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Pitch-perfect outing

Kister, Hooper combine for shutout to boost Saugus’ playoff prospects

Posted: May 1, 2009 9:22 p.m.
Updated: May 2, 2009 4:55 a.m.
Hart’s Adam Bouyer (24) is tagged out by Saugus second baseman Brett Piper (12) as Piper tries to turn the double play Friday at Saugus High School. Hart’s Adam Bouyer (24) is tagged out by Saugus second baseman Brett Piper (12) as Piper tries to turn the double play Friday at Saugus High School.
Hart’s Adam Bouyer (24) is tagged out by Saugus second baseman Brett Piper (12) as Piper tries to turn the double play Friday at Saugus High School.

A pair of dominant pitching performances led Saugus to a key victory over Hart only two days after an 11 inning loss had put the Centurions’ playoff future in peril.

Tommy Kister and Kyle Hooper combined for a six-hit shutout to give Saugus a 3-0 win and a two-game lead over the Indians in the race for the final Foothill League playoff spot.

“I told my guys after the game that this was the gutsiest pitching performance I have ever seen,” said Saugus head coach John Maggiora. “For these guys to come out and pitch like that after they pitched 11 innings on Wednesday is just awesome.”

Against Hart (11-10-1, 5-6) two days ago, Hooper pitched seven innings and Kister threw the final four frames of a 4-3 loss.

However on Friday, three runs were more than enough for Saugus (11-9, 7-4),

“After Wednesday’s game I knew Tommy was going to be eligible to pitch six innings today,” Maggiora said. “I didn’t know if he could do it, but we just wanted him to get us through their order a couple of times, and he wound up giving us five strong innings.

Hooper told me on Wednesday that he’d be good for an inning, but then he came up to me today and said he give us three. We agreed to split the difference and have him go two.”

Kister struggled to find his groove early, loading the bases with two outs in the first and one out in the second, but both times he managed to get off the hook.

“We just faced both those guys the other day so I thought we had a good approach coming into the game,” said Hart head coach Jim Ozella. “We had our chances early, but they got the outs they needed and made the plays they needed to make.”

The biggest play came when Saugus left fielder James Threw made a running, over the shoulder catch on a two-out shot off the bat of Hart starting pitcher Trevor Brown in the second inning.

“It’s a fine line between winning and losing a game like this,” Ozella said. “It just came down to the fact that their pitchers beat our hitters. When you get right down to it, this is a one-on-one game between the batter and the pitcher, and their pitchers won today.”

Saugus pushed across its first two runs when Hart third baseman Nolan Simons’ errant throw to the plate failed to nail Aaron Hooper and extended the inning, allowing Stefan Cordes to knock home Justin Sheehan.

“We need to just do the little things right,” Ozella said. “That means not walking the leadoff hitter and not making errors.”

Kister only allowed one hit during his final three innings of work before handing the ball off to Hooper in the sixth.

“After those first two innings, his pitch count was at 48, and I was like, ‘Oh boy,’” Maggiora said. “But he really locked in during the next three innings.”

Hooper walked the leadoff man in the sixth, but he retired the next three Indian batters to maintain a two-run lead before the
Cents tacked on an insurance run in the seventh when Brett Piper drove in Cordes with a single.

“We’re not a great offensive team,” Maggiora said. “We’re not going to go out and have many games where we put up 15, 16, 17 runs like Valencia or West Ranch, but we know that with our pitching if we put a few runs on the board, then we can win.”

After getting the first two Hart batters in the bottom of the seventh Hoover surrendered a double to Devin Rodriguez and hit Spenser Souza to bring the tying run to the plate for the Indians, but Hoover whiffed pinch hitter Jeremy Villalovos to close out the game.

“Tommy did a great job of getting through those first five innings for us,” Hoover said. “He left me with the easy part.”



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