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Saugus baseball downs Canyon in VIBL quarterfinals

Posted: July 19, 2014 11:08 p.m.
Updated: July 19, 2014 11:08 p.m.

Saugus High's Caden Salkeld hits a three-run home run to put Saugus ahead against Canyon High at Saugus High on Saturday in a Valley Invitational Baseball League quarterfinal game. Saugus ultimately won the game 5-3 to advance to the semifinals.

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It may only be mid-July but Saturday’s Valley Invitational Baseball League quarterfinals had all the makings of a Foothill League regular season matchup.

The Saugus Centurions edged out league foe Canyon High 5-3 in the summer league contest as both teams get an early jump on the upcoming season.

Saugus took an early 2-0 lead in the second inning thanks to a David Shier RBI groundout and an RBI double by Joey Mendez.

Mendez finished the game 2-for-2 with two doubles and an RBI.

“We have a lot of returning guys who are really experienced on the mound so we’re just trying to fill out those role pieces of guys coming up from the JV level,” said Saugus assistant coach Doug Maggiora. “We had some good pitching today and played some solid defense. I liked the way we finally made an adjustment on their left-handed pitcher.”

Canyon rallied in the fourth, however, to take a 3-2 lead when All-SCV second teamer Blake Leidholdt doubled in one run, Eddie Rodriguez singled in another and Cole Manclow brought in the final run with a sacrifice fly.

Incoming sophomore Rodriguez is a player Canyon coach Adam Schulhofer is excited about getting on the field in the spring.

“We’re really looking forward to him,” Schulhofer said. “Eddie is a guy that can play infield and pitch for us. We graduated a lot of guys from last year’s team so we have a lot of new faces. This summer has been good to get a feel about who can do what. I’m pleased with the new faces I’ve seen.”

Saugus took the final 5-3 lead off of a three-run home run by Caden Salkeld in the fourth inning.

“Our goal for the summer was to put the hammer on everyone and get the win and show them that we’re here and to keep that momentum going through the season,” Salkeld said. “Summer ball is a good time. We have fun with it. Last year we were in the VIBL championship and we want to make it back there again.”

Last year Saugus lost to Hart in the VIBL championship 8-4.

Now as the Centurions look forward, one of the more interesting position battles will be at catcher.

Incoming junior JT Heade will be battling with sophomores-to-be Kyle Dawson and Lucas Avila. All three played on JV last year.

“They all swing the bat pretty well,” said Maggiora. “They all have room to grow. It seems like one guy will have a skill set that the other guy needs and vice versa. So the fall is going to be very big for those three.”

Saugus advances to take on Hart in the semifinals on Tuesday in a rematch of last year’s championship.

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