The Saugus baseball team hosted Golden Valley on Monday in a game that had been rescheduled from last Wednesday due to a rainout.
After a scoreless first two innings, the Centurions were able to secure a handful of runs in the third and fourth innings on their way to a 6-1 win over the Grizzlies.
The scoring started in the bottom of the third for Saugus (7-8-1 overall, 4-4 in Foothill League), with senior outfielder Nolan Kutcher hitting a single to get on base, then stealing second. Senior Hewitt Grissom then reached base on a Golden Valley fielding error, and also stole second.
Senior Jarrett Farmer blasted a single, scoring Kutcher and advancing Grissom to third. Farmer then became the third Centurion to steal second base in the inning, leading to senior Brandyn Cruz’s at-bat.
Cruz belted a base hit, scoring Grissom and Farmer to give Saugus a 3-0 lead, before being tagged out trying to stretch a single into a double.
“We got to swing it a little bit on Saturday and now we’re coming back here, getting our swings down, it’s nice to feel that swing,” said Kutcher, who went 4-for-4 with three singles, a triple, one RBI and two runs scored.
“A little bit more, that’s what I was telling them in our meeting,” Saugus head coach Carl Grissom said about his team’s bats opening up. “Today it was Nolan and I told them, ‘It’s not how we start it, it’s how we finish it.’ If we can get everybody going by the time we’re done, good things will be happening for them.”
The Centurions didn’t stop there, as they kept the pressure on the Grizzlies in the fourth inning.
After Golden Valley (6-9 overall, 1-7 in Foothill League) pitcher Bryant Colon struck out the first two batters he faced, senior catcher Dylan Murray got on base with a double, with the ball staying fair as it sailed near the left foul line.
Kutcher then came up with his third hit of the afternoon, a standing-triple that brought Murray home. Grissom was able to get one more run on the board, smashing a single that scored Kutcher.
With the offense clicking for Saugus, the defense and pitching took care of the rest.
Saugus pitcher Anthony Ramirez gave up just three hits in five scoreless innings pitched, striking out six batters.
The defense limited its errors, shutting down almost every opportunity Golden Valley had to score.
“We work a lot on defense, that’s my thing. We spend probably half our practice on defense,” Grissom said. “We tighten that up and make sure our pitchers are throwing strikes and we’re good.”
The Cents scored once more in the bottom of the sixth, starting with a single to right from senior Tyler Hovey, who then stole second. Junior Hayden Trowbridge came in as a pinch hitter and advanced Hovey to third with a single. A Golden Valley throwing error allowed Hovey to reach home, making the score 6-0.
Despite trailing, the Grizzlies kept fighting, putting themselves in a position to score on a couple of occasions.
In the top of the fifth, junior Joe Behan came up with a base hit, but was called out at second after Colon’s at-bat led to a fielder’s choice. Pinch hitter Brett McMahon struck out, then seniors Bryson James and Dylan Daszek were both walked, leading to a bases loaded scenario with two outs for junior Joshua Lee.
Lee flied out to end the inning, leaving three Grizzlies on base.
Golden Valley was able to score one run in the top of the seventh with two outs. Colon got on base with a single, then James delivered a base hit. A wild pitch from junior Shane Kinsley, who came in to close out the game, allowed both runners to advance a base. Another pitch that hit the dirt and scooted past Murray gave Colon the opportunity to reach home, giving Golden Valley its lone run.
Kinsley closed out the game with a strikeout, his third of the inning after striking out the first two batters he faced.
“It’s the game of baseball, it’s the way I was taught, it’s the way you’re supposed to play it and our kids are doing just that,” said Golden Valley head coach Matt Sorensen about his team continuing to battle.”
The Grizzlies will look to rebound against West Ranch, playing the Wildcats at home on Wednesday in the first of two games this week.
“We just got to be fundamentally sound. We’ve got to put more pressure on the defense, too many pop ups, we’re not putting the ball in play, so we’re punching out a little too much,” Sorensen said. “We’ll make adjustments, have a good day at practice and adjust.”
Saugus will play two games against Canyon this week, with the first matchup on Wednesday at Canyon High School.
The Centurions are looking to grab two more wins this week as they try and inch closer to the top of the Foothill League standings.
“We need these two wins this week so we can compete with the other two in front of us. We just need two dubs this week,” Kutcher said.
“I think we’re solid, but still the cream of the crop is Valencia and West Ranch, those are the teams we’re chasing. Until we can get to where they’re at, we’re still looking up at them,” Grissom said. “Canyon is a good team, don’t believe their record. I watched them play a couple games, they are a very good team. We got to go out there, treat them like anybody else and try and get the ‘W.’”
Both games are scheduled to start at 3:30 p.m.