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CIF softball: Swinging into the second

Saugus falls behind early, but bats come alive to aid comeback

Posted: May 18, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: May 18, 2012 1:55 a.m.

Saugus first baseman Taylor Kister (15) celebrates with her team after hitting a home run on Thursday at Saugus High.

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Timely hitting lifted Saugus softball over Kennedy of La Palma 8-6 in a first round CIF-Southern Section Division I playoff game on Thursday at Saugus High School.

“Our offense was on today,” said Saugus head coach Julie Watson. “Even after getting behind in the first inning we stayed mentally tough and pushed through the way we usually do.”

After surrendering three runs in the top of the first inning, the Centurions (21-7) rebounded with a rally of their own.

Following a Diana Mendoza single and a Breea Bergara double, Centurions Rachel Shotzbarger and Alyssa Rodriguez drove in their teammates by way of a single and an RBI groundout to bring the contest to 3-2.

“Today we had to pitch around a small strikezone, and when we got the ball anywhere near the plate we got bombed,” said Saugus pitcher Brandi Burgin, who pitched a complete game with seven strikeouts. “It’s a big relief to know your offense can back you up, and that helped me pitch around the rough patches.”

Burgin’s inconsistency on the mound was mirrored by her team’s offensive struggles in the beginning of innings.

Of Saugus’ eight runs on Thursday, five were scored in the midst of two-out rallies. The first explosion occurred in the bottom of the third inning, when teammates Alanna Layton and Karlee Bickford doubled back-to-back to drive in two more runs and push the score to 4-3. After an RBI single from Mendoza in the fourth, and a one-out home run from sophomore Taylor Kister in the fifth, Karlee Bickford and Kayla Morrow crossed home to push the lead to 8-4 heading into the final two innings.

Following a 1-2-3 sixth inning, Burgin surrendered a two-run home run in the bottom of the seventh inning to pull Kennedy (11-8) within two runs.

“I wasn’t really scared when they brought it to 8-6,” Kister said. “We do this drill in practice called 21 outs, and its designed to help us with situations like today.”

Burgin rebounded to record the final three outs, ending Kennedy’s season and setting up a matchup on the road against Foothill High in the second round on Tuesday.

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