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Arabs win in dramatic fashion

March 11, 2001|By JON HINSHAW, Sports Writer

IMPERIAL — For the first time since 1996, the Imperial Valley College softball team defeated Southwestern College via a 6-5, eight-inning victory here Friday.

The Arabs (8-5 overall, 2-1 Pacific Coast Conference) rallied in the final inning on three straight singles by Nicole Morlet, Olga Noris and Erika Baxter. Baxter's single, her third of the game, drove in Morlet to give IVC the win.

"Our offense has as good a chance as anyone in our league to do well," said Baxter, who was 3-for-4 with a walk and two RBIs as the designated hitter.

"Every player wants to be in the position I was in at the end of the game with the opportunity to drive in the winning run. I was up there going for it because those are the type of opportunities every player wants."


The victory almost seemed to slip from IVC's grasp in the bottom of the seventh and top of the eighth. The Arabs let a good situation on offense slip by in the seventh frame and a couple lead-off singles by the Apaches (2-4, 0-2) in the eighth looked to swing the tide.

IVC had the sacks juiced with no outs in what could have been the last inning of the contest, but a double-play ball off the bat of Adela Green and a strikeout by Michelle Briseño ended the threat.

Southwestern then quickly put two runners on with no outs.

Not dwelling on its six errors in the contest, IVC took out the lead runner on a grounder induced by pitcher Jennifer Briseño and collected the second out when Yolanda Tate put down a sacrifice bunt. Briseño then garnered her sixth strikeout, ending the inning and giving her squad another breath of life.

"We didn't let our errors early in the game put us down," Baxter said. "It didn't put us in a slump. Our defense isn't the best, but we came through when it counted the most."

Southwestern scored three in the first inning, two of which were unearned, behind a two-run single by Carrie Girard. Southwestern added two more runs in the second.

Monica De Los Reyes hit an RBI single in the second to drive in her squad's fourth run and an error in the outfield allowed another Apache runner to reach home for a 5-1 lead.

IVC collected a run in the first on a single by Baxter that scored Morlet and added another on an infield single by Mariel Martinez that scored Jenny Burgos.

Briseño held Southwestern in the third and fourth to allow her squad time to come back.

Morlet made sure that happened. A lead-off walk by Briseño was followed by a single by Martinez to put two on with no outs, but consecutive outs followed. Then Morlet unloaded on a pitch from Apache starter Amy Johnson that rode the wind over the heads of the outfielders and into the left-center field gap for a three-run home run and a 5-5 tie.

The squads then battled with little offensive effectiveness in the fifth and sixth innings.

"After those first two innings our defense really played well and we held them scoreless," said IVC coach Jill Lerno. "They stayed working together as a team and our camaraderie was great. This team never gets down. They just keep coming back and they stick together. They picked up their defense and they knew they could do it. They know defense leads to wins."

In addition to Briseño's pitching line of a complete game, 12 hits, no walks and just two earned runs; Morlet provided the biggest stick with a 3-for-4 outing, including three RBIs and three runs.

IVC travels to San Diego Mesa for a game at 3 p.m. Wednesday.

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