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Calexico advances to finals

June 26, 2001|By JON HINSHAW, Sports Writer

IMPERIAL — When Sal Carrillo and Alfred Moore shook hands at home plate after their game Friday, Carrillo could be heard telling his friend and coaching cohort, "I'll see you in the championship."

Carrillo and his Calexico team made good on his statement here Monday in the 11-12-year-old Little League inter-city team tournament by defeating the Brawley Dodgers 6-2. The victory advanced the Yankees into the double-elimination tournament's finale against the only squad to defeat it — Moore's Imperial Braves.

Calexico used all facets of baseball to down the Brawley squad. Even a horde of insects that engulfed the park, akin to a scene from the movie "Starship Troopers," couldn't keep the Yankees from earning another date with Imperial.

"It's about time," said Carrillo, whose squad is 3-1 in the tourney, of the win. "We just had to regroup after our loss to Imperial the first time around. We've been playing a lot of baseball the past couple of weeks and I told my boys that we ought to be the hottest team here."

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Calexico used timely hitting, good defense and a four-hitter from starter Daniel Flores and reliever Jonathan Arrellano. Flores and Arrellano provided the bulk of the offense, going a combined 4-for-6 with five RBIs.

"It was the hitting," said Flores, who pitched four innings and struck out six. "We knew we had to win to get into the championship and we felt kind of sad after our loss to Imperial. Now we get another shot at them."

Brawley was the aggressor early as Calexico started slowly. The Yankees managed just one hit in the opening two frames and were fanned three times by Dodger starter Jose Ocaño.

Anthony Mobley smacked a double in the bottom of the second for Brawley. Jonathan Johnson then grounded into an out to bring home Mobley for a 1-0 Dodger lead.

The lead didn't last long as Calexico broke through for three runs in the top of the third.

Danny Morlett was hit by Ocaño to start the inning and was brought home on Arrellano's double. Flores followed with an RBI single to give the Yankees the 2-1 lead. Calexico grabbed its third run on an error that allowed Flores to score.

Over the next three innings Brawley sent just 10 batters to the plate, with its lone hit a ground-rule double by Ty Chalupnik.

"We got out-hit at the bat," said Dodger skipper Tray Roper. "Some nights you hit and some nights you don't."

Calexico went back to work in the fourth with a double by Sal Carrillo and a sacrifice fly by Arrellano for a 4-1 lead. The squad from the border city tacked on two more runs in the sixth, thanks in part to back-to-back doubles by Arrellano and Flores.

"The kids' attitudes were there today. They kept focused," said coach Carrillo.

After a flawless fifth, Arrellano had a little trouble in the bottom of the sixth as he walked two and yielded two hits. Brawley broke through with another run on an RBI single by Mobley that scored Mark Limon, but Arrellano struck out Brian Thomas with the bases loaded to close the game.

"Calexico did a great job tonight," said Roper. "They handled everything we hit at them. Our kids did a great job as well and they've represented well whether we've won or lost."

Calexico's second shot at Imperial is set for 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Imperial Little League major field. If the Yankees defeat the Braves, a final game would be played the following night at the same time and place.

"We can't say we don't know what Imperial has to offer," Carrillo said. "They're a tough team and they went 3-0 in this tournament and are in the championship. Our work is not done. We know that if we don't win on Wednesday, we can't play on Thursday."

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