Saugus Centurions baseball won its first Foothill League game of the year in a high-scoring matchup with the visiting Golden Valley Grizzlies on Wednesday.
The Centurions won 13-10, with most of the damage coming in a nine-run third inning eruption.
The Grizzlies (9-6, 0-5) answered in the sixth inning, bringing in seven runs to pull into striking distance, but fell just short on the road.
Saugus (3-12, 1-6) was led by senior TJ Cataldi, who went 3-for-3, with two doubles, including an extra-base hit to lead off the game. Five other Cents finished with multi-hit days, including Derek Hughes, who led the team with 4 RBI, while senior Zach Plasschaert went 2-of-4 with 3 RBI.
Centurions head coach Carl Grissom has seen his team struggle so far this season but may have finally seen his team break out of its rut.
“The way our season is going, we’re just happy to get a win,” Grissom said in a phone interview. “I think it was a breakout game. That was the most runs were scored this year. We finally hit the ball the way I have expected us to hit.”
Justin Rankin earned the win after five innings on the mound for Saugus. Rankin allowed five hits, three runs with three walks and two strikeouts.
Rankin was pulled with the game appearing in hand, with Saugus up 13-3.
However, Golden Valley exploded for a huge run of their own. The Grizzlies followed up a one-run fourth and a two-run fifth inning with a seven-run sixth inning.
Wyatt Crosby and Junior Alcarez led Golden Valley, each finishing 3-of-5 with a pair of RBI knocked in.
The Grizzlies entered the top of the seventh down three runs, the amount of baserunners the team stranded in the final inning. Golden Valley led off the inning with a walk before slowly loading the bases. Grissom felt a sigh of relief once Saugus forced a flyout from Crosby, knowing if the Cents could retire just one of the Grizzlies’ hot bats, Saugus would survive.
Golden Valley head coach Adrian Rios was impressed by a pair of his pitchers, who were forced into relief early in the game as the Saugus lead grew. Nathan Santiago and Kenan Mansilla combined for three innings of work with just one hit and one walk.
“We had Nathan Santiago come in, who doesn’t come in very often,” Rios said in a phone interview, “but he shut the door on the Saugus batters. We had another guy who was a JV pitcher last year, Kenan Mansilla. He has some velocity on his arm and was able to mix it up a little bit.”
Saugus exited the wild game with its first Foothill League win of the year. The game was originally slated to be played at Golden Valley but more weather issues moved the matchup to Saugus.
“We’ve been in a lot of games losing by two or three runs but we haven’t been able to hit,” Grissom said. “We pitched better than I thought we were going to pitch. If we can swing the bat and pick it up, that can push us to where we need to be. Hopefully the win was a precursor for what we need for the rest of the season.”
The Grizzlies will aim to even the series and notch their first league win of the year in round two with the Cents at Golden Valley on Friday at 3:30 p.m.
“We’re going into the meat of league,” Rios said. “My main goal is just staying above .500 and staying competitive. We play in a murderous league and we just have to be competitive.”