Saugus softball wins windy battle at Hart 

Saugus second baseman Avery Salazar (8) is celebrated by teammates after scoring a home run during the fifth inning of Thursday's game against Hart at Hart High School on March 14. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal
Share on facebook
Share
Share on twitter
Tweet
Share on email
Email

Saugus Centurions softball prevailed on Thursday in a battle against the wind and the hosting Hart Indians. 

The Centurions played stellar defense, rallied at the plate and were solid in the circle en route to the 8-1 victory.  

Leading the charge on offense was sophomore shortstop Savanna Smith, who put the icing on top of the win and her standout day in the seventh inning when she went yard.  

“I was a little high because I was already 2-for-3,” Smith said. “So I thought, I can shoot for the fences now, I have nothing to lose.” 

Saugus shortstop Savanna Smith (5) runs to home plate during the fifth inning of Thursday’s game against Hart at Hart High School on March 14. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal

Smith spearheaded the attack on Hart (7-5, 0-3) at the plate as she finished 3-for-4 with three RBI. Saugus (7-6, 2-2) hit well and Smith was one of several Centurions who were able to jump on top of Hart ace Allison Specht. 

“Ally’s great and you never know because they’re all friends outside of high school,” said Saugus coach Amanda Clark. “They play travel ball and they’ve grown up together, they know each other so well. So they want to go after each other and she knows us well. So you just never know how it’s going to be but they attacked today. Their approach at the plate was excellent. We did have to play the bunt game a little bit to get going but it worked and then they started driving the ball.” 

Junior Avery Salazar started off the home run party in the fifth inning after firing a two-run shot out to left field. The junior also added an RBI double in the seventh. 

Avery Salaza walks back to the dugout after celebrating a home run with her teammates during the fifth inning of Thursday’s game against Saugus at Hart High School on March 14. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal

Smith and Hawaii commit Kennedy Thompson both finished 2-for-3 at the plate for Saugus.  

Thompson also made a huge impact in centerfield, where she was able to make a pair of diving, highlight-reel catches in the wind to hold the Hart offense scoreless through five innings. 

“The wind was swirling, blowing in and forward,” Clark said. “So, what looked like it was going to be an easy catch, they had to keep going and dive. We have a really fast outfield and they make those plays a lot, saving runs all day. (Thompson) is phenomenal. She’s got great base running. She’s fast, a leader on the team, she’s fun to coach.” 

Saugus sparked its first rally in the third inning thanks to a leadoff single from senior Jasmine Reyes. Smith brought in Reyes a few at-bats later, and also helped score Malia Horvat, who caught Hart napping and stole home to go up 2-0. 

Smith brought in Thompson in the fifth inning, on her second of three straight RBIs. Specht had gotten the best of the Saugus sophomore in the first inning but it was all Smith after that. 

Hart answered in the fifth and brought in its only run of the day off the bat of Sadie Curtis. 

Hart junior Sadie Curtis (36) swings the bat during the third inning of Thursday’s game against Saugus at Hart High School on March 14. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal

Senior Alexis Lopez led the shorthanded Hart offense with a pair of hits in the loss. 

“We’re struggling with injuries — we have two senior starters out,” said Hart coach Steve Calendo. “Saugus played a very good game and they played a lot better than we did. We just have to get better each game. And we’ll do that.” 

Hart is still looking for its first win on its new field, after Golden Valley stunned the Indians on Tuesday. Calendo is asking a lot of his young team, which featured two freshmen and a sophomore in the batting order on Thursday, but the girls have battled in every game. 

“They’re freshmen. They’ve got all the athleticism and they’re going to be better at the end of the year,” Calendo said. “Unfortunately, they gotta learn on the fly because we don’t have healthy players … They have to get confidence in their game and realize they belong out there. If they do that, we can come around.” 

Saugus was led in the circle by sophomore Kona Ramsbottom. The sophomore ace went a strong 4.1 innings and retired 13 of the 18 batters she faced. 

Freshman Riley Nelson entered in relief for Ramsbottom in the fifth and surrendered a hit to her first opponent, the Cal Baptist commit, Lopez. Nelson shook off the inning and was lights-out through the final stretch, where she retired the final seven Indian batters of the game. 

Both teams were looking to bounce back after tough losses on Tuesday but only Saugus would get back in the win column. 

Saugus first baseman Brianna Coe (7) catches the ball during the first inning of Thursday’s game against Hart at Hart High School on March 14. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal

“It was very important because we needed this one to keep us going, especially after the loss,” Smith said. “I think this built us back up and now we’re rolling.” 

Both teams return to league play on Tuesday as Saugus heads to Golden Valley while Hart remains home to host Castaic. Both games are slated for 3:15 p.m. 

Saugus has had an up-and-down start to the season with plenty of upside and for the math teacher/coach Clark, Pi day may be the team’s turning point. 

“They’ve shown me that they can overcome adversity and still fight,” Clark said. “I told them that it’s Pi Day and we’re the vertex of the parabola. Today’s our turning point in our season. So they turned it around. They were fired up and ready to compete today.” 

Hart junior Allison Specht (55) pitches during the first inning of Thursday’s game against Saugus at Hart High School on March 14. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal
Hart junior Jillian Rhodes (44) runs to home plate during the fifth inning of Thursday’s game against Saugus at Hart High School on March 14. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal

Related To This Story

Latest NEWS