Artesia High School took its first Southern Section baseball title Saturday with considerable help from a Saugus team that committed eight errors. Artesia won the game at Dodger Stadium, 9-4.
"I think we must have made more errors today than we had all along," Saugus Coach Doug Worley said. "I just don't understand it. What can you say? I was going looney out here."
Artesia (22-7), on the other hand, made only one error, a first-inning miscue by third baseman Shane May, which allowed leadoff hitter John Meyers to reach base.
Pioneer pitcher Gunnar Seedborg, however, didn't think that defense was a factor.
"We would have scored more runs than they did even without the errors," he said. "I was thinking to myself out there that I may give up some runs, but our guys are going to score a bunch, too."
While Saugus (20-8) committed at least one error in every inning except the fifth, it was charged with only two unearned runs. The Centurions' generosity did factor into the game, however.
Besides the errors, four Saugus pitchers issued six walks, three of which led directly to Artesia runs.
The Centurions advanced to the final for the first time in its school's history behind a solid pitching staff and good defense.
In four playoff games prior to the championship, they had yielded just seven runs and 15 hits.
After Saugus took a 3-0 lead in the top of the first, the Pioneers came back to collect three runs and four hits off Dennis Moran, the Centurions' No. 1 starter.
Artesia broke the tie in the second by scoring four times on only one hit.
Moran, who came within one out of hurling a no-hitter against Capistrano Valley in the second round, walked the first two hitters before being lifted for George Aliano. Aliano walked the bases loaded, then hit a batter to give Artesia a run. The Pioneers added three more runs in the inning, providing Seedborg (9-3) with a 7-3 lead and all the offensive support he would need.
Saugus first baseman Don Pedersen kept the Centurions' faint hopes alive in the sixth, when he slammed a Seedborg offering over the 395-foot marker in center field for a solo homer. The leadoff homer pulled Saugus to within 9-4, but Seedborg regained his composure and shut down the Centurions the rest of the way.