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El Centro rallies past Brawley

July 06, 2001|By TIM YANNI, Sports Writer

After it looked as if Brawley had already cinched a victory, the El Centro 9-10-year-old Litte League all-stars used a Nate Binkinz two-RBI double in the bottom of the sixth inning to win 7-6.

El Centro earned the right to play in the semifinal tonight against Holtville in the tournament in El Centro.

Brawley struck first, but not until the top of the third when Chris Mendoza, who had been hit with an Eddie Ramirez pitch, and Steven Gibson, who walked, scored when Andres Ponce smacked a two-RBI double.

Robby Rubio then got on with a single, but the next two batters struck out and flied out and Rubio was forced out at second to end the at-bat.

In El Centro's half, Art Reynoso walked and scored on an error to pull his team to within a run. The inning ended when Binkinz hit to second to force out Frankie Pacheco.

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El Centro started the fourth with Pacheco on the mound, but Marcus Rodriguez walked, Silan Mohamed singled and Rickey White walked to load the bases.

Ponce then hit a double that scored Rodriguez and Mohamed to put Brawley up 4-1.

Rubio then singled to score White and Ponce stole home and Brawley led 6-1.

Steven Limon grounded out and Riley struck out for the two final outs.

When Rubio took the mound for Brawley, El Centro got two walks but Juan Lovio struck out and Mike Moreno grounded out to end the inning

In the bottom of the fifth, the El Centro offense came alive as Reynoso scored on a wild pitch to open a scoring rally.

Eddie Ramirez, who had been hit by a pitch, scored off a Pacheco RBI single and Pacheco scored on another RBI single by Eddie Perez to pull El Centro to within 6-4.

Perez then scored on another wild pitch.

Riley came in to pitch for Brawley and struck out Lovio for the final out of the inning.

Brawley couldn't convert in the top of the sixth, but Riley got Moreno on a ground out to start the El Centro half of the inning.

Riley then walked the next three El Centro batters and Aaron Aguirre came in to face Binkinz with bases loaded.

Binkinz hit a shot to center field to score Reynoso and Ramirez for the win.

"It's unbelievable," said El Centro coach Jessie Cruz. "These kids didn't give up for nothing."

Cruz said pitching was key and his team came out on top in that area.

"I can't believe that we're even at this point," Cruz said. "I think now the kids know they can play with anybody.

"If they do what we tell them to do, we'll come out on top," Cruz said. "I am so unbelievably proud of these kids right now I almost want to cry."

Binkinz said he was proud to be a big part of the win.

"It felt really good," Binkinz said. "It meant a lot."

Binkinz added he thinks his team is ready to face Holtville.

"We just need to come out and play our hearts out," he said.

Brawley coach Bill Garcia said he was proud of the effort his team put forth.

"They all came together as a team," Garcia said. "I think I had a great bunch of kids and I couldn't have asked for a better ball club.

"Good luck to E.C. and whoever wins this tournament," he added.

"We threw everything we had at them," Garcia said. "That's just the way life goes."

El Centro faces Holtville in the semifinal game at the Eddie White complex in El Centro at 7:30 tonight.

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