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Saugus baseball breaks the pattern in victory

Coming off two tough losses, Saugus holds onto lead

Posted: April 26, 2013 11:06 p.m.
Updated: April 26, 2013 11:06 p.m.

Saugus' Rex Kemple (25) rounds third base after hitting a two-run home run on Friday at Canyon High. Photo by Dan Watson.

 

It’s almost as if the baseball gods wanted to test the Saugus Centurions.

For the third straight game, Saugus went into the last half inning of play with a four-run lead.

But after losing the first two tries in gut-wrenching fashion, the Centurions got it right on Friday, beating the Canyon Cowboys 5-1 at Canyon High School with little trouble in the seventh inning.

Saugus passed the test.

“We’ve had some different situations like that and we’ve had a couple hard losses,” said Saugus sophomore pitcher Eric Little. “We just tried to stay positive in practice.”

On Wednesday, the Centurions lost 6-4 to Canyon after leading 4-0 most of the game. That loss came five days after Saugus blew a 5-1 lead to eventually lose 6-5 to Golden Valley.

“This is how you fight,” said Saugus head coach John Maggiora. “It could be easy to look around and say, ‘Oh boy, we could be in the exact same situation.’ And they didn’t.”

Little was the winning pitcher after going 5 2/3 innings and grinding his way through all kinds of tough situations. The right-hander allowed nine hits and walked three while striking out two, but he let just one run score.

Saugus’ Chris Danielson, who pitched six innings on Wednesday, relieved Little in the sixth and recorded the last four outs of the game to preserve the victory.

Saugus (11-11-1 overall, 6-5 Foothill League) remains tied for third in league and remains very much alive in the title race at two games behind first place.

The win came courtesy of big hits from the bottom of the order for the Centurions, including a 3-for-4, two-RBI day from sophomore Rex Kemple.

Kemple had been struggling with the bat as of late.

“It’s pretty good,” Kemple said of his day. “Hopefully just a slump-buster for me.”

Kemple belted his first home run of the season, a two-run shot over the right-field wall, in the fourth inning to start the game’s scoring.

Two batters later, Joe Bahr extended Saugus’ lead to 3-0 with a solo home run to right field.

Both homers were given up by Canyon’s Max Weinstein, who pitched all seven innings and allowed five runs, three earned, off eight hits.

Canyon (15-8, 7-4) had plenty of chances to score throughout the game, but it couldn’t cash in with a timely hit, eventually stranding 11 baserunners.

“It feels like we had our guys on base all day and we just couldn’t get it going,” said Canyon head coach Adam Schulhofer, whose team fell to second place in league.

Canyon scored its lone run in the sixth off J.J. Carter’s RBI single.

Saugus added another run in the sixth when Rudy Aguilar hit a ground ball that was mishandled at second base and a final run on an infield RBI single by pinch hitter Ty Faulconer in the seventh.

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