ITEM PHOTO BY KATIE MORRISON
Justin Horvath was stellar on the mound in the win for Saugus.
By KATIE MORRISON
SAUGUS — The Saugus baseball team pounded out 12 hits, including seven in a nine-run first inning, to knock down Malden, 14-1, at World Series Park Wednesday afternoon.
It wasn’t the return to Saugus that Golden Tornados coach Steve Freker, who spent the last two seasons at the helm of the Sachems, had hoped for.
“Let’s face it, this team is playing well, hitting the ball well,” Freker said. “They’re veterans, they have about seven seniors starting…I trained most of them, the last couple of years. I like seeing them do well, but not today. I want them to win every time except the times they play us.”
First-year Saugus coach Joe Luis also recognized the significance of Wednesday’s game.
“It was nice for the kids to see their old coach from last year, it was a big game for them because they could show all of the hard work they’ve been putting in and play against him, and they did,” Luis said. “Everything was good.”
The Sachems (6-7) put the game out of reach early, as Ronnie Paolo and Mike Mabee singled to open the game. Pat McDonald reached on an error to load the bases, and Nick Dascoli singled home the game’s first run. Jimmy Alcott grounded to second to bring in another run to make it 2-0. Paul Stamatopoulos brought in two more with a one-out single, and two errors plated another three runs for the Sachems. After a fly out and another single, Freker lifted his starter, Kyle Toomey, after two-thirds of an inning.
Toomey was throwing strikes, but solid contact and defensive mistakes allowed things to get out of hand.
“(Toomey) had come in three or four games and thrown strikes and gotten outs, so we said he deserves a start, let’s give him one,” Freker said. “There were two booted double play balls, it wasn’t all him.”
Matt Geer came on in relief, and helped stop the bleeding, but not before MacDonald’s single extended Saugus’ lead to 9-0.
On the other side, Sachems starter Justin Horvarth was dominant. Horvarth pitched six innings of shutout ball, striking out seven and allowing just five baserunners (three hits and two walks).
“Justin has done that all year long,” Luis said. “He’s 3-1 with a couple of saves. When he gets in a rhythm, he’s probably one of the best pitchers in the league. When he pitches, we only need to scrap together three or four runs.”
Freker, who coached Horvarth when he was at Saugus, echoed those sentiments.
“Justin’s an excellent pitcher, he spots the ball, he threw strikes all day,” Freker said.
Horvarth helped his own cause in the fourth with a RBI single.
Malden didn’t get on the board until the seventh, when Jimmy Pandolfo smashed a leadoff double off of reliever Todd Tringale. He came around to score on Anthony Alterio’s one-out grounder to short.
That run was the first earned run Saugus pitchers have allowed in 26 innings.
Offensively, Steve Ruggiero went 3-for-4 with two RBI and a run scored. Stamatopoulos went 2-for-3 with three runs scored and a walk, and Mabee went 2-for-3 with two runs scored.
Both teams are back in action Monday as Saugus hosts Swampscott and Malden hosts Danvers.