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Cents shock Vikes

Saugus softball defeats Valencia with come-from-behind victory

Posted: April 28, 2009 9:44 p.m.
Updated: April 29, 2009 4:55 a.m.
 
Almost three years to the day since it last defeated Valencia softball, Saugus pulled off a shocker Tuesday.

Thanks to a four-run comeback in the bottom of the seventh inning, including home runs from first baseman Sara Shier and left fielder Jackie Shimamoto to send the game to extra innings, the Centurions upset the Vikings 5-4 in the bottom of the eighth at Central Park.

“They are a great team, and we just try not to think of that (going into the game),” said Saugus head coach Julie Watson. “We’ve been playing great teams well all season. We are a young team, but we have a lot of talent.”

The Centurions (10-15, 3-2) last beat Valencia 2-0 on April 27, 2006.

This win was the first time in Watson’s tenure with Saugus that her team was able to break through.

After six scoreless innings, the Vikings built a 4-0 lead in the top of the final frame.

For most teams, such a lead would be demoralizing.

However, the Centurions battled back, benefiting from some controversial calls.

Included in those calls was a line drive in the bottom of the eighth inning hit to Valencia shortstop Madison Shipman which she argued was caught, but an umpire ruled it bounced. That runner got on and prolonged the inning enough for Saugus to take the lead.

Regardless, Saugus came up with big hits when it mattered most, starting when Shier drove the ball to left field.

The ball skipped by the defense and to the wall, cutting the lead to 4-1.

“My hitting coach told me to stay relaxed,” she said. “I saw the inside pitch and turned on it. The ball just kept rolling.”

Second baseman Emi Shimamoto followed in the batting order and drew a walk from Valencia starting pitcher Sarah Enriquez.

Two batters later, Abby Linn singled and Shimamoto beat out the throw at third base.

Next came Jackie Shimamoto, who sent the ball deep to the right-center field gap for an inside-the-park home run, and tied the score 4-4.

“I just wanted to get a hit and keep the rally going,” she said. “Just don’t think too much.”

With Centurions third baseman Randi Josett threatening at third, Vikings catcher Amy Moore attempted to throw her out.

The ball skipped off Josett and into left field.

The third baseman sprinted home for the game-winning run.

“We are finally coming together, and are not playing individually,” Shimamoto said. “We are playing as a team. We are not being selfish.”

Saugus starter Kimmie Lockhart came back out in the top of the eighth, and returned to her pre-seventh inning form.

The freshman hurler struck out 10 in the complete game, surrendering six hits and nine walks.

Moore broke the scoring drought in the top of the seventh with a two-run single to right field, plating Vikings first baseman Lauren Boser and Shipman.

Shipman was making her first start of the Foothill League season since recovering from a broken knee cap.

She finished 0-for-1 with three walks and one run scored.

Three batters later, Valencia’s Shannon Fitzgerald’s RBI-single scored Moore’s courtesy runner Melissa Fundoro.

Vikings second baseman Bethany Kemp crossed the plate on a passed ball to expand Valencia’s lead to 4-0.

Freshman pitcher Carly Mortensen was credited with the loss after giving up Saugus’ final run in relief of Enriquez.

“We can’t control the umpires and we didn’t control the game,” said Valencia head coach Donna Lee. “Some of my players got a little frantic and lost their calmness. Hopefully we come back and learn from this.”

pputignano@the-signal.com

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