4. Jasmine Carbajal and Alexis DeYoung both went 1-for-3 with an RBI each.
Valencia 9, Canyon 1