Trailing Saugus 1-0 at the end of the second inning, the energy and excitement from the Canyon dugout never wavered.
Teammates cheered on one another, whether it was a batter at the plate or pitcher Charles Harrison on the mound, the encouragement never stopped.
The camaraderie paid off, as Canyon was able to score four runs in the top of the third inning to secure a 4-1 victory at Saugus on Friday afternoon.
“They got on us early, they did their job and scored a run against a very good pitcher, but I never felt any doubt in this dugout,” Canyon head coach Justin Stark said. “They all had their heads up and they were all positive. We had not had that all year and it was good to see that. The energy throughout the game in the dugout and on the field, you couldn’t ask for better communication between the players. They were all having a good time.”
The big play of the day came off the bat of junior Noah Blythe, who for the second game in a row launched a three-run home run, giving Canyon (4-12 overall, 3-7 in Foothill League) momentum and the lead.
The scoring started with senior third baseman Matt Garcia getting on base with a walk. Sophomore second baseman Brandon Whiting singled and junior catcher Tyler DeYoung hit a long fly ball that was caught at the wall, but allowed Garcia and Whiting to advance to third and second, respectively.
Blythe stepped up to the plate with two outs and swung at the first pitch he saw, smashing the ball over the left field wall.
“I’ve been working really hard the best couple of weeks and it’s finally paying off,” Blythe said with a smile.
“I told him, ‘Maybe I should have sat you a game earlier.’ I think that lit a fire under him,” Stark said about his center fielder. “It’s going to be hard to stop that kid, the way he’s been swinging it, the way he’s been dialed in at practice. It’s fun to watch.”
The Cowboys didn’t stop there, as sophomore Justin Powell got on base with a double, then senior Cebastian Arriaga hit a single and was credited with an RBI because Powell was obstructed as he tried to make his way to home plate.
Leading 4-1, Harrison took care of the rest, allowing only four hits in a complete game and recording 10 strikeouts in the process.
“It makes it so much easier, giving us run support it allows us to feel up the zone and attack hitters,” Harrison said. “I felt it right away. My fastball, I could spot it up everytime and I had great control of my offspeed today.”
“He puts on a show. Him and Tyler (DeYoung), it’s fun to watch those two work together. Tyler deserves more credit, he calls a hell of a game out there,” Stark said. “Watching Charles on the mound, that’s a competitor. There’s a reason why he’s going to UCLA, he competes no matter what. His curveball today was unreal. I think people in the stands got to see something special.”
Saugus (8-9-1, 5-5) scored its lone run in the bottom of second inning, starting with a single from second baseman Jacob Beauchamp, followed by a successful bunt from left fielder Tyler Hovey. Beauchamp was able to reach third base on a Canyon error and scored off a sacrifice fly from right fielder Justin Austel.
Senior Anthony Ramirez started on the mound for Saugus, giving up five hits and four earned runs in three innings pitched.
“He’s not an excuse-maker, if he makes a bad pitch, he’ll own it. I have total confidence in him. Next time he’ll come out, he’ll be just fine,” Saugus head coach Carl Grissom said. “Just got to turn the page, nothing we can do about it now. We got a game tomorrow against Santa Monica, try to get back on the horse. Just turn the page and have better at-bats tomorrow.”
Saugus will travel to Santa Monica for an 11 a.m. start time, while Canyon will play in the Santa Ynez Spring Break Tournament starting on Tuesday at 3 p.m.
Both teams will return to league action on Friday, April 12, with Saugus taking on Valencia at home and Canyon hitting the road to face Golden Valley.