Cents tie St. Francis in extra-inning VIBL game

Nolan Kutcher high-fives Jacob Beauchamp at home plate. Austin Dave/The Signal

Running out of daylight and baseballs, Saugus took on the St. Francis in a thrilling three and a half hour, eight-inning Valley Invitational Baseball League (VIBL) game at Saugus on Monday.

In a game that showcased Saugus’ resiliency and never-give-up attitude, the Cents came back two different times in a game that ended in a 12-12 tie.

“I was glad that we came back,” Saugus head coach Carl Grissom said. “I was disappointed that we gave up the lead, so right now, it’s just focus. We need to focus. We have some young guys here and we make some mistakes and if we can get them to focus for seven inning, we will be a lot better heading into the season.”

Jumping out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning, the Cents looked like they provided starting pitcher Jonathan Bahr enough run support for him to operate smoothly.

“Our bats were pretty good out of the gates and it really gave me some easy confidence and took my nerves down a little bit,” Bahr said. “It just really helped me stay in the zone, stay focused and it was just me and the glove.”

Getting another three runs to cross the plate in the second inning, things looked good for the Cents as they led 5-1 heading into the top of the third.

In the third, Bahr ran into some trouble. Allowing the first batter of the inning to reach base safely, Bahr got the next two batters to pop up and ground out.

With two outs and a runner on third, a Golden Knight batter connected with a ball that was crushed into centerfield for a two-run home run.

Regaining his composure, Bahr struck the out the next batter to get out of the inning.

“He’s young left-handed pitcher and he gets into situations where at the JV level he can dominate, but up here is a completely different animal,” Grissom said, “so some of the balls that he thought he could get by guys there doesn’t happen here and they will take it out and that’s what happened this afternoon.”

Pitching through the fourth inning, Bahr ended the day giving up three runs on four hits, while striking out five and walking three.

In the fifth inning, the Golden Knights were able to take the lead after six of the first seven batters reached base safely and scoring four.

Down 7-5, Saugus never gave up.

In the bottom half of the inning, the Saugus bats returned the favor thanks to Brandon Stell’s RBI sacrifice fly scoring a run and Hewitt Grissom’s RBI triple into right field.

The Cents regained the lead 8-7.

Heading into the final frame of the game, the Cents looked like they would squeak out a one-run win, but once again in dramatic fashion, the Golden Knights scored five runs to go up 12-8 with half an inning left to play.

Down 12-9, after a wild pitch that brought it Nolan Kutcher from third, Hayden Trowbridge stepped to the plate.

With the bases loaded and two outs, Trowbridge smashed a bases-clearing double to bring in three runs and tie the game at 12-12.

“My hitting and fielding have been on and off, so I’ve been putting a lot of effort into focusing on those things,” Trowbridge said. “…It felt really good after that big hit in the seventh.”

Trowbridge ended the day going 3-for-5 with four RBIs in the game.

“He’s playing outstanding,” Grissom said. “He made some mistakes because he’s young but when we needed him to come through this summer he seemed to come through. It’s just a process but I expect big things from him.”

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