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Cats crush Clairemont

May 19, 2001|By ERIC GALVAN, Sports Writer

BRAWLEY — It took the Brawley Union High School softball team a couple innings to get going against Clairemont High in a CIF San Diego Section Division III playoff game here Saturday.

Once Brawley's bats got going there was no stopping the Wildcats as they downed the visitors 12-2 in five innings to advance to the second round of the postseason.

After scoring two runs over the first three innings, the Wildcats' offense exploded for 10 runs over the fourth and fifth frames to end the contest via the 10-run margin rule.

"It was a bit of a tough start because both teams were prepared to play this game. It was like two warriors going at it," said Brawley coach Rahsahn Overton. "But once we started getting hits our offense got going."

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While the Wildcat offense was the eventual deciding factor, Overton lauded his defense.

"We have a strong defense and that's what carries us. We were able to make plays on defense and I think that momentum carried over to our offense. Our offense was able to feed off that," Overton said. "I was very happy with this win, especially because it is CIF, where it's win or go home. But I have to give all the credit to this team. They really wanted it."

Clairemont stuck first in the second inning, scoring two runs off Brawley pitcher Leighan Sudduth.

Erica Vanderhook scored the first run, reaching home on a double by Jackie Ross. Ross scored on a base hit by Kellyn Thompson to give Clairemont a 2-0 advantage.

That lead quickly disappeared as Brawley scored in each of the next four innings off Vanderhook.

Ebony Lofton scored the Wildcats' first run on a bases-loaded walk. Brawley failed to get another run in the frame as a double play and a ground out ended the threat.

The Wildcats tied the contest in the third as Erin Rutherford scored on a double by Ebony Lofton.

Brawley busted things open in the fourth, scoring six runs led by Sudduth and Reggie Horta, who both had two RBIs in the frame. Also picking up RBIs for the Wildcats in the fourth were Audrey Corpuz and Rutherford.

The Brawley barrage continued in the fifth. An RBI triple by Sudduth drove home Karla Price. Sudduth scored on a hit by Rutherford, who finished 2-for-3 with two RBIs and two runs.

With one out and runners on second and third, a routine pop-up by Annie Smith was misplayed, allowing Kaylin Rubin and Lofton to score and end the contest.

"When we hit the ball, we can win. All it takes is a hit to get us going," said Sudduth, who finished 3-for-3 with three RBIs and two runs and pitched five innings, giving up three hits and striking out four. "Our defense is always good and I know they can make plays behind me. Our defense makes things easier for me when I'm pitching."

Said Clairemont coach Dre Dominguez: "Brawley really hit our pitcher well and caused us to make defensive errors. When we make errors, it usually gets to our players' heads and just takes them out of the game. The thing I was happy with was that our team didn't give up and gave 100 percent effort and attitude."

Brawley will play at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday at University of San Diego High.

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