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Saugus gets back in the mix

Cents rout ’Boys for much-needed victories

Posted: April 24, 2009 9:47 p.m.
Updated: April 25, 2009 4:55 a.m.
 
The Saugus High baseball team put itself back into contention in the Foothill League with a 9-0 win over Canyon on Friday at Canyon High, completing a season sweep for the Centurions.

The win puts the Centurions (10-8, 6-3) within striking distance of West Ranch and Valencia, which sit atop the Foothill League with six games to play.

Saugus was led offensively by senior second baseman Brett Piper, who hit his first two home runs of the season, the first came in the first inning after Canyon starting pitcher Robert Wright struck out two batters to open the game.

“He hit five (home runs) in the spring,” said Saugus head coach John Maggiora. “We were giving him (a hard time) after the first one.”

Piper’s second blast was a lined shot to center field to lead off the seventh, giving Saugus a comfortable 5-0 lead, and beginning a five-run inning.

“I was just trying to sit on fastballs and adjust to curves,” Piper said. “I got two fastballs.”

While Piper took care of the offense, Saugus junior starting pitcher Tommy Kister and a solid Centurion defense took care of the rest.

Kister struck out two and allowed six hits and a walk in the complete-game shutout.

“I tried to work ahead, throw strikes and get ground balls,” Kister said. “I knew I had a good defense behind me.”

Kister allowed a base runner to reach in every inning except the first, but did not give in to Cowboy batters.

“He was efficient and threw strikes,” Maggiora said. “He fed the infield with ground balls and showed maturity holding the base runners from scoring. He forced contact knowing his defense was behind him.”

Kister did his best to relax and trust his defense despite the jams he got himself into.

“I just take deep breaths and try to stay low (in the strike zone) and hope my teammates behind me make plays,” Kister said.

Where Saugus players and coaches saw quality pitching and defense, Canyon saw missed opportunities.

“We had a couple of guys in scoring position and couldn’t deliver,” said Canyon head coach Adam Schulhofer. “We have not hit when we need to. We’re not very offensive. We’re not getting our best at-bats when it matters. That’s just been us.”

Wright, Canyon’s starter, allowed six earned runs off eight hits, while striking out six in 6 1/3 innings pitched. Wright gave up four runs in the first three innings, but held the Centurions scoreless for the next three innings, until Piper’s second home run in the seventh.

“He battled, got hit a bit, but was battling,” Shulhofer said. “Our hitting didn’t pick him up. He’s fun to watch and works quickly. I love to watch him pitch because I know where his heart is.”

Wright was relieved by left handed junior Garrett Hayes, who struggled through 2/3 of an inning, allowing three runs capped by Saugus first baseman Stefan Cordes’ two-out, two-RBI double.

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