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Saugus shifts direction

Posted: March 29, 2008 2:37 a.m.
Updated: May 30, 2008 5:02 a.m.

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The start of Foothill League play wasn't exactly smooth sailing for the Saugus baseball team.

The Centurions lost two of their first three games and one of those in lopsided fashion to Hart.

It seems Saugus is headed in a much better direction as the first round of league came to a close, winning two straight by blowouts, including Friday's 12-5 win over Canyon at home.

"We're playing good as a team right now," said Saugus shortstop Zachary Vincej. "We were bumpy in the beginning, but good teams come back from bumpy starts."

Saugus (6-4, 3-2) has combined to score 26 runs in its last two games, a nice rebound after losing 12-1 to the Indians on March 21.

"There's no middle ground," said Centurions head coach John Maggiora. "We're scoring big or getting shut down. I have no answer for that."

It was much more of the former against the Cowboys (4-7-1, 1-4), with nine different Saugus players getting hits.

The Centurions opened up with a 2-0 lead after second baseman Brett Piper's solo home run in the fourth sailed over the fence in left-center field.

Canyon scored three runs in the top of the fifth to take a 3-2 lead. The Cowboys executed well in the inning with a sacrifice bunt by Ryan Low to move Chile Viall over to second base. Viall was singled over to third by Tyler Pugmire and designated hitter Ryan Scherich followed that up with a well-placed bunt down the first base line.

The bunt scored Viall easily and no Saugus player covered first base, so Scherich reached safely. Scherich scored on a wild pitch to put Canyon ahead, but the lead was short-lived.

The Centurions answered with a nine-run fifth inning, putting the game out of reach.

"They kind of small-balled us to death earlier that inning," Maggiora said. "We figured we'd return the favor I guess."

The scoring in that inning started out with small ball, but it didn't stay that way. Dylan Mascarenas legged out a bunt single after Troy Ajer led off the inning with a double.

Ajer moved to third on the play and a sacrifice bunt by Vincej scored the tying run. The Saugus shortstop Vincej finished his day 2-for-2 with a sacrifice and a walk.

In the fifth frame, the Centurions had seven hits and also took advantage of a Canyon error. Pinch hitter Tyler Brubaker and an RBI single in the inning, and pinch hitter Nick Kopacka had a two-run double. The Cowboys went through four different pitchers in the inning. Starting pitcher Austin Engel gave up five runs over 4 1/3 innings of work
The Centurions tacked on a run in each of the fifth and sixth innings.

On the mound, starter Darren Schweitzer put in 4 1/3 innings of work, allowing three runs on five hits. He struck out five and walked one.

While Saugus seems to have found a groove, Canyon continues to struggle in league play. They are 1-4 in through the first round.

"We just can't get all of it to go at the same time," Engel said. "One day the hitting can't pick up the pitching and another day the pitching can't pick up the hitting."

Notes: Saugus catcher Cody Chew left the team earlier this week and starting pitcher Shawn Smith is not eligible to play.

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