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Centurions capitalize on errors

Golden Valley miscues help Saugus earn big league win, keep pace in postseason race

Posted: May 6, 2009 9:41 p.m.
Updated: May 7, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Saugus' Stefan Cordes attempts to catch a foul ball against Golden Valley Wednesday at Golden Valley High School. The Centurions won 3-1.

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Saugus head baseball coach John Maggiora said his team’s emphasis is on pitching and defense.

But Tuesday, the Centurions capitalized on seven Golden Valley errors and forced five pitching changes en route to a 21-3 blowout of the Grizzlies in a five-inning game at Golden Valley High.

“I’d like to believe that we really are that good,” Maggiora said. “At this point you take the win any way you can get it.”

With the victory, Saugus (13-10, 8-4) maintains a two-game lead on Hart for third place in the Foothill League with three games to play, two games behind co-leaders West Ranch and Valencia.

If they can keep making contact like they did against the Grizzlies (7-14, 2-10), the Centurions will be difficult to unseat for the third and final guaranteed playoff stop.

Saugus started the game on fire, as senior second baseman Brett Piper and sophomore third baseman Nick Lombardi each singled in runs opening up a 2-0 lead.

Golden Valley responded in the bottom half of the frame.

Senior left fielder Jordan Yallen belted a home run to center field, and it appeared as if the Grizzlies were going to keep stride with the Centurions.

However, that was the closest the score would be, as Saugus rattled off four runs in the second inning, and eight in the third.

All eight third-inning runs came with two outs, and were punctuated by a grand slam by senior Aaron Hooper, which scored junior catcher Matt Emerson, Lombardi and senior center fielder Stefan Cordes.

“I was just looking for something to hit and I got it,” Hooper said of his shot to right-center field.

The trend continued in the fourth inning as the Centurions tacked on five more runs, highlighted by sophomore Justin Sheehan’s two-RBI single that plated Piper and Emerson.

Golden Valley made the score 19-2 after junior Kamran Young singled home Yallen, who had reached base after being hit by a Kyle Hooper pitch for the second time on the day.

Kyle Hooper pitched four innings, striking out seven and allowing seven hits and two walks before surrendering the ball to junior Cameron Castillo, who pitched the fifth and final inning.

Saugus posted two more runs in the fifth after a Tommy Meza fly ball to right field was misplayed, allowing Dakota Hernandez and senior shortstop Zach Vincej to score.

Vincej finished the day 2-for-2 with three runs scored and a stolen base, while Aaron Hooper was 4-for-4 with the grand slam, four RBIs and three runs scored, and Piper was 2-for-3 with a stolen base, two runs scored and two RBIs.

The Grizzlies got their third and final run when sophomore Tanner Swire’s short hopper slid through the defense, scoring junior Jonathon Granado.

“They made the easy plays and we didn’t,” said Golden Valley head coach Scott Drootin. “They are a good team; well-coached. They just outplayed us.”

But Maggiora isn’t ready to relax just yet.

“Coming into today, our objective was to get the ‘W’ and see where we stand,” Maggiora said. “We still have to win a few more games.”

pputignano@the-signal.com

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