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Baseball: Bulldogs wrap up IVL title

May 16, 2001|By ERIC GALVAN, Sports Writer

CALEXICO — It is said a picture is worth a thousand words.

That axiom couldn't have been more true than after Calexico and Southwest high school's Imperial Valley League baseball game here Tuesday.

On one side of the field stood a dejected Southwest squad that had plenty of opportunities to put away Calexico but squandered a 2-1 lead, losing the game 3-2 in the bottom of the seventh inning.

On the other side, a Bulldog squad accustomed to overcoming adversity was celebrating not just another victory but sole possession of a league championship.

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Showcasing why it is atop the IVL, Calexico fought through a handful of errors through the first six and a half innings and scored two runs in the seventh to improve to 11-0 in league action.

Down by one entering the bottom of the seventh, a base hit by Juan Lopez got the Bulldog rally going. Lopez was replaced by pinch runner Sergio Armenta, who advanced to second on a bunt and scored the game-tying run on a double by Enok Madrigal.

Albert Garcia entered the game as a pinch runner for Madrigal and reached third base on a base hit by J.P. Gonzalez. Zeek Gutierrez was intentionally walked to try to force the double play, but with the bases loaded and one out, Matt Sauceda smacked the game-winning base knock, scoring Garcia.

"We didn't play our best game, but it was good enough to get the win. But that's been us. That's what we've been doing all year. Somehow, we find ways to do it," said Bulldog coach Sergio Rubio, who earned his 100th victory as Calexico's head coach. "This was definitely a great way to get my 100th victory. I can't say enough about that or this game or how hard these guys played."

Rubio pointed to the pitching performance of his starter, Juan Lopez, as the difference and credited Southwest hurler George Rapp with keeping his squad in check.

Rapp and Lopez boast some of the best pitching statistics in the Valley and turned the contest into a pitchers' duel. Rapp finished the game with six hits allowed and four strikeouts over 6 1/3 innings. Lopez also pitched a complete game, giving up five hits and striking out 11.

"Rapp did a good job of limiting our offense. And the defense behind him just played a really good game," said Rubio. "As far as Juan goes, he struggled a little, but he was effective when we needed him to be."

In the third and fourth innings, Lopez's struggles were the difference. In the third, a bad pitch turned into a past ball and the Eagles' David Herrera scored from third.

Lopez hung a few balls in the fourth and Southwest took advantage as four of the first five batters reached base safely. Paul Rubio scored the Eagles' second run on a single by Eric Flores.

The Bulldogs' first run came in the bottom of the fourth as Chris Wong connected on a double and scored on a base hit by Juan Lopez.

"I really didn't have my best stuff when I was pitching. But we came out with the win and that's all that counts," said Lopez. "On offense we got hits when it counted most. Even though we were down going into the last inning we never gave up."

Said Southwest coach Mickey Carter: "We could've put them away a few times throughout those seven innings, but we couldn't. We just didn't deserve to win. George Rapp deserved to win because of what he did, but not the rest of the team. Calexico just did what champions do."

Both teams play at 4:15 p.m. Thursday, with Calexico playing at Brawley and Southwest (11-12, 7-4) playing at Central Union High in El Centro.

Brawley 12, Central 4

The Brawley Union High baseball team improved to 9-2 in IVL play with a 12-4 hammering of Central Union High in El Centro on Tuesday.

Leading the offensive barrage for Brawley were David Santana, who went 3-for-5 with four RBIs and three runs and Joel Aguirre, who went 2-for-5 with two runs. Calvin Williams chipped in two hits and two RBIs.

Sergio Romo picked up the win, pitching six innings, striking out six and giving up five hits and three earned runs.

For Central (12-11, 6-5), Victor Cesena was 2-for-4 with a triple, two RBIs and two runs and Danny Vasquez was 2-for-3 with an RBI.

Midway Baptist 9,

Calipatria 4

SAN DIEGO — The Calipatria High baseball team closed its regular season by falling 9-4 to Midway Baptist in Citrus League action here Tuesday.

Calipatria finishes with an 8-12 overall record after winning only two games last year. The Hornets finish in fourth place in the CL with an 8-8 mark.

Palo Verde 7, Imperial 2

BLYTHE — The Imperial High School baseball team fell 7-2 to Palo Verde here Tuesday.

Bryan Seeger took the loss for the Tigers (12-11, 4-8 IVL).

D.J. Hastings led Imperial with two hits and an RBI. Stewart Harvey added a hit and a run.

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