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Baseball: Bulldogs drop double dip to Mount Miguel

March 31, 2001|By JON HINSHAW, Sports Writer

CALEXICO — A pitcher having control problems and offensive miscues do not bode well for a high school baseball team and Calexico proved that here Saturday.

The Bulldogs dropped a 2-1 decision in the first game of a doubleheader to the Mount Miguel Matadors, ruining a good performance by pitcher Diego Lopez.

Although Lopez was partially to blame for the early inning problems, the 6-foot-4 hurler settled down and ended with a complete game and 10 strikeouts. Calexico's offense, however, was where most of the trouble transpired.

"I think that's been the story of our season thus far," said Bulldog coach Sergio Rubio, despite his squad's 11-7 record and 4-0 mark in the Imperial Valley League. "We just haven't been able to hit the ball lately and we haven't been at the plate taking good aggressive cuts. We can't rely on our pitching all the time."

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Calexico's bats put only one man on through the first four innings — a walk to Zeek Gutierrez, and he was stranded at first. Matador starter Peter Suarez, who earned the win going five innings and striking out four, kept the Bulldogs guessing and routinely induced short fly-ball outs and weak grounders in the infield.

Before the Bulldogs could get to Suarez, Mount Miguel had already scored two runs in the second frame.

The first two Matador batters reached base with singles and were moved to second and third on a sacrifice bunt by Anthony Evans. A groundout by Yarinn Gonzalez pushed across Nick Vanderhyde for a 1-0 lead and moved Michael Cervantes to third base. Cervantes scored on a Lopez wild pitch for his team's second run.

Lopez then issued two walks and gave up a single to load the bases but got out of the inning with a strikeout.

Lopez calmed after what could have been a disastrous situation and dominated Mount Miguel in the remaining five innings. Lopez fanned seven and allowed just two hits the rest of the way.

"Diego didn't have any control early on," said Bulldog catcher Hector Rivera, who had one of his team's three hits. "He was getting crossed up with the pitch count and the calls. I just went out and talked to him and we decided to keep it simple after the first two innings.

"We went from using a fastball, curve, changeup and knuckleball to just fastballs and curves," Rivera continued. "After that it became really easy for him and he pitched well."

Through the first five innings the Bulldogs' couldn't get anything going against Suarez, but Mount Miguel lifted its starter in the top of the sixth. Rivera rapped a single off reliever Michael Hadsell with just one out and was lifted for pinch-runner Vince Vasquez. Calexico looked to get something going, but Lopez followed with a pop-out and Vasquez was caught stealing during the next at-bat.

A come-from-behind win again looked promising in the bottom of the seventh when Bulldog Damian Lopez led off the inning with a double. Diego Galvan took over as a pinch-runner and Pedro Cazares laid down a sacrifice bunt to try and move the runner to third.

Cazares' bunt traveled about three feet too far and new reliever Fernando Reza easily fielded the ball and cut down Galvan at third base. J.P. Gonzalez then struck out for the second out. A single by Juan Lopez kept the inning alive with runners at first and second. Pinch-hitter Eric Fimbres then came to the plate looking for a big hit, but Reza struck him out to end the game.

"We just have to go back to the basics; bunting, moving the runners up and aggressive hitting," said Rubio. "But first we have to get guys on base. We definitely can't win without guys on base."

The Bulldogs dropped the second game 14-11.

Chris Wong had two hits, including a grand slam, and scored three times. Lopez and Vazquez had two hits each for the Bulldogs who will be back in action at 4:15 p.m. Thursday at Southwest.

Central 4, Imperial 3

The Central Union High School baseball team knocked off Imperial 4-3 here Friday.

Jose Ibarra picked up the win for the Spartans (4-5, 2-1). Humberto Cardenas pitched the final inning to get the save.

Ibarra led the Central offense with two hits. Cardenas added a hit and an RBI.

D.J. Hastings blasted a two-run home run for the Tigers.

Brett Cochran took the loss for Imperial.

The Tigers return to action at 3:15 p.m. Tuesday at Brawley. Central will next play at home against Holtville on the same date and time.

Southwest 13, Upper Lake 2

The Southwest High School baseball team hammered Upper Lake 13-2 at Southwest on Friday.

Eric Flores, Frank Richards and Justin Araujo combined to hold Upper Lake to just three hits. Flores earned the win for the Eagles in the five inning contest.

George Rapp, David Herrera and Flores each had two hits for Southwest.

The Eagles (6-6-1) will be back in action at 4:15 p.m. Thursday at Palo Verde.

Brawley 18, Palo Verde 7

BLYTHE — The Brawley Union High School baseball team pounded Palo Verde 18-7 here Friday.

Brandon Burnett earned the win for the Wildcats.

David Santana had three hits and six RBIs for Brawley. Mitchell Ruiz added two hits and scored three runs. Dominic Aguirre had three hits, scored two runs and drove in two more.

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