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Saugus baseball remains in first place

Posted: May 2, 2014 10:41 p.m.
Updated: May 2, 2014 10:41 p.m.

Saugus' Brendan Griffith tags out Valencia's Hunter Holland on Friday at Valencia High.

 

Valencia’s Keston Hiura hit two home runs on Friday at Valencia High.

His teammate Chad Bible hit a home run that might still be going.

Their teammate Devon Davis went 4-for-4.

And Saugus survived.

The Centurions defeated the Vikings 8-5 in large part because they capitalized on Valencia mistakes throughout.

Saugus now enters the final two weeks of the Foothill League season tied for first place with Hart.

Meanwhile, Valencia trails both teams by a game, but might be in the best position to come away with a Foothill League championship.

The Vikings close out the season with four games against Canyon and Golden Valley, who are a combined 3-19 in the Foothill.

“We just have to take care of what we can take care of,” said Valencia interim head coach Mike Killinger. “For instance, we didn’t today. If we do that, we can be beat by anybody.”

Saugus (15-7 overall, 8-3 Foothill League) took its biggest advantage with a four-run sixth inning.

The Cents scored four runs after loading the bases on a hit-batsman and two walks. Valencia made two errors in the middle of the infield that led to three of the runs.

“We needed it. We needed the runs. We hit the mistakes. We were patient,” said Saugus’ Roy Verdejo, who had the only RBI in the inning.

He doubled to left field on a sharp line drive off Valencia reliever Jack Cunningham to give Saugus a 6-2 lead.

Saugus scored its first run in the first inning on a wild pitch, then scored in the fourth when Rex Kemple was walked with the bases loaded.

The Centurions added two more in the top of the seventh to take an 8-2 lead on an RBI double from Joey Mendez and a Kemple sacrifice fly.

Saugus starter Eric Little ran out of gas late after limiting the Vikings (13-9, 7-4) early.

He lived on the outside half of the plate to Valencia’s predominantly right-handed lineup to success. But in the seventh, his pitches caught too much of the plate and his breaking stuff had less break.

The first mistake in the seventh was to Hiura, who hit his second solo home run of the game to center field — likely at least 400 feet away from home plate.

Davis singled after Hiura, then Little’s next mistake was a breaking ball with little break.

Bible crushed it over the left-field fence — also a shot that cleared the fence with ample distance still to measure.

Saugus handed the ball to Robert Winslow, who allowed a single to Anthony Lepre, but he retired the next two batters to end the game.

Now Saugus has to contend with West Ranch and Hart in its final four games.

Those teams are a combined 15-7 in the Foothill.

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