By Natalie Gilmore
For The Signal
Not even the blistering heat of a Southern California summer can keep the members of the Foothill League away from the baseball diamond. In the heat of the day, Hart traveled to Saugus’ home field for an eight-inning VIBL contest that ended in a tie.
The evening continued with high heat and the Indians’ bats were no exception. After the first half inning, Hart had a four-run lead over the Centurions. Right-handed pitcher Peter Bracker shut out Saugus through four innings and the Indian offense added a few extra to push the lead to 6-0.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, Saugus coach Carl Grissom called on Justin Austel to start a rally for his team, and rally they did. With a six-run deficit, Austel knocked a double down the right field line. The rising senior was moved into scoring position after a sacrifice bunt by Dylan Murray and drove home when pitcher Jarrett Farmer singled up the middle.
The rally continued through the top of the order and the Centurions batted around to bring Austel to the batters box once more. Austel smacked a base hit down the left field line for his second hit and the Centurions’ seventh RBI of the fifth inning. Hart escaped to the dugouts trailing Saugus, 7-6.
“Justin Austel is a tireless worker. I’m happy to see him click more, he needed that,” Grissom said.
The Indians got on the board in the sixth after Boggs reached first on a passed ball. Cooper Austin crushed an RBI double into deep left field to move Boggs to third. Soon after, Boggs slid home on a wild pitch to tie the score at seven.
The teams went back and forth in the final innings with Saugus firing back in the bottom of the sixth, scoring Farmer on a passed ball.
In the top of the seventh, Hart’s Rocco Saldivar hit a leadoff single to left field. After safely stealing second, the third baseman was knocked home when Kyle Smisko singled to right center. The teams played an eighth inning to determine a winner but settled for an 8-8 draw.
“This is how summer games are. There are some good days and some not so good days. In the first four innings, we saw how we can control the game. We want to do that for all seven innings. We’re a work in progress,” Hart coach Jim Ozella said.