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Baseball: Tigers pound Southwest 12-5

May 02, 2001|By ERIC GALVAN, Sports Writer

Looking at the Imperial Valley League baseball standings heading into Southwest and Imperial high schools' game Tuesday, it seemed unlikely that fifth-place Imperial could pull an upset.

But playing as well as they have all year, the Tigers pulled off what could be the IVL's upset of the year, hammering the Eagles 12-5 at Freeway Park in El Centro.

Leading the Imperial shocker was Matt Mitchell, who seemed the most unlikely of heroes. Heading into the contest, Mitchell had only started five games and had gone 0 for his first 14 at bats.

Mitchell broke out of his slump, going 2-for-2, including a three-run home run, and had two walks, three RBIs and four runs.


"Before the game the coaches told me that this was my time to shine," said Mitchell. "I felt really good before the game and during the game, and I just had more confidence in myself.

"I think this was a win we really needed. This will probably make the other teams in the league think twice about us."

While Mitchell's heroics were important, the all-around team play of the Tigers was the difference. Imperial turned three double plays and only committed one error after averaging three per contest.

Imperial finished with 11 hits and capitalized on seven Southwest errors, scoring in all but two frames.

"This is what we thought this team was capable of doing at the beginning of the year," said Tiger coach William Estes. "We showed what we were capable of."

After scoring their first run in the second inning, the Tigers offense caught fire in the third, scoring four runs. Mitchell was the first to score and a double by Bryan Seeger scored Stewart Harvey and D.J. Hastings. Starting pitcher Brett Cochran scored the other run for Imperial.

The Tigers added another run in the fourth to take a 6-0 advantage. The Eagles answered in the bottom of the frame as Alex Caldera was walked with the bases loaded, scoring Ricky Lopez.

Imperial added to its lead in the sixth with one run, but Southwest answered with its biggest output, scoring four runs in the sixth.

Lopez led off the inning with a home run, cutting the deficit to three. David Cordova, David Herrera and Mario Gastelum all added runs for the Eagles cutting the Imperial lead to 7-5. With the bases loaded and two outs George Rapp was struck out by Seeger.

Right after the Eagles closed the gap, Imperial extended it again in the seventh adding five more runs, highlighted by Mitchell's homer.

"Our heads never went down after that inning. Our guys could've gave up, but they didn't," said Estes.

Southwest failed to muster any offense in the seventh as Seeger closed the game.

Said Eagle coach Mickey Carter: "Imperial just outplayed us. They hit better, they fielded better and pitched better. They deserved to win."

Both teams play Friday with Southwest (5-3 IVL) hosting Holtville at 4:15 p.m. and Imperial hosting Calexico at 7 p.m.

Calexico 2, Palo Verde 0

CALEXICO — The Calexico High baseball team improved to 8-0 in the IVL play with a 2-0 win over Palo Verde here Tuesday.

Picking up the win was Juan Lopez, who pitched a complete game, striking out 12 and giving up only five hits.

Hector Rivera finished with two hits and scored a run and Chris Wong added the other run for Calexico.

Brawley 23, Holtville 1

HOLTVILLE — The Brawley Union High baseball team shredded Holtville High 23-1 in five innings in IVL League action here Tuesday.

Leading the Brawley offense was Calvin Williams, who went 3-for-4 with four RBIs and five runs. Chris Ramirez was 3-for-4 with three runs and two RBIs. Matt Smith was 2-for-2 with three RBIs.

Sergio Romo picked up the win, pitching three innings with four strikeouts.

Brawley (6-2 IVL) plays at Granite Hills in El Cajon at 11 a.m. Saturday.

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