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The next verse is tougher than first

Posted: April 3, 2008 12:35 p.m.
Updated: June 4, 2008 5:05 a.m.
After the Saugus baseball team defeated West Ranch by nine runs in the teams' first meeting of the season, Tuesday's rematch didn't come out nearly as easily for the Centurions.

It took nine innings, but Saugus came out on top with a 6-5 win over the Wildcats at home.

Saugus first baseman Aaron Hooper hit a bases loaded, walkoff single to right-center field with one out to score Zachary Vincej for the win, the team's third straight in Foothill League play.

"I was just looking to put something in the outfield to score Zach from third and I got it," Hooper said.

What sent the game to extra innings was the sixth frame, when both teams hit home runs to stay alive.

The top of the sixth started with West Ranch down 2-1 and Casey Watkins leading off with a single. He was caught too far off the bag during the next at bat and would have been picked off easily, but Centurions starting pitcher Jonathan Boersma's throw sailed high and Watkins took third on the play.

Boersma then walked Brett Bradbury and two batters later, catcher Michael Browne singled Watkins home to tie the score. The next hitter, first baseman Jake Bernards, smacked a three-run home run over the fence in center field to take a 5-2 lead.

"It was a no doubter," said West Ranch head coach Casey Burrill. "I knew right off the bat the ball was gone."

But the Centurions (6-4, 4-2) had a long ball of their own in the bottom of the frame.

With two outs and two on, Troy Ajer answered with a line-drive shot down the left field line that rose just enough to sail over the fence and tie the score at 5-5.

The homer came off a curveball from Wildcats reliever Trevor Fredrickson, who had gotten his team out of a bases-loaded jam in the previous inning.

"I hit it hard. I knew it was long but I thought I was going to get a double or something," Ajer said.

"It was great to get the team back in the game after being down the last inning," the right fielder said. "We were down but we certainly were not out. We just had to keep pushing."

Both teams were retired in order in the seventh. In the eighth, the Wildcats (4-7, 2-4) opened with a walk to Bradbury and a chance to go ahead.

Fredrickson's sacrifice bunt moved Bradbury over and Michael Browne hit a ball to center fielder Stefan Cordes. Cordes bobbled the ball but made a shoestring catch and doubled up Bradbury, who was already at third on the play.

Some on the Wildcats side argued Cordes didn't catch the ball, and Burrill came out to discuss it with the umpires.

"I thought he caught it," Burrill said. "A couple of our coaches thought he dropped it. It was that close of a play.

"That's just an umpire's judgment call and he was a heck of a lot closer than the rest of us," Burrill added. "I assume he made the right call."

Saugus head coach John Maggiora said he thought Cordes made the catch too.

"He definitely caught it. I had a good vantage point," he said. "He did a bit of a circus act to catch it, but he caught it."

Saugus had the bases loaded with two outs in the eighth when Dylan Mascarenas popped in the infield to a place that looked like trouble, on the third base side just behind the mound.

Wildcats relief pitcher C.J. Woldanski climbed over the mound and made an over-the-shoulder catch as he tumbled to the ground, sending the game to a ninth inning.

"I don't think I've ever seen that play before," Burrill said.

But West Ranch was set down in order by Centurions relief pitcher Michael Hebert, who retired 10 of the 11 batters he faced. The senior struck out five batters and walked one in his 3 2/3 innings of work to get the win.


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