Ahead of his first appearance on the mound in a varsity Foothill League game, West Ranch pitcher Scott Bauman, naturally, had some nerves. But when he struck out the first batter he faced on Wednesday in a game against Saugus, the nerves instantly began to dissipate.
“After that first batter, it really helped everything because, you know, I was wondering how I’m going to do, how my pitches are gonna work and just have I threw three different pitches to that one batter and just to have them all execute was really just a nerve-calmer,” Bauman said.
Bauman continued to be steady on the mound throughout the game as the Wildcats beat the Centurions 7-2 at West Ranch to open up Foothill League play.
In six innings, Bauman recorded nine strikeouts while giving up two hits. James Hepp came in in relief and logged three strikeouts and gave up one hit.
“Every game that he’s pitched in he’s given us an opportunity to win and so I thought even though this is kind of his big first foothill league game, he’s been red hot as a pitcher,” said Cats coach Casey Burrill. “He threw several pitches for strikes. He did a great job of really keeping the other players on the other side off balance.”
West Ranch was able to hold Saugus scoreless for the first two innings while putting up four for themselves.
Ryan Farr hit a sacrifice fly to drive in Nick Perez, then Brandon Wyre, who originally got on base with a single, stole home to give the Wildcats a 2-0 advantage in the first inning. Perez hit an RBI single in the second inning to extend the lead and Jake Callahan scored on a wild pitch to make it 4-0 by the end of the second frame.
The Centurions’ Keenan Egan put up a run for his team when he scored on a wild pitch.
Blake Schroeder came up with a big hit in the bottom of the third inning, cracking a two-run single that drove in Ryan Farr and DJ Tsukashima and gave the Cats a 6-1 advantage.
“I really liked the way our offense clicked today because, of course, we have not been offensive this year, so maybe it’s a game like this that could kind of maybe give us a little bit of mojo and move it forward,” Burrill said.
The Wildcats scored once more in the fifth inning as Matt Striplin hit an RBI single to get Tsukashima his third run of the day.
Six different Saugus pitchers saw time on the mound on Wednesday afternoon. Coach Carl Grissom said that will likely be the pattern for the foreseeable future, as the Centurions return just two players from last year’s team.
“They’re gonna have to play these games,” Grissom said. “I’m hoping that, you know, they’ll get force-fed a lot faster and kind of start the maturation process a little quicker, but we’re just very young.”
West Ranch and Saugus will meet again on Friday at 3 p.m. at Saugus High School.