Saugus baseball stuns Hart, earns first sweep in 19 years 

Saugus senior Wesley Yim (0) pitches during the third inning of Friday's game against West Ranch on March 22 at West Ranch High School. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal
Saugus senior Wesley Yim (0) pitches during the third inning of Friday's game against West Ranch on March 22 at West Ranch High School. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal
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Strong pitching, defense and much-improved hitting powered Saugus Centurions baseball to a historic series sweep over the Hart Indians last week. 

The 5-1 win on Friday clinched the first Saugus sweep over Hart in 19 years, before any player on the field was born. 

The Centurions took the first matchup at Hart, 2-1, on March 26 behind a solid outing on the mound from sophomore Parker Allman. The pitcher was tasked with cooling off an Indian offense that had racked up 37 runs in their last two games. 

Allman answered the call, allowing just three hits and one run over six innings of work. The sophomore fanned seven opponents before getting pulled early in the seventh. 

Saugus coach Carl Grissom called on senior Shane Lemmond to close out the game with the tying run on. Lemmond allowed one walk but was able to hold the tying run at third base, securing the program’s first win over Hart in five years. 

The Centurions nearly scored right off the bat but couldn’t capitalize on a bases-loaded situation in the top of the first. An RBI from sophomore Matt Carta and a pinch hit RBI from Ethan Harris would be enough for the win. 

Grissom knew Hart would come back even tougher on Thursday at Saugus and aimed to shape his guys up for another tall task. 

“I just reiterated that (Hart’s) going to be extra motivated to get a split,” Grissom said in a phone interview. “So we have to come with the same energy that they’re going to bring. Tuesday’s over. It’s a new day.” 

The Centurions were extra aggressive on the basepaths and capitalized on an early mistake to score in the first. However, the team would need a haul to get past Indians ace Troy Cooper. 

Cooper, a Cal Poly San Luis Obispo commit, took the mound on Thursday. Cooper held his Indians in a one-run game before Saugus brought in a pair of runs in both the fifth and sixth innings. 

Saugus senior Dominick Zambrano (13) runs home during the third inning of Friday’s game against West Ranch on March 22. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal

Saugus senior Dominick Zambrano hit a big double to deep center field and sparked the two-run inning in the fifth.  

James Frias and Jason Zepeda led the Centurions with two-hit days in the 5-1 win. 

Senior Wesley Yim got the start on Thursday for Saugus (7-10, 5-3) and threw his fourth complete game of the season. Yim allowed just five hits with no walks and one strikeout to earn the win. 

“Once we took the lead, I felt like we were in a good spot,” Grissom said. “You’re never in a great spot playing Hart but I felt good about where we were. It was getting later in the game and Wesley was still dominant. I think he ended up with almost 80 pitches so he was cruising.” 

Before Thursday’s home win, Grissom wished to honor longtime league rival Jim Ozella, who is retiring from Hart baseball following the 2024 season. Grissom regards Ozella as his idol and someone he wishes to be more like as a coach and person. 

“The Hall of Famer Mr. Jim Ozella, he’s kind of my idol so anytime I get to match up against him, it’s always a pleasure of mine,” Grissom said. “We had a little ceremony for him to honor him and thank him for all his contributions to high school baseball … He’s a wizard. I think he’s got 50 collegiate players, 22 MLB draftees. That just doesn’t happen.” 

Earning the sweep against Ozella makes it even sweeter for Grissom, who knows Hart (15-5) has and always will be a tough assignment. 

“It means a lot because his teams are always competitive,” Grissom said. “They’re always good, they’re hard to beat and they don’t make mistakes … It’s nice, especially to find out it hasn’t happened since 2005. That’s unbelievable.” 

The sweep shakes up the standings in the Foothill League, as Golden Valley and Canyon, as well as Valencia and West Ranch, all split games this past week to finish off the first half of league play. 

Foothill League play will resume after spring break on Wednesday, April 10. Saugus returns home to host Golden Valley, Valencia heads to Canyon while Castaic welcomes Hart. All games are slated for 3:30 p.m. 

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