No. 17 Saugus and No. 1 English were tied at one in the bottom of the sixth inning Saturday when English senior shortstop Miguel Lorenzo hit a towering popup to third. Saugus third baseman Justin DiChiara could not make the catch, losing the ball in the sun, and Lorenzo hustled into second base, just barely reaching the bag before the tag.
“My coach before the game, he told me ‘everything, everything you hit, just go hard,’” Lorenzo said. “It was close, but I got my hand in the base first and then he tagged me in my mouth.”
Lorenzo advanced to third on a long fly out to center by junior center fielder Wanderson Pinales and scored on a passed ball, giving English a 2-1 win and a spot in the Division 3 North quarterfinals.
“That was amazing,” Lorenzo said. “We needed that run.”
Senior starting pitcher Alberto Navarro was dominant for English despite struggling with his command in the top of the first inning.
With the bases loaded and one out in the frame, Saugus sophomore Kyle Autilio smacked a sinking line drive to center field. Pinales robbed Autilio with a diving catch and fired the ball to second to double off the runner and get Navarro out of the jam.
“I just trusted the team,” Navarro said. “I know that the first inning is only the first inning, there’s seven innings in the game. It’s a long game so we just stayed focused and relaxed.”
The lefthander settled in and pitched the complete game, allowing just four hits and five walks while striking out eight.
“Alberto, you know he’s a good competitor,” English coach Ricardo Figueroa said. “He doesn’t give up easy. So many times he’s been through this situation and I just let him go the whole way. And finally he did the job.”
Navarro helped his cause in the second inning with a two-out single up the middle. After senior Ariel Rodriguez walked, junior Luis Munoz roped a double to right field to drive in Navarro for the Eagles’ first run.
Saugus tied the game in the top of the fourth inning when starting pitcher Jay Cub Lever drove in shortstop Victor DeMatteo, but the Sachems were unable to score again.
“I was just looking to help the win in the first round,” Navarro said. “We haven’t been there in a while and it feels great to help the team win.”
English (20-3) failed to advance past the first round of the tournament last year, but this year’s squad will head into the quarterfinals Monday at 4 p.m., against No. 8 Hamilton-Wenham (14-7), which shut out No. 9 East Boston (14-7), 8-0.
“We have some good ballplayers this year and they are kind of more mature now,” Figueroa said. “We are going to be in good shape for the second game.”