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Saugus survives sloppy game

Centurions capitalize on five Canyon errors to maintain Foothill League lead

Posted: April 4, 2009 1:35 a.m.
Updated: April 4, 2009 4:55 a.m.
 
Saugus High baseball took advantage of five Canyon High errors and held off a seventh-inning Cowboy rally to remain tied atop the Foothill League with a 10-8 victory on Friday at Canyon High School.

Saugus (6-4, 4-1) carried a 10-7 lead into the bottom of the seventh, when reliever Cameron Castillo walked the first two batters he faced in the inning, bringing the tying run to the plate with no outs.

Saugus head coach John Maggiora replaced the left-handed Castillo with side-arming righty Garrett Smith, who subsequently retired the next two Cowboy batters before hitting starting Cowboy pitcher Robert Wright to load the bases.

Canyon right fielder Donnie Young followed with a run-scoring infield single to cut the lead to 10-8.

With the tying run on second base, cleanup hitter Kyle Pressman bounced a ball to Saugus third baseman Nick Lombardi, who stepped on third base to end the game.

“It was a wild one,” Maggiora said. “Every time we come over here we have wild ones. We’ve been in some of these situations before and we have confidence in our guys to fight through it.”

Canyon (1-11, 0-5) remains winless in Foothill League play and has lost seven straight.

“It was a much better (effort),” Canyon head coach Adam Schulhofer said of the Cowboy’s performance in league play. “It was fun to be in it for a while. Saugus is a good team, it was good to stick with them.”

The difference came in the top of the sixth, as Saugus’ top of the order strung together three consecutive hits to tie the game at seven, chasing Wright from the game.

“Those are the guys that should be getting those big hits,” Maggiora said.

Wright allowed nine runs in 5 1/3 innings pitched, but only four were earned.

Wright was replaced by junior Garrett Hayes and he inherited runners on first and third.

The Centurions immediately tested Hayes and catcher Patrick Roxbury on the base paths, as Lombardi, the runner on first, broke for second in the first at-bat following Wright’s removal.

Roxbury faked a throw to second, then faked another to third, but appeared to lose his grip on the ball and threw it into the ground. The ball rolled into the Cowboy dugout and allowed the go-ahead run to score.

Hayes then walked a batter, and in the next at-bat, a ball got past Roxbury, allowing Lombardi, the eventual winning run, to score.

The game featured four lead changes along with five ties and Canyon had a lead as late as the fifth inning, when Cowboy designated hitter Nathan Smith lined an RBI single into right field to give Canyon a 6-5 advantage.

“No lead is comfortable in this league,” Schulhofer said. “You can never figure teams in this league won’t come back.”

Canyon took advantage of the control problems of Centurion starter Kyle Hooper, who allowed only two hits in four innings but issued five walks and hit four batters and allowed six runs, four of which were earned.

“He labored and struggled with his command,” Maggiora said.

Maggiora said that Hooper may have struggled because he closed the game against Golden Valley High on Wednesday and was pitching on short rest.

Canyon was not alone in fielding mishaps, as the Cowboys scored three runs on two uncharacteristic Centurion errors in the first inning, their first errors in league play.

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