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CIF baseball: Saugus rolling into the quarters

Cents upset defending CIF champion

Posted: May 23, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: May 23, 2012 1:55 a.m.
 

At this point of the season, nothing Saugus baseball does should surprise anybody.

Last year, the Centurions finished tied for last place in the Foothill League. This year, they are in the quarterfinals of the CIF-Southern Section Division I playoffs — their first quarterfinal appearance since 1991.

Saugus did it by upsetting defending Division I champion J.W. North 7-4 on Tuesday in Riverside in the Division I second round.

“We told our guys afterward everyone else will be shocked, but we’re not,” said Saugus head coach John Maggiora. “It’s not arrogant or cocky. We just believe in each other. Down 4-0, we still thought we were going to plug away.”

North led 4-0 after three innings before Saugus (18-10-1) mounted a comeback.

Saugus starter Chad Bennett lasted two-plus innings, as he was hit hard by Oregon State-bound star Gabriel Clark.

Clark hit a two-run home run off Bennett in the first inning and a solo shot in the third.

Bennett exited and Saugus brought in reliever Chris Danielson, who quieted the Huskies (25-6).

In five innings, he allowed five hits and no runs.

“We had confidence in Danielson. It’s like the third time he’s come in and pitched four, five innings and shut the door,” Maggiora said. “He relishes that role.”

Clark was on the mound for the Huskies, as well, and retired the first nine Centurions.

But senior Austin Rodriguez led off the top of the fourth inning with a solo home run, then Chris Devery led off the fifth inning with a home run.

Saugus scored five times in the sixth inning, with Andru Cardenas adding to the offensive explosion with a two-run single.
The Centurions now get Newbury Park on Friday at a site to be determined by a coin flip.

Maggiora expects to see Newbury Park dominant ace Luke Eubank on the mound on Friday.

Eubank is 9-0 with a 1.08 ERA and three no-hitters this season.

Saugus will oppose him with its own ace Justin Donatella.

“It’s mano-a-mano, one vs. one,” Maggiora said of the pitching matchup. “Winner gets to the final four.”

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