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Foothill baseball: ’Cats put Cents on fence

Saugus left hoping for wild-card berth

Posted: May 14, 2010 11:18 p.m.
Updated: May 15, 2010 4:55 a.m.

West Ranch senior shortstop Randy Poe, left, attempts to turn a double play as Saugus senior Scott Lombardi slides into second base during Friday afternoon's game at West Ranch. West Ranch beat Saugus 12-7.

Going into Friday's game at West Ranch High, the Saugus baseball team knew that it could get into the CIF-Southern Section Division I playoffs the easy way or the hard way.

Looks like it will have to be the hard way.

Although the Centurions looked as if they might lock up an automatic playoff berth with an early four-run lead, Saugus ran into a strong West Ranch offense and fell 12-7.

The Centurions' loss, coupled with Hart's win over Golden Valley, puts Saugus behind the Indians. The teams tied for third place in the Foothill League, but Hart took two out of three from Saugus (15-11, 7-8) this season.

The Centurions now wait until Monday for a potential wild-card berth.

Centurions head coach John Maggiora is confident that his squad will get a postseason bid.

"I believe our overall record is good enough," Maggiora said. "All this means is that we get an early jump on the playoffs, but I won't know who we play until around noon on Monday. It's right around when my last class ends, so I'll be online hitting the refresh button constantly to see if we get in."

Maggiora said Saugus' pitching will have to improve if his team wants to have a chance of advancing.

"Our pitching outside of Tommy Kister has been pretty terrible," Maggiora said. "I know if Kister is on the mound, he is going to give it everything he's got. But we need some other arms to step up."

Kister blasted a three-run home run in the third inning to cut West Ranch's lead to 8-7. The homer was Kister's first hit of the season.

While Saugus needs to improve in numerous areas, the Wildcats (18-8, 10-5) seem to be running on all cylinders, pounding out a season-high 18 hits on Friday.

"Our game was very offensive today," said West Ranch head coach Casey Burrill. "Our 18 hits were the most we've had in a long time."

Leading the Wildcats' offense was Jared Ortiz, who singled in the first inning to extend his hitting streak to 26 games.

"If you told me at the start of the season that I'd get a hit in every game, I'd think you were joking," Ortiz said. "I don't know how I did this. I just felt good at the plate in most of my games. Even the games I didn't feel good, I was able to go the other way and loop one in for a hit."

After the game, Burrill also marveled at Ortiz's hitting streak.

"I've never been around a streak over 20 games," Burrill said. "To get a hit in every single game during a season is something special, and something this school and possibly even this league may never see again."

West Ranch, however, was hardly a one-man show on Friday. Allen Sarkissian joined the hit parade as well by going 3-for-4 with three RBIs.

Sarkissian also threw three scoreless innings for the save. Wildcat starter Ryan Keller threw the first four innings for the win, his seventh on the season.

With solid pitching and hitting, Burrill is confident the Wildcats are right where they need to be.

"There is no more time to improve on anything," Burrill said. "We're hoping to use some of the confidence we had today in the playoffs."


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