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Saugus starting to click

Posted: April 5, 2008 2:32 a.m.
Updated: June 6, 2008 5:02 a.m.

Saugus High's Stefan Cordes (20) crosses home plate after hitting a solo home run in the sixth inning Friday against West Ranch and is greeted by his teammates. Cordes was 2-for-3 in a 5-3 win over the Wildcats at West Ranch High. The Centurions have won four straight Foothill League games.

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In Saugus' home-and-home series with West Ranch this week, no matter what the Wildcats did to get back into the game, the Centurions were right there with an answer.

On Friday at West Ranch, the Wildcats tied the score with a three-run sixth inning, but couldn't stop Saugus' offense, losing 5-3.

The win gave the Centurions a three-game series sweep of the Wildcats this season and was the fourth straight win in Foothill League play for Saugus (8-4, 5-2).

"As a team it's clicking," said Saugus center fielder Stefan Cordes. "We're doing everything right. We had a bumpy road at the start but it's gone. We can come here and play baseball."

Saugus took a 3-0 lead in the top of the sixth inning off a solo home run by Cordes, but the Wildcats (4-8, 2-5) answered back with three runs after notching just two hits in the previous five innings.

Centurions starting pitcher Darren Schweitzer rolled through the first five frames, facing one batter over the minimum and walking zero.

He ran into trouble immediately in the sixth, walking Chris Reed to lead off the inning and giving up a triple to the next batter, Casey Watkins for West Ranch's first run of the game.

Schweitzer was pulled without getting an out in the inning and after allowing a single to Brett Bradbury that scored Watkins. Bradbury would tie the score later in the inning on a wild pitch by reliever Kyle Hooper, making the score 3-3.

The game started to look similar to Wednesday's matchup between the two teams at Saugus High, when the Wildcats made a late charge. Jake Bernards hit a three-run home run in the sixth frame of that game to take a 5-3 advantage.

But the Centurions tied the score in the bottom of that inning and eventually won the game in extra innings 6-5.

And just like Wednesday, as West Ranch seemed to gain some momentum on Friday, Saugus pushed it right back into its own favor.

"They didn't panic," said Centurions head coach John Maggiora. "That's the sign of a team that's maturing and growing up."

Wildcats reliever C.J. Woldanski took over for starting pitcher Charlie Gillies in the top of the seventh, after Gillies went six innings allowing three runs on four hits.

Woldanski struggled right at the start, when pinch hitter Nick Kopacka knocked a single to left field to lead off the inning. Kopacka also had a pinch hit to lead off the fifth inning in Wednesday's game.

"It's nerve-racking at first, but I kind of settled down," said Kopacka about the pinch-hitting role. "I just try to (do) what our shortstop does, Zach Vincej - dominate."

After Kopacka scored on a sacrifice fly by Dylan Mascarenas, Vincej also came through for Saugus, bringing in the insurance run with an RBI single for a 5-3 win. The Centurions shortstop was 3-for-3 with two RBIs and a walk.

Vincej, hitting in the No. 3 spot, and Cordes, at cleanup, did the most damage to the Wildcats on Friday. Cordes went 2-for-3 with a homer, a double, a walk and two RBIs.

While Maggiora said everything seems to be clicking pretty well for the Centurions as the Foothill League nears the midway point, West Ranch head coach Casey Burrill's offense hasn't found it's groove yet.

"Maybe the biggest thing for us is maybe we don't have the offense we thought we had going into the season," Burrill said. "If you had told me we would get some of the pitching performances we've had this year, I would have (thought) that our record may have been better so far."

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