By Natalie Gilmore
For The Signal
Centurions Tony Jacob and Anthony Ramirez stepped up in the Valley Invitational Baseball League semifinal to lift Saugus baseball over Chatsworth 4-3 on Wednesday evening.
Leading his team at the plate, Jacob went 2-for-3 with a double, triple, and three RBIs. Ramirez pitched through seven innings of the Chatsworth lineup, but not without working to throw his best stuff and earning his six strikeouts.
Hosting the VIBL semifinal game, Chatsworth looked to repeat the 5-4 win the team recorded over Saugus just a few weeks earlier.
“Anthony pitched here a couple weeks ago and we lost 5-4. He pitched just as well as he did today but the defense made some mistakes behind him that cost us that game,” coach Carl Grissom said. “Today, we played pretty sound defensively. Anthony did great. He carried us.”
Saugus was first on the board when the third inning brought the top of the order up to bat. Hewitt Grissom got on base after a hit-by-pitch and moved over to third on a single to right field by Andrew Sharp. A throwing error from the right-fielder sent Grissom across the plate for the first run of the game. Then, Jacob stepped up to the plate and knocked a triple to the right field wall that scored Sharp and gave Saugus a 2-0 lead.
Chatsworth fought back in the fourth inning, hitting a single, double and forcing a walk on a controversial pitch to load the bases. Ramirez dug deep and struck out the next batter looking. Chatsworth’s Castellanos entered the box and hit a double to the wall in center field that cleared the bases and stole the lead 3-2.
The top of the order kicked off a big fifth inning for Saugus. Nolan Kutcher drew a walk to reach first and jogged to second base when Grissom was hit by the pitch for the second time in the game. Jacob came up big once again when he hit a double over the right fielder’s glove to knock in the two runners and swipe the lead back from Chatsworth, 4-3.
Ramirez helped to retire the side in the bottom of the fifth and shut Chatsworth out for the remaining two innings.
“It was a great team win,” Ramirez said. “I just tried to come out and throw strikes, let them put the ball in play and let my defense get the outs.”
Saugus moves on to the VIBL championship game against El Camino High hosted at Burroughs High. The game is slated for 7 p.m. on Saturday.
“We have a long way to go. Making it to the championship doesn’t mean much. We want to win it,” coach Grissom said. “Might as well be rewarded for getting this far and playing all summer in the heat, so we’re gonna go out and do our best in the championship.”