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On the Beat Softball: Season hinges on two games

Posted: May 3, 2014 10:12 p.m.
Updated: May 3, 2014 10:12 p.m.

 

The last week and a half has provided interesting insight into exactly what Saugus is capable of.

As the Foothill League season continues to take shape, it’s becoming clear that the league title race will be determined by two games: West Ranch at Saugus, and Saugus at West Ranch.

The Wildcats took round one from the Centurions, winning 2-1 on April 22.

Rather than sulk, the Centurions have rolled.

In its last three games, Saugus has defeated Canyon 12-1, Golden Valley 20-0 and Valencia 15-3, the latter two of which lasted just five innings.

It’s easy to for a coach and players to say any team in the league can beat them, and it’s certainly true that in sports anything can happen on any given day.

But at this point in the season, it’s only human nature to expect the Wildcats and Centurions to be looking ahead – even if just a little bit.

Saugus, though, is showing little sign of that, and that’s impressive.

Centurions’ pitcher Mariah Lopez has established herself as the clear No. 1 pitcher in the Foothill League, and the entire Saugus lineup has been swinging the bat.

The team jumped on Valencia on Thursday to the tune of eight first-inning runs and never looked back.

On Tuesday, it was a 14-run second inning that put the game away.

There’s no way to know what will happen when Saugus and West Ranch play again on Thursday, but if Saugus plays on that day like it has been playing over the last 10 days, there’s a very real chance the Foothill League title could be split in 2014.

Player of the Year countdown: Keep an eye out for Madison Shipman’s name this week, as the senior shortstop at the University of Tennessee will find out if she is a finalist for USA Softball’s player of the year award.

Shipman was one of 25 players named to the list on April 25, and the final 10 will be announced on Wednesday.

The Valencia High graduate is batting a team-high .435 on the season, with 17 home runs and 48 RBIs for the No. 8 ranked Volunteers.

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