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Into the wild

West Ranch survives an eventful game with Saugus

Posted: April 17, 2009 10:10 p.m.
Updated: April 18, 2009 4:55 a.m.

West Ranch's Cal Vogelsang, left, leaps out of the way of a sliding Michael Soucy, of Saugus, Friday.

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Forget the errors, the dust-ups, the deficit and the rowdy crowd.

When the West Ranch Wildcats needed to bash their way back against Saugus, that’s exactly what they did.

West Ranch cranked out 16 hits, nine extra-base hits and five home runs to blow past Saugus 16-11 in a wild affair and remains atop the Foothill League standings.

“The biggest thing you want in any game you play is good pitching, defense and offense,” said West Ranch head coach Casey Burrill. “Today, the offense was outstanding and it had to be. Otherwise, we don’t win the game.”

Trailing 9-4 heading into the top of the fourth, West Ranch (14-3, 6-1) began its rally when Nico Rusconi hit a solo home run with two outs. Cal Vogelsang followed with a single, and Jake Bernards stepped up and hit a two-run homer to cut the lead to two runs.

Saugus’ Tommy Meza scored on an error in the bottom of the fourth, but the Wildcats went right back to work in the top of the fifth.

Trevor Fredrickson and Rusconi hit back-to-back sacrifice flies to score Mitch Thompson and Jared Ortiz, respectively, and West Ranch took the lead in the sixth. Allen Sarkissian drew a walk and reached third after a double by Casey Watkins, and Thompson hit another double to score the runners and give West Ranch an 11-10 lead.

Ortiz was then hit by a pitch and Max Blaha drew a walk before Fredrickson drove in both runners with a single. Fredrickson later scored himself on a Saugus error.

The Wildcats added two more in the seventh when Watkins and Thompson crossed home, capping an offensive explosion that Saugus couldn’t overcome.

“This is a whole new team from last year,” Vogelsang said. “All 13 players can smash the baseball, and we just stuck with the same approach we always have.”

Vogelsang hit a solo home run in the first inning, but Saugus (8-8, 4-3) countered with two runs in the bottom of the first, thanks to a West Ranch error.

After a scoreless second, Rusconi doubled with two outs and Vogelsang crushed his second home run over the center field fence. Bernards then hit a solo homer, but the next pitch from Saugus starter Kyle Hooper plunked Sarkissian right between the shoulder blades, resulting in several players from both teams leaving the dugout as an upset Sarkissian walked to first.

The incident seemed to galvanize Saugus. In the bottom of the third inning, Brett Piper and Nick Lombardi drew walks from Sarkissian to start things off, and both moved up a base on an error that also allowed Zach Vincej to reach first.

Aaron Hooper then chopped a grounder toward first, but another West Ranch error allowed him to reach safely and Piper to score. Meza came through with a two-run single in the next at-bat, and Hooper scored on another West Ranch error.

Michael Soucy ended the onslaught by singling to drive in Meza and Matt Emerson, who had reached on a fielder’s choice.

In all, West Ranch committed seven errors, calling to mind its mistake-plagued first meeting with the Centurions.

“There were some strange things,” Burrill said. “Emotions ran high. Maybe early on, that got the best of us, but we shored up and continued to roll.”

Saugus added another run in the bottom of the seventh when Lombardi singled home Soucy, but Watkins induced a double play to end the game.

Rusconi earned the win for the Wildcats, entering the game in fourth and pitching three innings of one-run ball, while allowing five hits.

Saugus’ Kevin Podratz took the loss, pitching 1/3 of an inning in the sixth while allowing two hits and the go-ahead runs.

Vogelsang went 3-for-4 with the two home runs and three runs scored to lead the Wildcats, while Bernards went 2-for-3 with two homers and two walks. Thompson went 3-for-5 with three runs and two RBIs.

“This win was huge,” Vogelsang said. “We can’t take anyone lightly, so we’ll build off this.”

Soucy, Cordes, Lombardi and Meza each collected multiple hits for the Centurions.

“We just have to keep playing,” said Saugus head coach John Maggiora. “We still have eight league games.”

jgulino@the-signal.com

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