West Ranch softball ends Saugus’ league winning streak in dramatic fashion

West Ranch softball's Mady Flatt gets the walkoff hit in a game against Saugus at West Ranch High School on Thursday, April 11. Haley Sawyer/The Signal

A little over two weeks after handing Valencia its first Foothill League loss since the 2016 season, West Ranch softball stunned once again by cutting Saugus’ undefeated league streak short.

Mady Flatt cracked the walk-off hit to seal the 6-5 win over the Centurions on Thursday at West Ranch.

“I just knew I needed to get a base hit because I had to pick up my team because they pick me up all the time,” Flatt said. “So I just went up there, base hit mentality, just like its batting practice, like, nothing special, just do what I do best and as soon as I saw it go through I was ecstatic.”

Heading into the bottom of the seventh trailing by one run, Adrienne Chang stepped to the plate and belted her second double of the day. Gianna Lombardi followed up with a single, then Delaney Bevan was intentionally walked to load the bases.

Julie Mennuti was walked in the next at-bat to get the Wildcats a run and tie the game, then Flatt executed her walk-off hit for the win.

West Ranch softball’s Mady Flatt makes the catch at first base in a game against Saugus at West Ranch High School on Thursday, April 11, 2019. Haley Sawyer/The Signal

“It feels really good,” Chang said of beating Saugus. “I think we had a lot of determination going into the game and a lot of fire in us because they beat us on their field, so we know that this is our home field and they’re not going to beat us here.”

The Wildcats (9-6 overall, 4-2 in Foothill League) were the first team to score, too. Lombardi hit an RBI double in the first inning to drive in leadoff hitter Sara Olsen.

Saugus (16-7, 5-1) countered with four runs in the second inning, three of which were brought in on an RBI single from Dallas Andrews and a two-run single from Gracie Keene.

“They’re a great hitting team and I know they’re great defensively as well, so we thought ‘Hey, they got those four runs,’” Chang said. “It was still early in the game and we knew that we could get those runs back.”

The Cents got enough runs back to tie the game. Bevan tripled off the wall before reaching home for another run in the second inning. She was hit by a pitch in the third to drive in another run, then Mennuti singled to drive in Lombardi.

The next three innings were scoreless as both teams looked solid, executing routine pop-ups and ground outs.

Saugus softball’s Libbie McMahan slides safely into second base in a game against West Ranch at West Ranch High School on Thursday, April 11, 2019. Haley Sawyer/The Signal

“Every day, defense is our key thing,” West Ranch coach Phil Giarizzo said. “We go two hours of defense, defense, defense until practice is over. And then we hit.”

In the seventh inning, the Cents’ McKenna Gibson was hit by a pitch to get on base, then Maya Avila bunted to move her to second. Allie Enright hit a double to drive in Avila and pull Saugus ahead 5-4.

In the bottom of the seventh, with a bases-loaded situation, Flatt delivered.

“We just really wanted to come out here and show what we can do because we’ve been practicing really hard since the fall,” Flatt said. “We just want to do what we do best and come out there and play as a team and play as girls that love to be out here.”

West Ranch next plays Thousand Oaks in the Thousand Oaks tournament on Saturday at 2 p.m. Saugus, which still sits in first place in league, looks to bounce back on Tuesday at home against Canyon at 3:15 p.m.

“They have a lot of fight in them,” Saugus coach Julie Archer said of her team. “If anything, this probably set a trigger for them, so they’ll keep working hard and I don’t think it’s going to affect us, we just have to regroup, work harder and just focus on the next game.”

Hart 11, Golden Valley 3

Aly Kaneshiro had three hits, two RBIs and three runs for the Indians. Kat Smudde had three hits, three RBIs and a run and Brooke Dragoloski tripled and had three RBIs. Bri De La Maza had two hits, two runs and one RBI.

Allison Howell pitched a complete game for Hart (12-8, 4-2), recording six strikeouts in the win.

The Indians next host Valencia at 3:15 p.m. on Tuesday and Golden Valley (2-13, 0-6) plays Atascadero on Saturday at 1 p.m.

Valencia 8, Canyon 1

Lani Paragas, Emma Bramson, Alexis De Young, and Delaney Scully all drove in runs in the seventh inning for the win.

Brianne Stone threw for seven innings, giving up one run on six hits while striking out two batters.

Paragas went 3-for-3 at the plate. The Vikings move to 18-6 overall and 4-2 in league with the win. Canyon is 2-17 and 1-5.

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