Saugus softball takes tournament win for undefeated start

Saugus softball celebrates winning the Hart Tournament to open the 2020 season. // Photo courtesy Saugus Athletics.
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The game may be softball, but Saugus has been playing hardball, giving little in the way of mercy to their opponents, which has propelled them to an undefeated start to the 2020 season.

“You can’t ask for a better start,” said head coach Julie Archer. “I’m really excited because we’re 5-0 and that’s obviously a good start to the season.”

Of course, the Centurions are undefeated to this point. They have not scored less than four runs and allowed no more than three runs in each of the first five games of the season. 

“We’ve been competing against some good teams but we’re playing well against good teams,” Archer said. “Our offense has been really strong in every game we’ve had so far this season. Everything seems to be coming together really well right now.”

The strong Centurions’ offense won the Hart Tournament to kick off their 2020 season. Throughout the four-game stretch, the girls scored 24 runs. They scored an additional eight runs in a separate game at Chatsworth.

“Anytime you can win any tournament it’s a good thing. It just gives that extra confidence to the team,” Archer said.

More: Foothill League baseball teams start seasons off with a bang

They capped off the tournament with a dominant showing over Calabasas High School. Saugus defeated the Coyotes 10-3 in the championship round of the tournament.

However, it wasn’t a perfect game for Saugus. They went down 3-0 early on and had to show some resilience to come back and win the game. Archer attributes the ability to power through an early deficit to strong leadership from the upperclassmen on her team.

“We have great leadership this year,” Archer said. “These kids are juniors and seniors and they know how to handle adversity and don’t let it get to them. I think that helps them in games where we may fall behind. They just played the game and trusted the process and we came up on top.”

The team is led by seniors Libbie McMahan at shortstop, Dallas Andrews in centerfield and Bella Alvarez at second base. They are the cornerstone of the level of maturity and level-headedness the Centurions have built.

“They do a really good job of pushing the group but also staying loose and having fun. They’re very competitive but also bring a fun spirit to the group,” Archer said.

Another key piece to Saugus’ success has been sophomore pitcher Alyssa Ramirez. She is a crucial part of the team and was awarded the Hart Tournament MVP. She pitched 18 innings throughout the tournament. She recorded 16 strikeouts and only 3 earned runs off of 13 hits.

Alyssa Ramirez poses with her trophy after earning MVP honors at the Hart Tournament. // Photo courtesy Saugus Athletics.

“She seems like a junior or senior,” Archer said of Ramirez’s demeanor. “She doesn’t let anything get to her. She kind of has that stoic game face all the time. She’s definitely a tough kid.”

The Centurions will look to continue their perfect start when they travel to Bullhead City, Arizona. They will be competing in the Tournament of Champions, hosted by Mohave High School. 

“That tournament’s pretty tough,” Archer said. “I’m excited to see what we do there.”

Saugus will be joined in Bullhead City by its crosstown rival, Valencia. The tournament will begin on March 3. Matchups have yet to be announced.

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