Saugus softball's McKenna Gibson swings the bat in a game against Buena in the first round of the CIF-Southern Section Division 1 playoffs on Thursday at Saugus. Haley Sawyer/The Signal

Saugus softball falls to Buena in first round of playoffs

The Saugus softball team saw its season come to an abrupt end on Thursday.

Before the seventh inning, the Centurions were trailing Buena by two runs. Despite getting runners on base, Saugus was still waiting on a big hit to break open the game. They huddled before the bottom of the seventh and broke on “family.”

“We just wanted to put the ball in play and score some runs,” said Saugus’ Allie Enright. “I think the batters that came up did a good job of that, but we couldn’t get that clutch hit and score the run.”

With a total of nine runners left on base, the Cents lost 3-1 to the Bulldogs in the first round of the CIF-Southern Section Division 1 playoffs at Saugus.

“We left a ton of runners on base today and unfortunately we just couldn’t get that clutch hit to get us going,” said Saugus coach Julie Archer. “I feel like we hit well, we just weren’t able to get that final clutch hit each inning.”

Saugus softball’s Allie Enright watches the ball after a hit in a game against Buena in the first round of the CIF-Southern Section Division 1 playoffs on Thursday at Saugus. Haley Sawyer/The Signal

In the second inning, McKenna Gibson had the first hit of the game for Saugus (20-8) with a double. Two at-bats later, Allie Enright cracked an RBI double down the first baseline that escaped Buena’s first baseman and drove in Gibson.

“I was just thinking put the ball in play,” Enright, who went 2-for-3 with two doubles, said. “Score the runner because there was a runner in scoring position and hopefully get a run on the board and that happened.”

The Bulldogs (19-7) put up three runs in the third inning. Lauren Albrent singled to get on base, then Kamryn Luceford followed up with a single of her own to move Albrent to second.

Rylee McDaniel hit an RBI double next, then Gracie Saad hit a two-run double.

Saugus softball’s Kayden Ponek slides into third base in a game against Buena in the first round of the CIF-Southern Section Division 1 playoffs on Thursday at Saugus. Haley Sawyer/The Signal

“It sucks that they scored the runs but I think offensively we just wanted to put the ball in play, score some runs and hopefully someone got that clutch hit,” Enright said.

After the third, Saugus pitcher Malia Risdall took over for Leslie Reynaga, who recorded four strikeouts while allowing five hits, in the circle. Across four innings, Risdall allowed two hits and struck out none.

“They’ve been doing that all year with each other, so she did a good job of coming in and holding them down, so I was very proud of her performance today,” Archer said of Risdall.

Risdall was backed by a defense that retired the side in two of the final four innings. Center fielder Dallas Andrews made a diving catch for a pop out in the sixth inning, while also going 3-for-4 with a bunt as the Cents’ leadoff hitter.

Saugus softball’s Dallas Andrews makes a diving catch in a game against Buena in the first round of the CIF-Southern Section Division 1 playoffs at Saugus on Thursday. Haley Sawyer/The Signal

“She played a really big role, especially on defense and offense because she would get big hits or bloopers in holes, but she definitely saved me on a couple of plays,” Risdall said. “If it weren’t for her catches, I probably would have gotten a little screamed at, but she saved me.”

Saugus will lose four seniors to graduation after this Foothill League title-winning season, including Reynaga and Risdall, but are looking forward to another good run next season.

“Obviously, the four seniors, it’s going to be tough to replace them, but we do have a younger good group as well,” Archer said. “We’re young, just learning from this and moving forward and coming back next season even stronger.”

Pacifica 6, Valencia 1

The Vikings (20-9) opened up the scoring in the first inning with an RBI single from Delaney Scully on an 0-2 count. Pacifica (17-3-1) scored two runs in the third inning, then four in the sixth to seal the win.

Pacifica pitcher Julia Cabral allowed three hits and one run while striking out three in seven innings. For Valencia, Emma Montoya threw for 2 1/3 innings, giving up two hits and two runs.

Macayla Paragas, Cheyanne Marder and Scully each collected one hit.

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