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Baseball: Guzman's clutch hit leads Spartans to win

April 04, 2001|By ERIC GALVAN,Sports Writer

If there's one way to separate good ball players from average ones, it's how they perform in pressure situations.

With the score tied 2-2 in the bottom of the fourth inning, Central Union High School's Ricky Guzman came through in the clutch with two RBIs to kick-start the Central offense in a 5-2 Imperial Valley League victory over Holtville High in El Centro on Tuesday.

"When those guys were on I knew we needed to pick up those two runs," said Guzman. "I think getting those runs and getting the lead gave our pitcher (Jose Ibarra) more confidence, allowing him to get it done."

After a rough first inning, Ibarra only allowed two hits. Ibarra finished with four strikeouts and allowed five hits and one earned run in six innings.

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Holtville started things on the right foot, taking advantage of Central errors and jumping to a 2-0 advantage in the first. Frank Lopez got the Vikings on the board, scoring on a sacrifice fly by Edward Castro. Isac Mejia tacked on the second run, scoring on an Alex Navarro single.

That was pretty much it for the Viking offense as Central's defense held Holtville in check the rest of the way.

"We were making contact, but we were hitting the balls right to them," said Holtville coach Scott Anderson. "Our guys played a pretty good game, but I think Central was just a little more up for this than we were."

Said Guzman: "In that first inning we just made some mental mistakes, but after that we played pretty sound defense. Even though we were down 2-0, we didn't give up. We always battle back."

The Spartan offense got going in the second as the first six batters reached base safely, but because of base-running mistakes Central only mustered two runs.

The first run came with the bases loaded, when Holtville starting pitcher Edward Castro walked Raul Cazares, scoring Victor Cesena. A base hit by Matt Baker drove in Guzman to tie things at 2.

Guzman gave the Spartans the lead in the fourth, scoring Enrique Lechuga and Cesena. Guzman added another run, scoring on a Holtville error. Guzman finished 1-for-2 with two RBIs and two runs.

Central held Holtville scoreless for six innings, with Humberto Cardenas closing things on the mound and picking up his second consecutive save.

"Overall I was pretty happy with how our guys played. I thought Jose (Ibarra) pitched really well and he mixed it up with a good pitch selection," said Spartan coach Dave Middleton.

Central (5-5 overall, 3-1 IVL) plays at 4:15 p.m. Thursday at Brawley. Holtville plays Fontana at 3 p.m. Monday at the Coachella High tournament.

Brawley 5, Imperial 1

BRAWLEY — The Brawley Union High baseball team kept pace with Central Union High for second place in the Imperial Valley League with a 5-1 win over Imperial High here Tuesday.

Picking up the win for Brawley (6-6 overall, 3-1 IVL) was Sergio Romo, who went seven innings, striking out four and allowing four hits. He also finished 3-for-3 with a run.

Calvin Williams went 1-for-3 with two RBIs for the Wildcats, with Dominic Aguirre chipping in two hits, two runs and a stolen base. David Santana finished 1-for-1 with a run, RBI and a stolen base for Brawley.

D.J. Hastings accounted for Imperial's lone run with a home run.

Imperial (6-5, 1-4 IVL) hosts Palo Verde at 6 p.m. Friday.

Southwest 6, Palo Verde 5

BLYTHE — The Southwest High School baseball team knocked off Palo Verde 6-5 in IVL action here Tuesday.

George Rapp picked up the win for the Eagles (7-6-1, 4-0). He pitched the complete game, allowing nine hits and striking out five.

Frank Richards had three hits and an RBI for Southwest. Ricky Lopez had two hits and three RBIs.

The Eagles will be back in action at 4:15 p.m. Thursday at home against Calexico.

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