"It's a designed play," said Montalvo. "I saw that no one was covering third and told her to go. Had she hesitated they probably would have had her."
The run was plenty for the Spartan ace. She did not allow another Imperial base runner until she walked Maggie Rodriguez to lead off the fifth inning. That threat was quickly erased by a double play.
Central added two runs in the bottom of the fifth. Monica Sandoval reached on a error to lead off the inning. Marissa Guzman followed her with a single. Vanessa Long reached on a fielder's choice to load the bases and the Spartans appeared to be in business.
Imperial's hurler, Lindsay Lugo, managed to retire the next hitter she faced but just when it looked like she might be able to get out of the jam, Clarissa Maldonado blasted a two-run single to complete the scoring.
"I think we played pretty well," said Tiger coach Kim Witte. "They put the ball in play and we made mistakes."
Imperial's lone scoring chance came in the first inning. The Tigers first hitter of the game, Rhea Deal, reached on an error. Perez fanned the next hitter and forced Imperial's third hitter, Lugo, to hit into a fielder's choice. Lugo, however, wound up on third base on the play whe.n catcher Amber Marquez rifled a throw into the outfield. Imperial's next hitter was Thompson, who hit a screaming line drive that was stabbed by a leaping Maldonado to end the inning.
"I was pleased with the way the girls played," added Witte. "Central's a good ball club and we played a tight game with them. We were in it up until the end."
Lugo allowed seven hits and struck out one. None of Central's runs was earned.
"Our defense was strong," Montalvo said. "We recovered from out first inning mistakes.
"The team is starting to gel. We've got 12 solid players and it takes all 12 of them to get the win."
Added Witte: "This is probable the most talented team I've ever had. We're in such a tough league our record doesn't reflect our talent."
Both teams will be back in action Friday. Central (18-4) will host Holtville at 4:15 p.m. Imperial (10-9, 2-8) will travel to Brawley at 3:15 p.m.
Holtville 7, Calexico 2
CALEXICO — The Holtville High School softball team knocked off Calexico 7-2 in IVL action here Tuesday.
Lauren Huyler struck out 11 to get the win for the Vikings (12-5-1, 7-3). She led the Holtville offense with two hits and an RBI.
Jordana Garcia took the loss for the Bulldogs (4-15, 2-8). Erica Zamora had a hit and a run scored for Calexico. Sonia Lopez added a hit and an RBI.
Calexico will return to action at 4:15 p.m. Monday at home against Southwest.
Brawley 10, Palo Verde 4
BLYTHE — The Brawley Union High School softball team topped Palo Verde 10-4 here Tuesday.
Leighan Sudduth pitched six innings to get the win. She struck out five. Audrey Corpuz pitched the final inning for the Wildcats (15-7, 7-2).
Kaylin Rubin had three RBIs to lead the Brawley offense. Sudduth added two hits.