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Foothill League baseball: Different, but it works

Saugus sweeps G.V. with lots of unconventional scoring

Posted: April 21, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: April 21, 2012 1:55 a.m.

Saugus shortstop Andru Cardenas heads to third base on Friday against Golden Valley at Golden Valley High.

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In baseball there are perfect games and then there are imperfect games.

This one was imperfect.

Saugus defeated Golden Valley 8-3 on Friday at Golden Valley High in a game in which all 11 runs were scored without a hit to knock them in.

Runs were scored by sacrifices (three), errors (three), wild pitches (two), walks (two) and a hit batsman.

“It was absolutely ugly, but when you’re on the winning side it doesn’t seem as ugly,” said Saugus head coach John Maggiora.

The game lasted slightly over three hours, there were seven wild pitches, Golden Valley (4-15 overall, 0-9 Foothill League) walked 10 batters and each team fell for the other’s trick.

With Saugus (12-8-1, 6-3) up 1-0 in the top of the fourth inning and with two on, Centurion Spencer Daniels laid down a squeeze bunt. Golden Valley starting pitcher Riley Sherwood fielded the play and tried to tag Daniels out going to first. But Daniels backpedaled and Sherwood chased him and applied a tag.

That allowed Saugus’ Andru Cardenas to take an extra base and settle at third base.

He scored on Austin Rodriguez’s ensuing sacrifice fly to make it 3-0.

Sherwood kept his team in the game, lasting four-plus innings and exiting down 3-1 in the fifth.

Saugus, though, extended the lead to 4-1 in the inning off Nick Shrode’s sacrifice fly.

Golden Valley got back into the game in the top of the fifth with its own trick.

With Billy Fredrick on first base and Jonah Sabedra on third, Fredrick trailed off the first base bag faking that he botched a stolen base attempt. His purpose was to draw Saugus catcher Nick Warren to throw to second base to get Sabedra home from third. It worked as Warren threw the ball into center field, allowing Golden Valley to cut the lead to 4-2.

One batter later, Golden Valley made a double steal and Warren’s throw to third base was wild, allowing the Grizzlies to score their third run.

“We’ve got to try and win a game at all costs,” said Golden Valley head coach Scott Drootin. “We can’t sit back and play regular.”

This game got even more irregular when the Centurions batted in the sixth inning.

Three hits loaded the bases. Saugus then scored four times in the inning by way of a wild pitch, followed by two bases-loaded walks and a hit batsman to set the score at 8-3.

Golden Valley used four pitchers in the inning.

Drootin joked he should fire the Golden Valley pitching coach.

He is the Golden Valley pitching coach.

“I’m happy we competed, but disappointed our pitchers didn’t throw strikes in critical moments,” Drootin said.

If there was a bright spot to the game, it was Saugus starter Chad Bennett.

In the senior’s first start of the season, he went 4 2/3 innings, allowing two hits, three walks, striking out three. He allowed three runs, but none were earned.

“You have to have an objective and a goal you need to obtain,” Bennett said on pitching through the slow-paced game.

That goal?

“Get 21 outs,” he said.

It was a marathon, an odd marathon, but Saugus got to the finish line.

The Centurions are tied with West Ranch for second place in the Foothill League and trail first-place Hart by two games with six to go.

“I don’t think anyone will be content with second place,” Bennett said.

Golden Valley, however, would find satisfaction in a win — any kind.

Perfect or imperfect.

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