Baseball: Lopez leads Bulldogs past Eagles

April 06, 2001

‘By ERIC GALVAN, Sports Writer

Proving why he is one of the best baseball players in the Imperial Valley, Calexico High School's Diego Lopez led Calexico to a 7-2 win over Southwest High and sole possession of first place in the Imperial Valley League at Freeway Park in El Centro on Thursday.

After starting the season 0-4 as a pitcher, Lopez put together one of his better outings, going the distance and allowing two earned runs, scattering eight hits and striking out seven.

"This was probably the biggest win we've had this year. It basically determined who the best in league is," said Lopez.


Said Southwest coach Mickey Carter of Lopez's performance: "He didn't dominate us, but he was in command the whole game. He just pitched a great game. The difference in this game was Diego."

What Lopez pointed to as the difference-maker was the Bulldog offense. Calexico finished with 10 hits including home runs by Hector Rivera and Lopez's brother, Juan.

Rivera's homer was a solo shot in the third inning and the Bulldogs' first run. Juan Lopez's shot was a two-run bomb in the fourth, which scored Damian Lopez to give Calexico a 3-0 advantage. Both dingers were off Eagle starting pitcher Mario Gastelum, who pitched 4 1/3 innings, struck out four and gave up three earned runs.

"We really came out aggressive at the plate and wanted to get something going," said Calexico coach Sergio Rubio. "I think getting those home runs really gave us an advantage."

The Bulldogs' biggest inning was the fifth as four of the first five batters scored. Leading the assault was J.P. Gonzalez with two RBIs, scoring Damian Lopez and Rivera.

All the Eagles' runs came in the bottom of the fifth, starting with a solo home run by George Rapp. Two batters later Eric Flores scored on a base hit by David Herrera.

Generally, though, Diego Lopez kept the Eagles from threatening.

The loss drops Southwest to 4-1 in the IVL and into a tie for second place with Brawley Union High, which defeated Central Union 4-1 Thursday.

Calexico has a game advantage over Southwest and Brawley.

"In terms of importance I think it was important that we beat Southwest here," said Rubio. "But as far as being in first place, I think it's too early to worry about it."

Both teams start play in the San Diego Lions Club tournament Monday.

Brawley 4, Central 1

BRAWLEY — The Brawley Union High School baseball team improved to 4-1 in the IVL with a 4-1 win over Central Union here Thursday.

Leading the Brawley offense was Andy Buckner, who finished 3-for-3 with two RBIs, two stolen bases and a run. Curtis Smith was 1-for-3 with two RBIs.

Javier Calles picked up the win in relief, going 4 1/3 innings, striking out three, giving up three hits and no earned runs. Sergio Romo got the save.

For Central (3-2 IVL), Victor Cesena got a hit and an RBI. Humberto Cardenas pitched a complete game in picking up the loss.

Brawley will compete in the San Diego Lions tournament Monday and Central will play in the Coachella Valley tournament.

Imperial 5, Palo Verde 1

IMPERIAL — The Imperial High baseball team picked up its second IVL win with a 5-1 decision over Palo Verde here Thursday.

Leading Imperial was Brett Cochran who threw a complete game, striking out 10 and giving up only two hits. He also had a hit and a run.

Ray Roben was 2-for-2 for the Tigers with a triple and two RBIs. Stewart Harvey had a hit and two runs and Aaron Hartsock had with a double.

Imperial (2-4 IVL) will play in the San Diego Lions tournament Monday.

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