Thomas’ grand slam lifts Hart baseball over Saugus

Hart's Ryan Benz (15) slides safe under the throw to third base in the fourth inning against Saugus at Hart on Wednesday. Dan Watson/The Signal

While Hart baseball might not have been the first team to figuratively dent the scoreboard on Wednesday, they were the first team to physically dent it.

Kendall Thomas sent the ball over the right field fence in his first at-bat of the game. As it bounced off the scoreboard, Thomas rounded the bases, and so did Ryan Benz, Rocco Saldivar and David Holuby, as Thomas’ grand slam gave his team a three-run advantage that set up the Indians for a 10-3 win at Hart on Wednesday.

“I felt like I got every inch of that ball,” Thomas said of the grand slam, the first of his career. “I actually didn’t think it was going to go out off the bat, but I felt like I hit it pretty solid and I would be able to score a few runs, but I was happy to see that it went out.”

Saugus (3-7-1 overall, 1-4 in Foothill League) scored in the top of the first inning when Colton Fitzgerald was hit by an Ian Sockett pitch, driving in Hewitt Grissom.

Hart’s Thomas (24) rounds second base after hitting a grand slam in the first inning against Saugus at Hart on Wednesday. Dan Watson/The Signal

It was the only run Sockett allowed in the 3 1/3  innings he threw for. He also recorded two strikeouts and gave up two hits.

“In the first inning I lost my control a little bit, but after that, I found it and then I felt like I did really well in the later innings,” said Sockett, a junior.

The Indians got the scoring going again in the fourth inning. Saldivar was walked, allowing Angelo Lucchese, who was pinch running for Hunter Ventress, to score.

Hart (6-6, 2-3) picked up two more runs on sacrifice flies from Pat Arman and Holuby to bring the score to 8-1 by the end of the frame.

Saugus scored twice in the following inning. Hayden Trowbridge went home on a throw, then Jarrett Farmer hit an RBI single to cut the deficit to 8-3.

“We’re getting a couple hits here but we haven’t gotten that big hit where you know, we can have a breakout inning,” said Saugus coach Carl Grissom. “It’s been two runs, three runs, but we’re not getting a four-run, five-run inning. We haven’t had those all year long and so not saying that we need to have one, but it’d be nice to kind of break out of it and we just haven’t done it.”

Hart’s Isaac Kim, who is recovering from a hamstring injury, stepped in for his first at-bat of Foothill League play and cracked an RBI single to left field. He drove in Jakob Marquez, who had a double two at-bats earlier.

Saldivar is another Hart player just starting to make an impact in league play. After recently returning from a broken jaw, he went 1-for-2 at the plate with one RBI and two stolen bases.

Hart’s Rocco Saldivar (10) makes the tag for the out on Saugus baserunner Anthony Ramirez (44) in the fourth inning at Hart on Wednesday. Dan Watson/The Signal

“It just builds the entire team’s morale to see somebody injured get a hit at their first at-bat,” Sockett said. “And to see Rocco back and healthy, it’s really good.”

Holuby grounded out to score Saldivar in the sixth inning for the final run of the game.

Hart’s win comes two days after a 3-0 loss to Golden Valley. It was the Indians’ fourth-ever loss to the Grizzlies since the 2004-05 season, according to MaxPreps.com.

“They seemed to me to be a little bit more accountable for what they’ve been doing,” Hart coach Jim Ozella said of how his team approached Wednesday’s game.

“Some of them got on each other a little bit after Monday’s game and it was all a matter of hey, this is not how we do it. You need to be more accountable for what you do and it’s not just in the games, it’s in practice and everything. It seemed to have a little bit more of a sense of urgency today, which is good.”

Hart continues the series with Saugus at Saugus on Friday at 3:30 p.m.

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About the author

Haley Sawyer

Haley Sawyer

A Pennsylvania native, Haley Sawyer has covered sports across the country. She is a graduate of Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh and is the sports editor at The Signal.