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Golden Valley baseball pulls off another stunner

Grizzlies come back to beat Saugus

Posted: April 19, 2013 11:15 p.m.
Updated: April 19, 2013 11:15 p.m.

If you find yourself in first place of the Foothill League, take note.

The Golden Valley Grizzlies can’t be taken lightly.

And if you thought Golden Valley’s upset of first place Valencia last week was improbable, then its 6-5 win over the Saugus Centurions on Friday must seem impossible — considering they were losing by four runs in the seventh.

“I think the guys are finally starting to believe and we’re getting more and more confidence,” said Golden Valley head coach Scott Drootin about his team’s resiliency.

The Grizzlies (3-17 overall, 2-7 Foothill League) trailed 5-1 entering the top of the seventh inning. But after two singles, an RBI groundout, a walk and a fielding error, they trailed 5-3 with runners at second and third.

Saugus (10-10-1 overall, 5-4 Foothill) chose to intentionally walk Billy Fredrick and pitch to Equan Martin.

Martin, hitless to that point, had made a costly error in a fifth inning that saw Saugus score three unearned runs.

“I was just trying to stay focused and get a base hit and score the run,” said Martin about his at-bat. “I pretty much had one job.”

Martin did his job, grounding a chopper through the middle of the infield to tie the score at 5-5.

“He made an error and didn’t let that affect his at-bat. That’s maturity,” Drootin said.

Fredrick went first to third on Martin’s single and, with Josh Baldacci at the plate, Saugus reliever Caden Maher was called for a balk, bringing home what proved to be the winning run. It was the second time in three games that Saugus has lost on a balk.

Golden Valley’s comeback sullied the dominant outing of Saugus starting pitcher Eric Little, who allowed one run on two hits in six innings before Maher replaced him.

Leading 6-5, Golden Valley still had to hold off Saugus in the bottom of the seventh.

Grizzly relief pitcher Nick Tejeda struggled to throw strikes, walking two of the first three batters he faced.
Drootin had to do something.

Golden Valley ran a play they’ve run six times this season, according to Drootin.

Tejeda stepped off the rubber and faked a throw to second. The shortstop and second baseman pretended the fake throw had gone into center field. Saugus freshman Caden Salkeld took off for third and Tejeda ran over and tagged him.

“We knew they had a freshman out there, who’s a great baseball player,” Drootin said. “We wanted to do something.”

Tejeda got Saugus’ Timmy Kahovec to ground out to end the game and Golden Valley again knocked a team out of first place.

But the Grizzlies aren’t simply trying to play spoiler.

“The guys are thinking playoffs, believe it or not. They want to run the gamut. You never know, everybody is so close,” Drootin said. “We just try to win one game at a time.”

The road back to first place won’t be easy for Saugus, which plays series with the Foothill’s top three teams: Canyon, Valencia and West Ranch to finish the regular season.

“We’re going to have to take care of business,” said Saugus head coach John Maggiora about the schedule. “It’s going to be a dogfight the next few weeks for whoever wants it.”



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