Wildcats rally past Palm Desert

March 29, 2001|By JON HINSHAW, Sports Writer

BRAWLEY — After getting ahead 5-0 here Wednesday in a non-league contest against the Palm Desert High School baseball team, Brawley Union ended up having to come back for a 7-6 win in its final at-bat.

Brawley's Chris Ramirez, who had entered the game a half-inning earlier to pitch in relief, nailed a 3-2 offering from Aztec reliever Jerry Seuss into left field to score Andy Buckner.

The victory was Brawley's fourth of the season against six losses and came against an Aztec squad ranked eighth in the state coming into the contest.

"We really played as a team today, maybe for the first time all season," said Ramirez, who recorded the final two outs to end Palm Desert's rally in the seventh inning. "This win gives us a lot of confidence. Since the beginning of the season we've always fought back. Until the last out we play our hardest."


Early on it looked like the Wildcats wouldn't have to struggle in the latter innings as they built a five-run lead in the second frame. Facing hard-throwing Aztec starter Kyle Huddy, who drew over a half dozen scouts to watch his 88-mph fastball, Brawley broke through with three hits and a pair of walks with two outs.

Mitchell Ruiz was the first to cross home plate after he hit into a fielder's choice and scored when Sergio Romo hammered a double. Romo, who started the contest on the mound, was then joined by Matt Smith on the basepaths after Huddy issued him a free pass. Joel Aguirre then singled home Romo for a 2-0 lead.

Another walk, this time to leadoff hitter Curtis Smith, loaded the bases and David Santana jumped the lead to 4-0 with a two-run single. Smith added Brawley's final run of the inning after he took home on a busted pick-off attempt on Santana at first.

The lead seemed safe as Romo rolled through Palm Desert's lineup but an RBI single by Zach Adams knocked Romo from the game in the fifth. Dominic Aguirre came on in relief and yielded another run, an RBI single by Seuss, before ending the inning on a double play.

Aguirre ran into trouble in the seventh, however, as he walked two of the first three batters. Brandon Burnett then took the mound with one out and gave up an RBI single to Huddy and a two-run double to Nick Salotti. The three runs knotted the score at 5-5 and prompted Wildcat coach Pedro Carranza to make another pitching change.

Ramirez let inherited runner Salotti score on a single by Ross Stout, making the score 6-5 Aztecs. Ramirez induced a sacrifice fly and a ground out to end the inning.

Aguirre, the Wildcats' No. 9 hitter, started the bottom of the seventh with a double, but the next two hitters failed to advance him. A walk to Buckner kept the inning alive and an error by Palm Desert during an infield hit by Calvin Williams allowed Aguirre to tie the game at 6-6 before Ramirez stepped to the plate.

"Playing as a team was the key," said Carranza about beating the 8-3 Palm Desert squad. "This game was a perfect example of that. The pitchers we faced today were the best we've faced all season and the boys did a good job against them. We seem to be improving and our team is putting forth the performance and effort."

Brawley returns to Imperial Valley League action at 3:15 p.m. Friday when it travels to Blythe for a game against Palo Verde.

Warner 6, Calipatria 4

WARNER SPRINGS — The Calipatria High School baseball team fell to Warner 6-4 here Wednesday.

Eddie Perez took the loss for the Hornets who will be back in action at 3:30 p.m. Friday at home against Vincent Memorial.

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