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Foothill League baseball: Vikes put down threat

Saugus gives Valencia another run for its money

Posted: May 7, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: May 7, 2011 1:55 a.m.
 

Only one team has scored more than  10 runs against the Valencia baseball team this season, and it’s done it twice.
Unfortunately for Saugus, it hasn’t been enough either time.

The Vikings used three home runs and 16 total hits to overcome its own ailing pitchers and a seventh-inning Centurion comeback to win 16-13 on Friday at Saugus High School.

Valencia also beat the Centurions 17-13 on April 1 and swept the three-game season series by a combined score of 47-30.
“The whole season, we’ve had to hit our way off the island, unfortunately, more times than not against these guys,” said Vikings head coach Jared Snyder. “If we don’t stop that, it could hurt us down the road.”

With staff ace Nick Rivas already currently day-to-day with a strained forearm, the Vikings (18-6, 10-3) may have lost another pitcher when Friday’s starter, Quincy Quintero, was removed after the second inning with a dead arm. Quintero stayed in the game defensively is also considered day-to-day for his pitching services, according to Snyder.

Despite a Viking lead that extended to 13-5 in the fourth inning, Saugus (9-15, 4-9) began to chip away and set the stage for a dramatic seventh inning.

After a two-run home run by Valencia first baseman Brian Mundell put the Vikings ahead 16-9 going into the bottom of the frame, the Centurions quickly went to work.

Saugus’ first six batters reached base and began crossing the plate when Dylan Freyre’s RBI single scored Austin Rodriguez. Later in the inning, Connor Wilson’s ground ball to third base was mishandled, allowing Freyre to score. Tylor Klipfel then scored on another fielding error to make the score 16-12 with no outs and the bases loaded.

That’s when Valencia shortstop Shane Zeile took over on the mound.

“I wasn’t trying to overpower anyone, just get ground balls,” Zeile said.

Zeile forced Nick Lombardi to fly out to center field, and Justin Sheehan grounded into a fielder’s choice, allowing Nick Warren to score and cut the lead to 16-13. Lombardi and Sheehan hit back-to-back solo home runs in the sixth inning. It was Sheehan’s second solo homer of the day, having also sent one to left field in a two-run fifth.

“Our pitching was struggling today, so as hitters, we had to pick them up,” Sheehan said. “Every inning, we came in with the mentality that we had to put up a couple of runs and chip away.”

Two batters later, however, Zeile fielded Rodriguez’s full-count comebacker and threw him out to end the game.

“You would think 13 runs (would do it),” said Saugus head coach John Maggiora. “Once again, our guys battled. You can’t fault them, they showed character.”

The Centurions pounded out 15 hits led by Sheehan’s 3-for-5 multi-homer performance. Rodriguez was 3-for-4 with a double.

Valencia got on the board first off a sacrifice fly ball by Alex Lightfoot that scored Mundell.

But Saugus responded in the bottom of the inning with a pair of runs to take a 2-1 lead.

The Vikings then scored five runs in the third off a two-run double by Mundell and a three-run shot by Jake Roberge, and six runs in the fourth highlighted by Roberge’s two-RBI double.

The Centurions had plated three in the third off four hits, including an RBI single by Klipfel.

Valencia scored another run in the fifth when Mundell’s fly ball to center field was dropped, scoring A.J. Balta, and got one more in the sixth off Alex Bishop’s solo home run.

Balta finished 4-for-4 with three runs scored, and Mundell wound up 4-for-5.

“You just have to know how to relax and not get stressed when you look at the scoreboard when you are only up a couple runs,” Mundell said. “We took great approaches and sat back on balls.”

Chris Castellon earned the win, pitching four innings and allowing five earned runs on 11 hits with one strikeout.

Saugus’ Brad Buchignani took the loss, throwing three innings with one strikeout and six earned runs on eight hits.

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