Saugus Centurion softball won yet another tight battle in their annual joint senior night game with the Hart Indians at Newhall Park.
The Centurions won the game, 2-1, with the go-ahead RBI single from senior Sami Stadtlander.
Stadtlander batted 3-of-4 in the cleanup spot and brought in both runs for Saugus, with the first coming in the third inning to tie the score at 1-1.
“I was actually hoping that I would get to come up with that situation because I feel like I’m really good under pressure,” Stadtlander said. “I was just looking for something that I could drive through the middle, just a little single to help my team out.”
Hart took a 1-0 lead to start the game after an RBI single from Alexis Lopez. Saugus was in trouble with two on and no one out, and Centurion left fielder Kennedy Thompson made a fantastic diving catch to spark a double play. Saugus freshman pitcher Kona Ramsbottom struck out her next batter and escaped the inning with just a one-run deficit.
“The thing that we’ve learned with these pitchers is either one of them, they’re pretty even so it’s kind of like flipping a coin,” said Cents head coach Amanda Clark. “But when they’re rolling, they roll, so you can tell early on if they’re off. We didn’t get to see Taliya tonight but she’s just as great as Kona. So, Kona did fantastic and I’m super proud of her.”
Ramsbottom went all seven innings, allowing just five hits, one walk with seven strikeouts.
The freshman pitcher worked her way out of every jam after the first inning and stranded five Indian baserunners.
Hart showcased both of its star pitchers as senior Emily Marr got the start in the circle, before sophomore Allison Specht entered in the third with bases loaded. Specht struck out Savanna Smith to strand three Centurions and hold the game at 1-1.
“Emily’s been battling a flu bug for the last couple of days but she’s a senior and she wanted to tough it out,” said Hart head coach Steve Calendo. “But Ally did a great job coming in.”
The game-winning run was from senior Madison Campeau, who reached on a one-out infield single in the seventh. Specht struck out her next batter but heads-up baserunning got Campeau to third base before Stadtlander brought her senior in to score.
“It’s just crazy, especially considering my last three years here, I haven’t really played a big role on the team,” Stadtlander said. “I’m really glad that in my senior year now, it’s come full circle.”
Ramsbottom allowed just one baserunner in the seventh inning after an infield hit took a big hop at shortstop, but the freshman came up huge on senior night, forcing three pop flies in the bottom of the seventh to win the game.
“It was a good softball game,” Calendo said. “Both teams pitched well and played very well defensively … We didn’t do much offensively. The key players on our team just didn’t connect and it so happens we lost by one run.”
Saugus’ win marked the ninth straight senior night win over Hart, a winning tradition Clark is familiar with.
“Everyone’s here and the energy is just so awesome,” Clark said. “It puts me back in high school. It’s so crazy because we used to play these games at William S. Hart Park and it was the same thing, big crowds and everything. It’s so fun and I just like bleed blue. So, it’s like I just want our girls to just do so well and it’s great when you can walk away on senior night with the crowd here with a win.”
The Cents have now won four straight and split the season series with Hart after the Indians won their first matchup, 3-2, in extra innings.
Clark will aim to keep her team playing sharp throughout the final seven games of the season as Saugus looms near the top of the Foothill League.
The Centurions headed to Castaic on Friday at 3:15 p.m. for their first matchup of the year with the Coyotes. Hart will look to bounce back on Saturday when the team heads to West Ranch at 2 p.m.
“We can’t take any team lightly and we just have to stay focused,” Clark said. “If we keep that approach, we have to have that mentality in playoffs, too. So, we’re kind of just focusing and this was a perfect time for us to come together. We can see the turnaround. It’s apparent. So, we’re happy with that.”