By Justin Vigil-Zuniga
Signal Sports Writer
West Ranch baseball (7-7, 4-0) won their fifth game in a row after beating Saugus (4-9, 0-4).
The Wildcats are on fire heading into the bulk of league play while the Centurions are struggling to get going, coincidentally dropping five in a row.
West Ranch starting pitcher Jake Schwartz held Saugus in check throughout his 5 2/3 innings of work. The senior struck out five and made it near impossible for the Centurions to rally.
“When we are throwing strikes and playing defense, we are playing a really good brand of baseball,” said West Ranch head coach Ryan Lindgreen.
Saugus would again be the bearer of unfortunate errors on defense and West Ranch made them pay every time.
The Centurions showed their worst and best consecutively. First, a routine ground-out pass was shanked from third baseman Justin Rankin, scoring one West Ranch run. Rankin the next play led the 6-3 double play.
Wildcats Brett Potter and DJ Tsukashima had back-to-back RBI doubles in the third to extend their lead to three runs.
“[My] swing’s feeling good right now,” said Potter. “I’m seeing the ball really well. Biggest deal is I just want to put the ball in play.”
The duo led the team as Potter finished 3-3 and Tsukashima hit 2-3 at the plate.
Then the Cats got a huge boost in the fourth from leadoff man Jake Callahan, who launched a two-run homer past right field to take a 6-1 lead.
Schwartz was pulled in the sixth after getting in a jam. Relief pitcher Kaden Deck would also struggle to end the Centurion rally and walked three straight batters to cut the lead to two runs.
Saugus starting pitcher Paul Galaviz would go all six innings for the Centurions. Galaviz took the momentum into the bottom of the sixth and retired the side.
“I thought the pitching was great,” said Saugus head coach Carl Grissom. “I thought Paul pitched his butt off. If we don’t have those errors behind him, we have a win today.”
Lindgreen would call upon closer Michael Taylor for the save. Taylor forced two flyouts before giving up a hit to right fielder Carson Panarisi. But Saugus’ tying run at the plate couldn’t get on base and West Ranch emerged victorious.
Saugus has struggled to score in Foothill League action. This mixed with the errors sums up the team’s woes. Catcher Michael DeSantiago’s RBI groundout in the third was the team’s first league RBI and league run scored this season.
The Wildcats have a few days off before a league series with the Vikings starting Wednesday at Valencia (5-7, 3-1) and then Friday at West Ranch. The Centurions will move onto a series with the other undefeated Foothill League team in Hart (8-6, 2-0). Saugus will travel to Hart Wednesday and host the Indians Friday. All games are slated for 3:30 p.m.