Spartans avenge only loss

May 13, 2001|By TOM RONCO, Special to this newspaper

Scoring the only run it needed in the first inning Friday on Parents Day, the Central Union High School Spartan softball team avenged its only Imperial Valley League loss by defeating the visiting Holtville High School Vikings 6-0.

The one run in the first was all Central pitcher Maria Perez needed to back up another stellar pitching performance that saw her strike out seven Holtville batters.

"Holtville is a strong team, but our bats came alive today," said Central coach Sandy Montalvo. "We had a hard week. … I pushed the team extremely hard and they responded with a great effort today."

"We just didn't play our game today," said Holtville coach David Rodgers. "Central is a good team and took advantage of our errors and you can't let them do that."


Perez did start the game with a walk to Holtville's Shelly Strahm, who was sacrificed to second but went no further after Perez struck out the next two batters.

"I can't remember the last time Maria walked the leadoff batter," said Montalvo.

"Today was a good day and not all of them are," said Perez. "The team was supportive today and I guess we all showed up to play."

In the home half of the first inning, back-to-back singles by sisters Clarissa and Claudia Maldonado accounted for Central's first run.

Clarissa's lead-off single was bobbled in the outfield and the error allowed her to get to second base.

"It's my job to get on base," said Clarissa. "I was pumped because we lost to them earlier this year and we have a chance to win league and I think we played better as a team."

Usually in softball, the second batter's role is to bunt the runner along, but with Clarissa already at second, Claudia's job changed.

"In that situation my job is to move her over or get her in," said Claudia, who did the latter with a base hit.

"To score in the first inning gave us a big lift and Maria a little breathing room," said Montalvo of the Spartans, who have struggled lately to score runs.

Holtville pitcher Lauren Huyler struck out the next batter and got Perez to hit into a forced out.

With two outs, Holtville booted Kami Grundman's ground ball and a wild pitch put runners on second and third before Huyler got Marisa Guzman to ground out to end the inning.

With two outs in the top of the second inning, Holtville's Cindy Lopez drew Perez's second and last walk of the game. Perez wild-pitched Lopez to third before Huyler popped out to end the inning.

No Viking would get past second base the remainder of the game.

After Huyler retired the first two batters, she walked Nicky Carrion. Clarissa Maldonado followed with another single and Huyler hit Claudia with a pitch to load the bases.

Huyler then walked Jennifer Ramirez to force in Carrion and give Central a 2-0 lead.

Huyler momentarily appeared to get out of the jam when she speared a hard ground ball off Perez's bat.

Attempting to get the "easy out," Huyler overthrew catcher Young, allowing both Maldonados to score and the Central lead to balloon to 4-0.

"I didn't feel on today," said Huyler. "And today was hotter than the last game we played against them and the heat gets to me for sure."

Rodgers, however, was pleased with Huyler's effort.

"She had a little trouble finding the plate but she was the least of our problems," said Rodgers. "We weren't hitting or playing defense."

Holtville went down in order in the top of the third but Jessica Young led off the top of the fourth with the Vikes' only base hit of the game off Perez.

Ramirez would walk in the Central fourth, steal second, and score on an RBI single by Perez.

Perez again retired the Vikes in order in the fifth and struck out the first two batters in the top of the sixth before hitting Young with a pitch.

Central's final run came in the sixth when Marissa Guzman led off with a single, stole second and scored on another Holtville error.

"Last game we made three errors in the seventh and lost," said Perez, who retired Holtville in order in the seventh. "This time we worked as a team and capitalized on their errors."

On Monday, Central (9-1 IVL) travels to Brawley's Ed Beechy Field for a game with the Wildcats (8-2 IVL) at 3:15 p.m. Holtville hosts Palo Verde at 4:15 p.m. Wednesday.

Brawley 5, Imperial 0

BRAWLEY — The Brawley Union High School softball team remained in second place in the Imperial Valley League with a 5-0 victory over Imperial High here Friday.

Leading Brawley was Leighan Sudduth, who picked up the win striking out six and went 2-for-3 at the plate with a triple and two RBIs.

Ebony Lofton was 2-for-2 for the Wildcats.

Both teams play Monday with Brawley (8-2 IVL) hosting Central Union High at 3:15 p.m. and Imperial hosting Palo Verde at 4:15 p.m.

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