Erick Gonzalez and the Magicians took down down Saugus, 6-0, at World Series Park. (Item File Photo)

Magicians defeat Sachems, start season on good note

SAUGUS -- The Marblehead baseball team scored two runs early in the first inning and never looked back on Wednesday afternoon, notching a 6-0 victory over the Saugus Sachems at World Series Park. What makes the win even more impressive for the Magicians is the fact that this was their first day outside on a real baseball diamond so far this season.

"Our field has been unplayable for the past couple weeks, so we've only done a couple of things on the outfield grass leading up to this," said Marblehead coach Mike Giardi. "This was our first day on a real infield and getting real, game-speed action, and I think the guys did a really good job out there. There's still some things to clean up, but overall the effort was great."

One aspect of Marblehead's game that didn't need cleaning up was the pitching, as senior Max Karass and sophomore Ryan Masters combined for the shutout win. Karass, who earned the win on the bump, pitched the first three innings and gave up just four hits with two walks and five strikeouts, while Masters tossed the remaining four innings and gave up just two hits with one walk and five strikeouts.

"Max got us started out with senior leadership on the mound and rolled through three innings," said Giardi. "The Ryan came in and just did exactly what he needed to do, and that's throw strikes."

Saugus also got a solid performance on the mound, as Steve Pettenati pitched 5 2/3 innings and gave up just three runs (two earned) on three hits with four strikeouts. He did struggle a bit with control, walking a batter and hitting three others.

"Steve battled out there and pitched well, but he didn't get a lot of help behind him today," said Saugus coach Joe Luis. "We didn't play a clean game, made some errors, made mistakes on the basepaths. That stuff will get you beat."

The Sachems also shot themselves in the foot on offense as they were unable to capitalize with runners in scoring position in a couple different innings.

"The big hit just never came for us today," Luis said. "We got guys on base in almost every inning, but we weren't able to do anything with it."

Marblehead got things going right away. A walk, a single and a passed ball got runners on second and third, then catcher Ben Brennan brought a run home with an RBI groundout to make it 1-0 Marblehead. Next up was third baseman Alex Rosen, who hit a grounder to second base that was muffed for an error to bring home a second run.

The score remained 2-0 until the top of the sixth, when Marblehead had a big two-out rally. With runners on first and third and two outs, first baseman Erick Gonzalez laced a RBI single into left-centerfield to start the scoring. After Brigham Keefe walked to load the bases, a passed ball brought home Rosen from third to make it 4-0. Next up was Ryan Harris, who hit a grounder to second base that was once again muffed for an error, bringing home the fifth run for the Magicians.

Marblehead added one more run in the top of the seventh when centerfielder Cole Garaventi knocked a RBI single, putting the score at 6-0.

While it was certainly not the way Saugus wanted to play in its home opener, Luis knows that results will come.

"Obviously it's a little disappointing that we weren't able to play better in our home opener, especially coming off a big win the other day," Luis said. "But the guys will keep working, and there's a long season still ahead."

As for Marblehead, the key’s to clean up a few mistakes and keep moving forward.

"Tomorrow will be the first full practice we'll get on our home field at Seaside, so that'll be nice," Giardi said. "We'll just keep working on those little things, situational baseball that's hard to practice when you're inside. We left the bases loaded once and left guys on a few times, so things like that we can work on now that we're outside."

Marblehead will travel to Haverhill for a non-conference game Friday. Saugus will be on the road in Stoneham Friday.

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