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Saugus baseball: The awakening

Posted: March 20, 2008 12:15 a.m.
Updated: May 21, 2008 5:03 a.m.

West Ranch's Cal Vogelsang stretches to force out Saugus' Aaron Hooper at second base in the second inning of the Centurions 12-3 win over the Wildcats Wednesday at West Ranch High.

 
During Tuesday afternoon's practice for the Saugus baseball team, ex-Centurion head coach Doug Worley stopped by and spoke to the team for about 15 minutes about the game, and more specifically the art of hitting.

Saugus didn't do much of it in its first Foothill League game on Friday when Valencia held them to just three hits.

"Don't try to hard. Just have fun, relax and forget your last inning and last at-bat,'" said current Saugus head coach John Maggiora, recalling Worley's words.

While Saugus seemed to take the speech to heart, it might want to remember Wednesday's game against West Ranch as the Centurions hit often en route to a 12-3 win over the Wildcats at West Ranch High.

"It was in our heads," said Saugus' Nick Kopacka of his team's previous hitting struggles. "We were trying to hard and coach said to take it one game at a time."

The Centurions (4-3, 1-1) came out strong with two hits in the first inning leaving the bases loaded, but dropped a sign of things to come.

After the Wildcats (3-4, 0-2) pushed across one run on a wild pitch from starting pitcher Jonathan Boersma in the bottom of the first, the Centurion bats awoke.

Troy Ajer ripped an RBI double in the second inning, starting the hit parade. In the fourth he hit a two-run home run.

"It was a 2-0 pitch so I was just looking for something to drive and I found one," Ajer said.

Ajer's blast sailed well over the right field fence putting the Centurions up 3-1.

In the top of the fifth, Aaron Hooper ripped a two-out two-RBI double to left field for a 5-1 Centurion lead giving Boersma all the runs he would need.

After a rocky first, Boersma settled down using just 39 pitches to get through the next four innings allowing no runs.

"We didn't hit Boersma well," said West Ranch head coach Casey Burrill. "He pitched a great game and kept us off-balance all day long."

Boersma finished the game with a one-hitter through 5 1/3 innings and allowed only one earned run to get the win for Saugus.

"J.B. (Boersma) gets out there and throws strikes and works quickly," Maggiora said. "He had a lot of quick innings and that keeps our hitters up."

After a Centurion error led to the second West Ranch run, the Centurions opened the game up in the seventh.

Saugus used only five hits to push across seven runs in an inning which featured 12 batters, three West Ranch pitchers and two infield singles.

"We set them up to be successful but when they needed the big hit they got it," Burrill said.

The big hit was a bases loaded double from Kopacka that cleared the bags and put Saugus up 10-2.

"I was just staying relaxed," Kopacka said. "I have been swinging too hard and I was trying to stay back on a fastball."

Zachary Vincej singled to drive in Kopacka two batters later and the Centurions were up 12-2 heading into the last of the seventh.

With the bats rolling, Saugus heads into Friday's game against Hart only looking to improve.

"It's good to get back to even," Maggiora said. "It's good to be playing well and we will keep playing our brand of baseball. It's not about the team we are playing, it's about the way we are playing."

The Wildcats however are in need of a win after opening Foothill League play with two consecutive losses.

"Obviously Friday for us, becomes a very big day," Burrill said. "We want to pick up a playoff spot and to do that we are going to need to start picking up some wins in League."

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