Saugus baseball defeats West Ranch behind strong pitching performance

Saugus pitcher Bobby Garcia prepares to throw a pitch in a game against West Ranch on Monday at West Ranch. Haley Sawyer/The Signal
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On Sunday, Saugus pitcher Bobby Garcia was on a college visit when he received a text message saying that his team’s game against West Ranch had been moved. To the next day.

He usually throws his bullpens two days in advance. For this game, that wasn’t an option. But Garcia made it work, using the college’s facilities to prepare.

The results were just as good on Monday as they could have been on any other day of the week. Garcia pitched 6 2/3 innings, only allowing one run in the Cents’ 3-1 win over the Wildcats at West Ranch.

“I feel awesome,” Garcia said. “I was working as hard as I can and got a little tired at the end, but thankfully Anthony (Ramirez) came in and was able to shut the door and we got the ‘W.’”

Saugus baseball’s Hayden Trowbridge safely reaches first base after attempting to steal second in a game against West Ranch on Monday at West Ranch. Haley Sawyer/The Signal

Ramirez closed out the game, taking over after the Cats’ Ryan Camacho was able to hit a double off of Garcia, driving in Jovan Camacho for West Ranch’s only run of the game.

Ramirez cleaned up, forcing Garrett Monheim to pop out to end the game.

Saugus (3-5-1 overall, 1-2 in Foothill League) was able to start the game strong, too, scoring two runs in the first inning. Nolan Kutcher was walked, Hewitt Grissom bunted and Jacob Beauchamp was hit by a pitch to load the bases.

Tony Jacob hit a sacrifice fly to score Kutcher, then Jarrett Farmer reached first on an error to put two runs on the board for the Centurions.

“We haven’t scored at all. That’s been the problem,” said Saugus coach Carl Grissom. “We lost 3-1 the first game to Valencia and 2-1 the second game and just haven’t been scoring. Haven’t figured out a way to put the ball in play and today we executed and got the ball in play and got a couple runs.”

West Ranch pitcher JD Callahan throws the ball to first in an attempt to pick off a Saugus runner in a game at West Ranch on Monday. Haley Sawyer/The Signal

JD Callahan replaced Connor Harrison at pitcher for West Ranch (5-3, 2-1) in the following inning. Callahan proceeded to throw four innings, giving up two hits and one run, while recording six strikeouts.

The one run given up came at the hands of Grissom. In the fifth inning, Grissom hit an RBI triple that scored Kutcher and gave the Cents a 3-0 advantage.

“My approach to the plate was just to put it in play because lately we’ve been struggling offensively, so it just felt good to put it in play, especially in the gap and with Nolan’s speed to reach home and get the RBI after that,” Grissom said.

West Ranch’s defense was able to hold Saugus scoreless for the remainder of the game, with Trent Bird taking the mound for the last two innings. The offense picked it up too, as the Cats were able to string together hits in the fifth and sixth innings, but were only able to produce a run on Ryan Camacho’s RBI double.

“I thought we were a little bit more patient,” West Ranch coach Casey Burrill said. “We were finding some pitches that were over the plate rather than chasing some off. And I’m a little surprised we didn’t score more runs today, but kudos to Garcia and to that defense over there. They played real well. They know they deserved to win today.”

Saugus baseball’s Nolan Kutcher walks back to the dugout after scoring a run on a triple from teammate Hewitt Grissom in a game on Monday at West Ranch. Haley Sawyer/The Signal

Garcia was able to get himself out of a tough spot in the sixth inning. After two Wildcats were hit by a pitch on fastballs, Garcia gathered himself to strike out Trey Topping, then force Ryan Tucker to pop out to close out the inning.

Just like they were able to support him with runs in the first inning, Garcia’s teammates were able to support him while on the field with him.

“We just try to play defense behind his back and I try to scream in his ear at short, just calm down and make good pitches and get in front of the batters and that’s pretty much it,” Grissom said.

Saugus looks to keep the momentum going as they continue the series against West Ranch on Friday at Saugus with game time slated for 3 p.m.

“The league is going to come down to a scramble at the end,” Burrill said. “We thought we didn’t catch some breaks, we thought we had a chance to execute a few times and didn’t.

“And now, Friday’s game to us becomes real important.”

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