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VIBL: Cents catch fire late

Prep baseball: A three-run sixth spurs Saugus to an extra-innings victory

Posted: July 20, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: July 20, 2012 1:55 a.m.

Saugus' Dylan Freyre tags second base and tries to turn a double play as Camarillo's Charlie Ketchum slids into second at Saugus High. Saugus won 7-6.

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Saugus outlasted Camarillo Thursday in its final regular season Valley Invitational Baseball League game Thursday at Saugus High.

Trailing by three runs heading into the bottom of the sixth, Saugus scored twice in the frame and once in the seventh to force extra innings and eventually win 7-6 after eight innings.

Ruben Cardenas was the hero, as he delivered a walk-off sacrifice fly to score Chris Devery and win the game for the Centurions.

“I was focussing on not hitting the ball up the middle and grounding into a double play,” Cardenas said. “I wanted to win the game for my team.”

Saugus starting pitcher Luke Hovey pitched well and kept the Centurions in the game, as he allowed three earned runs through his 5 1/3 innings on the mound.

“Hovey was fantastic for us today,” said Saugus head coach John Maggiora. “He’s a true knuckleballer, which is something you don’t see too often at this level."

Hovey left the game with a 2-0 lead after loading the bases in the fifth.

His replacement, Danny Cuevas, was unable to get Saugus out of the inning, as he issued a bases loaded walk to Camarillo’s Alfonso Aguilera making the score 2-1.

Cuevas hit the next batter Chris McKee and ultimately wasn’t removed until five Camarillo (9-4) base runners crossed the plate.

“Danny didn’t have it today, but he’s been solid for us all summer. I know he’s going to be fine,” Maggiora said.

Saugus’ comeback was sparked in the bottom of the sixth with back-to-back, one-out singles by Nick Warren and Timmy Kahovec. Warren eventually came around to score on a bases-loaded walk by Dylan Freyre, while Kahovec scored on a Devery sacrifice fly to cut the deficit to 5-4.

Down to their final three outs, Joey Mendez led off the bottom of the seventh with an infield single and advanced to second on a bunt single by Cardenas.

Mendez beat the throw at home to tie the score at five on a ground ball fielder’s choice to the first baseman off the bat of Kahovec.

Saugus needed to battle back again in the bottom of the eighth after giving up one run in the top of the inning to make the score 6-5.

Mendez knocked in Freyre to tie the score 6-6, which set up Cardenas’ game winner.

With Devery on third base, Cardenas drove the ball into center field, giving Devery plenty of time to tag up, beat the throw to home, and win the game 7-6.

Saugus finished the VIBL regular season with a record of 9-6-1.

The VIBL playoffs begin Saturday.

“We’ve played a lot of baseball this summer and we want to finish strong,” Maggiora said.



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