Wildcats rally past Ramona

May 23, 2001|By TOM RONCO, Special to this newspaper

BRAWLEY — The Brawley Union High baseball team was determined not to let the playoffs begin in the San Diego CIF Section as they had ended last year in the Southern Section of CIF when San Dimas came from behind to beat Brawley at home.

No, this year was going to be different … and it was the Wildcats that were the team to come back.

After falling behind 2-0 in the top of the first to visiting Ramona High, the Wildcats scored eight unanswered runs and defeated the Bulldogs 8-2 in first-round playoff action here yesterday.

"Everybody who was here last year was holding their breath in the last inning," said Brawley coach Pedro Carranza. "But that's the way playoffs are … you have to take them one game at a time."


The Wildcats received a stellar pitching performance from senior Sergio Romo who struck out 12, walked two, hit two but surrendered just two hits, both in the first inning.

"Sergio had his change-up working and gave us the best tempo any pitcher has given us all year," said Carranza.

Struggling at the outset, Romo walked Ramona's (9-6) (14-15) Ron Rizzo with one out in the first inning and Neal Jamison followed with a double scoring Rizzo.

Romo followed with a strikeout but Tim Plough stroked Romo's first pitch into center for a single scoring Jamison to give the Bulldogs a 2-0 lead.

"I was tight going in because I was thinking that this could be my last high school game," said Romo, who retired the Bulldogs in order in the second.

"But coach talked to me between innings and said, ‘Just have some fun' so I relaxed."

With one out in the bottom of the first, Brawley's Joel Aguirre was hit with a Brandon McMorron pitch and then balked to second. David Santana walked and then McMorron hit Andy Buckner to load the bases.

Brandon Burnett followed with a single scoring both Aguirre and Santana to tie the score at 2-2.

"I wanted us to score at least two runs and get back in the game," said Burnett. "It was a fastball up and I like those."

Calvin Williams followed with a single and when Dominic Aguirre singled to drive in Burnett and Andy Buckner, McMorron was history. Matt Collins came in to get the final out but Brawley led 4-2.

Collins got the first two outs in the second inning, then walked Joel Aguirre. David Santana tripled to make it 5-2 and then Buckner beat out an infield hit, scoring Santana.

"I saw the pitch all the way out of his hand," said Santana of his triple. "I felt like we needed more runs and that we couldn't let them stay close because we didn't know what type of team they were."

With the Cats up 6-2, Romo struck out the side in the Ramona fourth.

"I got stronger as the game went on. After each inning I was feeding off what I had done the previous inning, going out there with more and more confidence," said Romo.

Matt Smith and Mitchell Ruiz opened the Brawley half of the fourth inning with singles, but the Wildcats failed to score and then went down in order in the fifth.

Ramona, meanwhile, went down in order in the fifth, failed to score in the sixth and went down in order in the seventh.

"We got beat," said Ramona coach Galen Bowman. "I came here expecting us to win but after we got a couple of hits early we just went flat."

The Brawley sixth opened with walks to Chris Ramirez and Smith, with Ramirez scoring on the game's only error and Smith coming home on a wild pitch.

"Offensively again today it was not just one guy but a lot of guys doing the little things that helped us win," said Carranza.

Brawley (10-2 Imperial Valley League, 16-9 overall) travels to face No. 1 seeded Mission Bay (25-5 overall) in a Division III quarterfinal game at 4 p.m. Thursday.

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