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Saugus Loses Playoff Game Under a Mat

Times Staff Writer

For Coach Doug Worley and the Saugus High baseball team, the Centurions’ 2-1, nine-inning loss at Santa Clara on Friday was the pits.

“That’s a pile of garbage,” Worley said after his team was eliminated in the first round of the Southern Section 3-A Division playoffs.

No, not garbage pits. Porta-Pits--the portable mattresses used by high jumpers to break their falls. Santa Clara Coach John Lorenzana happened to have a few lying around in center field--more than 500 feet from home plate.

“We never even bother with them,” Lorenzana said after the game. “They never come into play. They’re never a factor.”

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They were in this game. And how. In the first inning, Saugus third baseman Tom Dodson crushed a fastball that sailed over the head of center fielder Pat Alvarez and kept rolling. . . . and rolling. George Lopata scored from first base and Dodson easily circled the bases for an apparent home run.

But after a 15-minute conference by the umpires and a subsequent protest by Worley, Dodson and Lopata were ordered back to second and third base. The ball had rolled beneath one of the mattresses and Dodson’s more than 500-foot shot was ruled a ground-rule double.

Lopata eventually scored on an error, but Dodson was stranded and Saugus had to settle for a 1-0 lead. The stage was set for a pitching duel in the sun in which Saugus pitcher Roger Salkeld and Santa Clara’s Mike Teron combined for 27 strikeouts. Each right-hander pitched a complete game.

“The ball goes 600 feet and goes into a Porta-Pit,” Worley said in disgust. “Their coach says he’s never seen a ball hit here that far, he says, ‘Sorry, I’ll move them’ and that’s it: Game’s over. Saugus loses.”

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Santa Clara ended the game in the ninth inning when Alvarez singled with the bases loaded to score Ken Knight with the game-winner. Saugus ends its season with an 18-8 record.

Salkeld (8-3) struck out 16, and Teron (7-0) answered with 11 strikeouts. Salkeld finished the season with 126 strikeouts in 75 innings.

The Saints (17-3) nicked Salkeld for a run in the fifth inning when Teron singled to score Kasha Clemons.


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