May 27, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

Fourth-seeded Woodbridge gets bats going and tops Saugus in CIF Division 3 opener

Woodbridge’s Jake Haruki, who had a clutch pinch-hit single, is congratulated by Nathan Perry Friday. (Photo courtesy Jose Lomboy).

Woodbridge’s bats were held in check through four innings Friday afternoon in the CIF Division 3 opening round baseball playoff game against Saugus.

But the fourth-seeded Warriors got going in the fifth with a run and then added five more in the sixth to defeat the Centurions 6-0 at Ryan Lemmon Stadium.

Woodbridge moves on to face La Sierra Tuesday at 3:15 p.m. and gets another home game, at Ryan Lemmon Stadium. La Sierra (19-10) defeated Ontario Christian 8-4.

Senior Sean McCance was outstanding for the Warriors, pitching a complete game and allowing three hits and striking out six. He didn’t allow a hit through the first 4 1/3 innings. McCance, who is committed to University of Redlands, walked one and hit one batter in the first inning.

But Saugus starting pitcher Connor Bates was also effective, blanking the Warriors through four.

Woodbridge Coach Ryan Brucker expected a battle from the Saugus team which he respected.

“When I saw Saugus, getting a fourth place team out of that league, we knew we were going to face a really good team,” said Brucker. “I was so impressed with their pitcher and the way he pitched. He really kept us off balanced and was in the zone. He had a good fastball and good slider. I knew we were going to be in for a challenge.

“I was really, really proud of the way our guys competed, because it was one of the better pitchers we’ve faced all year and they just stuck with it to throw the run up on the board in the fifth and be able to come back and do what we did in the sixth was awesome. It’s a special team and if we stay in the right mind frame, we have a shot and that’s a really good team over there and I would like to congratulate Coach (Carl) Grissom on an awesome season.”

In the fifth inning, Chase Quezada delivered an RBI single to drive home Brandon Abernathy to put the Warriors ahead 1-0. Then in the sixth, the Warriors had four hits and took advantage of two walks to add five more runs. Pinch-hitter Jake Harucki had an RBI single and Abernathy drove home three runs with a triple to right field. Another run scored on a wild pitch.

Harucki subbed for Anthony De Marco, who was hit in the wrist in the fifth inning.

Carson Panarisi and Erick Polance had singles in the sixth and seventh innings for Saugus. But McCance was able to kept the Centurions off the scoreboard.

“It was an all-around good performance by our guys,” McCance said. “We got it going late, we put some good swings togther against a really good pitcher. We just tried to play short and hit the ball on the ground and luckily, the balls got through. We had great energy in the dugout, everyone was pulling for each other. Everybody wants to win, and that’s our team goal is to go out here, play our best and win CIF, and we got the job done today.

“We were just hitting fastballs and we were thinking right-center approach and we got a rally going and put good swings together.”

McCance also had two hits for Woodbridge. Quezada was 2 for 3 with an RBI and Abernathy scored two runs and drove in three.

—Tim Burt, OC Sports Zone; timburt@ocsportszone.com