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Saugus baseball edges out win over Golden Valley

Posted: March 19, 2014 9:52 p.m.
Updated: March 19, 2014 9:52 p.m.

If the Saugus Centurions are going to compete for a Foothill League title in 2014, its pitching will be the team’s backbone.

And through one game of Foothill League play, the staff ace proved to be ready.

Behind Eric Little’s complete-game shutout, the Centurions defeated the Golden Valley Grizzlies 1-0 in the Foothill League opener Wednesday at Golden Valley High School.

“The toughest thing for a pitcher is to keep on going out there and throw zeroes when your team isn’t giving you run (support),” said Saugus head coach John Maggiora. “It’s easy to pitch when you’re up 7-0, but to go out there with only a one-run lead for most of the game and to throw up zeroes shows just how much he’s grown.”

Tyler Grissom scored the lone and winning run of the game for the Centurions (6-2 overall, 1-0 Foothill League), as a balk by Golden Valley starting pitcher Jaiden France in the third inning allowed Grissom to cross the plate.

Golden Valley (3-5, 0-1) head coach Gino Pomilia said the balk was called because France went to his mouth while he was on the mound, but that France wasn’t licking his fingers.

The Grambling State commit scattered three hits and finished with one earned run and five strikeouts over his complete-game effort.

“He had his fastball going and he threw this offspeed pitch for strikes,” Pomilia said regarding France’s performance. “He threw well enough to win the game.”

But for as well as France pitched, Little kept the Grizzlies off the board.

The 6-foot-3, 170-pound junior limited Golden Valley to four hits and finished with three strikeouts.

“Pretty much everything,” Little said on what was working for him on the mound. “I just tried to pound the zone. They’re a tough team and any one (of them) can take you out, but you just have to throw strikes and get outs.”

The Grizzlies threatened to tie the game in the bottom of the seventh inning.

Following Little’s three-pitch strikeout on Jesse Mark, Lukas Granado poked a one-out double down the right field line.

Granado advanced to third by way of a fielder’s choice off the bat of Cole Bygum, but Little shut the door on a potential Golden Valley comeback as he struck out Cody Rightmyer looking on three pitches to end the game.

“(Little) showed great poise,” Maggiora said regarding Little’s performance in the seventh inning. “That’s an experienced varsity pitcher. He’s been in those situations before, so I don’t think he was fazed by it.”

As the Foothill League schedule continues on Friday, Saugus will attempt to stay unbeaten as it hosts Canyon, while Golden Valley will play at West Ranch.



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