Saugus playoff run ends in tough loss to Millikan

Michael Stell (16) of Saugus High slides head-first as he steals second base against Millikan High School at Saugus High on Friday, 061121. Dan Watson/The Signal
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By Nikash Nath 
For The Signal 

The Centurions’ underdog run came to an end Friday as Saugus High baseball fell 9-0 to Millikan in the teams’ quarterfinal matchup for the CIF Southern Section Division 3 playoffs. 

Despite the tough loss, Saugus head baseball coach Carl Grissom said the team had plenty of positives to take away as he looked ahead. 

“We’ve got a bright future,” Grissom said after the game. “We have to bottle up what we learned  from this season and move forward to next year.” 

Teammate Erik Polanco (5), left, looks on as Colin Yeaman (34) of Saugus High throws to first base against Millikan High School at Saugus High on Friday, 061121. Dan Watson/The Signal

After two playoff wins against Santa Barbara and Redlands, Saugus faced a Rams team that wasted no time getting on the scoreboard on its way to the semifinals. A first-inning home run was followed by another in each of the next four innings as the Cents struggled at the plate. 

By the fifth inning, the Centurions found themselves in a 7-0 deficit, unable to find the rhythm that got them to Friday’s showdown, and struggled with errors, passed balls and walks.  

With a chance to make a comeback in the bottom of the fifth with the bases loaded, Saugus would end up grounding out to end the inning.  

Dominic Cevallos (28) of Saugus High makes the catch against the wall on a long fly ball for the second out of the third inning against Millikan High School at Saugus High on Friday, 061121. Dan Watson/The Signal

The crosstown Hart High Indians will now have a chance to avenge on behalf of the Foothill League, as they’ll face the Rams after winning their quarterfinal road game on a walk-off home run in the eighth inning against Calabasas, 3-2, on Friday.  

While the season might not have ended how they wanted it to, the Saugus players were proud of how far the team had gone, defying expectations after finishing Foothill League play at 7-8 and 12-12 overall. 

“Words can’t describe how proud I am of this team,” said senior designated hitter Zach Plasschaert. “Nobody thought we would get this far, and I’m just unbelievably proud of this team.”  

Those planning to come back next year seemed to already be looking forward to next season’s prospects, with Plasschaert one of only two seniors and a plethora of young talent returning. 

Colin Yeaman (34) of Saugus High loses the ball as he tries to make the tag on Millikan High base runner Sam DeCarlo (17) at second base at Saugus High on Friday, 061121. Dan Watson/The Signal

“The other team just executed better than we did today,” said Saugus junior catcher Joey Cordola. “We didn’t put the bat on the ball as much as we should have. We have stuff we have to work on for next year and I’m excited.” 

This year’s group helped raise the bar high for next season, Grissom added. 

“Our goal is to always be competing in the playoffs and to win a state championship,” Grissom said. “With this young team we are just scratching the surface.”

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