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Foothill League baseball: Don’t forget Saugus

Centurions jump ahead early and end up upsetting Hart

Posted: April 23, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: April 23, 2011 1:55 a.m.

Saugus’ Connor Wilson (8) slides under the tag of Hart’s Luke Persico on Friday at Hart High School.

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The Saugus baseball team entered its game against Hart tied for last place in the Foothill League standings.

That fact wasn’t evident Friday.

Center fielder Connor Wilson led off the game with a solo home run to left field as the Centurions jumped out to a nine-run lead that the Indians couldn’t overcome in a 9-5 win at Hart High School.

“We are 3-6 (in league), and three of those losses were by one run,” said Saugus head coach John Maggiora. “We could easily be 6-3 and talking about first place or a game out. It shows it’s a game of inches, and when the inches are there, you have to take them.”

That’s exactly what the Centurions (8-12, 3-6) did Friday, scoring at least two runs in each of the first four innings as starter Brad Buchignani cruised to open a 9-0 lead.

Both teams finished with 12 hits, and before long, it appeared as if Hart (15-5, 6-3) was on pace for a dramatic comeback.
But Saugus’ Nick Lombardi threw three strong innings to close out the game.

“I don’t think we played as bad as the score indicates. We hit the ball well,” said Indians head coach Jim Ozella, who blamed himself for the loss. “It’s not been a good week for us in a lot of ways. I’ll take the (blame) for this.”

Indians starter Erik Vogel entered the game with a 1.55 ERA, but was knocked out after the second inning down 4-0.
Wilson’s leadoff shot essentially opened the floodgates.

“It set a big tone,” Wilson said. “For us to get off to a big start (was important). Not having a good history of coming from behind, it was big getting nine runs. I didn’t think there was any way we’d lose that.”

Andru Cardenas tacked on the second run by attempting to steal third on a wild pitch. Cardenas rounded the base for home, and the throw back to the plate was dropped, allowing the Centurion to slide in for a 2-0 lead.

Cardenas added a two-run double to left-center field in the second inning, before a Justin Sheehan solo homer and a Roy Verdejo sacrifice fly ball to right put the Centurions up 7-0. On the sac fly, Justin Donatella scored from third, and Kyle Mark followed suit after a throwing error sent the ball to the backstop.

Saugus’ final two runs came off RBI singles from Sheehan and Donatella in the fourth inning.

Then the Indians started to respond, scoring four runs in the bottom of the fourth thanks to a two-run home run by Alex Tenorio and RBI singles from Cole Gasper and Daniel Dietz.

“Hits are contagious,” Tenorio said. “I just thought, ‘Get on (base) for the team.’ And I had Dallas (Bacon) in front of me with a nice double. Having a runner on second with no outs gives you confidence.”

Buchignani left the game after the four-run frame, and was replaced by Dylan Freyre. Freyre allowed two hits, including an RBI single to Bacon that cut the lead to 9-5.

With no one out and two runners, Lombardi took over.

The senior got out of the inning unscathed on five pitches, including a three-pitch strikeout of Tyler Glasnow.

“I just had the mind-set to come out there and strike out the next three guys,” Lombardi said. “Hopefully, get out of the inning and get some momentum.”

Lombardi struck out three and allowed three hits. Buchignani earned the win, pitching four innings with two strikeouts and four earned runs on seven hits.

Wilson finished 3-for-4 with a double, stolen base and three runs, while four other Centurions finished 2-for-4.

Hart pitcher Ricky Torres took over for Bobby Stafford after the fourth inning, and proceeded to retire the next nine batters in order.

Vogel took the loss, allowing four runs on five hits with two strikeouts.

Bacon and Tenorio each batted 3-for-4.

“From every negative, a positive always occurs if you take the right steps,” Ozella said. “We’ve got to take the right steps. And we will.”

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