Saugus High totaled 23 to Crespi’s 18 in Wednesday’s third-round game of the El Segundo tournament.
Why the concern over total bases? Because based on the five-base edge, Saugus will advance to the fifth-place bracket of the tournament, while Crespi drops into the running for ninth.
The game at Saugus was halted because of darkness with the score tied, 1-1, after nine innings. Coaches Scott Muckey of Crespi (1-1-1) and Doug Worley of Saugus (1-1-1) agreed that the outcome would be recorded as a tie but that the Centurions would advance by virtue of most total bases.
Neither coach agreed, however, on when the game should have been halted. Muckey argued with the home plate umpire that Saugus should not have been allowed a final at-bat in the ninth inning. “He said, ‘This is it after this half-inning,’ ” Muckey said. “I said, ‘If you’re going to call it, call it now.’ ”
With dusk settling in, Muckey took it upon himself to offset any edge that Crespi may have had. The umpire handed Crespi catcher Kevin Walsh a bone-white baseball in the ninth inning, but before the ball reached pitcher Pat Bennett, Muckey gave it a shampoo with dirt from the first-base line.
“They were throwing in nice, new, white balls,” Muckey said. “I’m not going to let them do that.”
While the sun shone, so did Saugus senior right-hander Roger Salkeld who, two days past his 18th birthday, truly is the man on the mound.
Salkeld (1-0) struck out a school-record 19 and walked two while pitching a three-hitter for his second complete game. Salkeld struck out the side three times--needing only 10 pitches in the first inning. He had eight strikeouts after only 37 pitches.
“I’m pleased,” Muckey said. “Anytime you get a chance to stay in there with Roger Salkeld . . .”
Salkeld was a strike away from posting a shutout with 14 strikeouts. But third baseman Trevor Rice’s unsuccessful attempt at a diving catch of Don Calabria’s low pop fly on the infield grass in the seventh allowed Chris Romero to score from second.
“That was my fault,” Salkeld said. “ I should have had that one.”
Crespi starter Chad Nichols went 5 1/3 innings before he was replaced by Bennett with the bases loaded in the sixth and the game scoreless.
Bennett threw a wild pitch, allowing pinch-runner Andy Nolan to score from third, before pitching out of the jam.