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Foothill League baseball: Saugus changes things up

After posting 21 runs on Friday, Centurions turn to pitching and defense in victory over Canyon

Posted: March 22, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: March 22, 2012 1:55 a.m.

Saugus pitcher Justin Donatella delivers a pitch against Canyon High on Wendesday at Saugus High School. The Centurions defeated Canyon 3-1.

It was all hitting that carried Saugus last week.

This time around, the Centurions found success with a different brand of baseball.

Saugus starting pitcher Justin Donatella pitched a complete-game gem in a 3-1 win over Canyon on Wednesday at Saugus High School.

Donatella allowed the one earned run off seven hits while striking out seven in a quick, efficient outing to improve his record to 3-1 on the season.

“We pitched and played defense really well today to kind of mask our shortcomings on offense,” said Saugus head coach John Maggiora.

Just five days earlier, Saugus (6-3-1 overall, 2-1 Foothill League) tagged Golden Valley for 21 runs in a victory.

On Wednesday, the Centurions had to work for their runs by moving up runners and using timely hitting against Canyon starter Justin Stark.

Stark also pitched the entire game, allowing six hits, punching out four batters and walking three.

For the most part, Stark kept Saugus hitters at bay.

“Both pitchers did a good job pitching out of some jams,” said Canyon head coach Adam Schulhofer. “(Saugus) just came up with a couple of hits.”

Nick Shrode knocked a single into left field for the Centurions’ first hit of the game in the third inning, and he scored later in the frame on a sacrifice fly by Austin Rodriguez.

That made it a 1-0 Saugus lead.

In the fourth inning, it became a 2-0 advantage when Nick Warren grounded out to score Dylan Freyre from third base.

It was one of two RBIs for Warren, including an RBI single in the sixth inning for a much-needed insurance run.

Freyre got aboard with a leadoff double in the inning and he moved to third on a balk by Stark, who was attempting to make a pick-off move to second.

A two-run lead turned out to be plenty for Donatella, who threw just 84 pitches, 58 for strikes.

“The team picked us up,” Donatella said. “If it weren’t for them, we wouldn’t have won.”

Canyon (2-8, 0-3) did have its opportunities.

Cowboys second baseman Cole Mears went 3-for-3 and he stood on second base on two different occasions with less than two outs.

He was stranded once in the first inning and picked off in the third.

Mears finally came around to score in the sixth when Jacob King drove him home with a two-out RBI double into right field.

It was one of three hits in the inning and it was as much trouble as Donatella was in for Saugus in an error-free game.

“I don’t think there’s one guy wearing a green uniform who’s happy with our hitting today,” Schulhofer said.

After King’s RBI, it was a 2-1 game, but the Centurion hitters did enough in the bottom half of the inning to preserve Donatella’s victory.

“In a perfect world, you’d like to have the offense rolling all the time,” Maggiora said, “but we played well in two phases and that worked for us.”


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