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Saugus baseball wins the hard way

Centurions defeat the Hart Indians in extra-inning back-and-forth affair

Posted: March 13, 2013 9:51 p.m.
Updated: March 13, 2013 9:51 p.m.
Saugus High's Chris Devery (10) hits an RBI single in the eight inning to give Saugus the lead against Hart High at Hart on Wednesday. Saugus High's Chris Devery (10) hits an RBI single in the eight inning to give Saugus the lead against Hart High at Hart on Wednesday.
Saugus High's Chris Devery (10) hits an RBI single in the eight inning to give Saugus the lead against Hart High at Hart on Wednesday.

Saugus Centurions baseball took one of the more stressful routes to victory.

But in the Foothill League opener against a talented Hart Indians team, the Centurions will take it.

Saugus had to fend off multiple comeback attempts on the way to a 5-4 win over Hart after 10 back-and-forth innings on Wednesday at Hart High School.

“I think we age 20 years with each game,” said Saugus head coach John Maggiora. He was referring to Saugus’ two wild losses to Hart last season, each by one run.

These two teams picked up right where they left off last year.

Saugus (5-3 overall, 1-0 Foothill League) never trailed in the game, but watched a 1-0 lead disappear in the seventh inning and a 2-1 lead vanish in the eighth inning.

Finally, following an RBI single by Saugus’ Nick Warren and a two-run home run by teammate Chris Devery in the 10th inning, Saugus pulled in front 5-2.

That turned out to be just enough to hang on for league win No. 1 in 2013.

“Our bats need to come along earlier in the game,” Devery said. “Fortunately, they came along later in the game and we were able to get the W.”

In addition to his two-run shot, Devery also ripped a clutch two-out RBI single to center field in the eighth inning, which gave the Centurions a 2-1 lead at the time.

Devery was 2-for-4 with three RBIs, a walk and two runs. He scored Saugus’ first run of the game in the second inning on a throwing error by Hart left fielder Chad Haslock.

Saugus junior Roy Verdejo was the winning pitcher after going 3 1/3 up-and-down innings of relief.

Sophomore Eric Little started the game for the Centurions and pitched six nearly flawless innings, allowing three hits, zero runs and striking out four.

Little left the game after 74 pitches with a 1-0 lead headed into the seventh.

“We kind of know his limits sometimes,” Maggiora said of pulling the sophomore.

Hart (4-4, 0-1) had an impressive pitching performance of its own from senior starter Aaron Hamilton, who went seven-plus innings and gave up two unearned runs off four hits. Hamilton went after hitters throughout the game and struck out eight.

His biggest issue was the lack of run support

“We had opportunities to win and when you have opportunities to win, you’ve got to take advantage,” said Hart head coach Jim Ozella.

Even in the final inning, the Indians had a chance.

With two out in the 10th inning and trailing by three runs, Hart’s Pearson Good brought Dayton Provost home on an infield RBI single to third base to cut the lead to 5-3.

The next batter, junior Nick Valaika, belted an RBI double to deep left field on a ball which was a few feet from clearing the fence for a game-tying home run.

Baggio Saldivar flew out to center to end the threat.

“I had a feeling it was going to be close either way,” Maggiora said. “Give credit to both teams for coming back.”

Saldivar got the Indians on the board with an RBI single in the seventh, which tied the score 1-1 and helped extend the game to extra innings.

Saugus again pulled in front with a Devery’s single in the eighth, but Hart wouldn’t go away.

Provost blooped an RBI single to center field to tie it again, at 2-2. But despite having a runner at third base with one out in the inning, Hart couldn’t capitalize.


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