Teams set for Little League tourney

June 20, 2001|By ERIC GALVAN, Sports Writer

The Imperial Braves team probably isn't being picked by most to win the Imperial Valley inter-city major league team Little League tournament, which starts at 5:30 today.

Ask the players on Imperial's squad what team they think will be champion and there's little doubt in their minds they have as good a chance as any other team.

"We'll go all the way because we have a good all-around team," said 12-year-old Jeff Cabrera. "People talk about five-tool players, but I think we're a five-tool team."

Said 12-year-old Spencer Drury: "It'll be really competitive. Brawley and Calexico are probably the teams to beat because they're bigger. But I think we'll win it all."


Imperial, the host team, will open in the double-elimination tournament at 7:30 tonight as it takes on Holtville at the major league field in Imperial.

In other games today, Calexico will battle El Centro at 5:30 at the major league field and Seaview — made up of players from Calipatria and Westmorland — will face Sunbeam at 5:30 at the minor league field.

Joining Cabrera and Drury on the Braves are Sammy Cervantes, Adam Deen, Mitch Edgemon, Victor Martinez, Ramon Medina, Ben Moore, Brock Moore, Ethan Novak, Jake Robinson and Zachary Wingate.

"I think we'll do pretty good. We'll probably go the whole tournament without losing," said Cervantes.

While the players are confident, manager Alfred Moore knows his squad is going into the tournament almost as an underdog.

"Of course Brawley, Calexico and El Centro are the odds-on favorites because their cities have the biggest populations and they have more players to choose from," said Moore, who's been coaching since 1989. "But when you go into games against them you try to bring your A game so you don't get killed.

"Our kids have been working really hard since late February. And facing tough competition in our league made us better. So I'm confident that our guys will be ready for this tournament," Moore said. "Two years ago our team was runner-up in the 9- to 10-year-old tournament and we have some guys from that team playing for us now. I think we can compete with everyone, but a lot of things have to go right for us."

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