Sunset closes out El Centro 8-3

July 09, 2001|By JON HINSHAW, Sports Writer

BRAWLEY — After a close loss to Northend on Friday, Sunset came back and defeated El Centro 8-3 here Saturday to set up an opportunity for redemption in the championship game of the District 7 13-year-old Babe Ruth tournament.

Sunset, made up of players from Holtville and Calexico, used five shutout innings from starting pitcher Frank Lugo to gain a 7-0 lead before earning the victory and setting up a rematch with Northend at 6 tonight. Lugo yielded just five hits in his span of innings and struck out three.

"I felt I was pitching my best out there," said Lugo, who also had two hits and three RBI. "I was just throwing strikes and let my defense work for me and they helped me out a lot. I think we worked good as a team tonight and we all played well."

El Centro starter Julian Arballo was cruising along with Lugo through the game's first four innings but was lifted in favor of Stevie Armendariz for the fifth frame. Armendariz allowed two of the first three runners to get on base. With one out, three straight El Centro errors allowed Sunset to break the game open.


"That's what happened to us against Northend," said El Centro coach Steve Evangelist of Sunset's five-run frame. "We hung tough at the beginning and then we broke our concentration. If you don't make the plays that's what happens."

Sunset capitalized on five El Centro errors and used three hits to take a 7-0 lead. Lugo had the only RBI in the inning with a two-run double to centerfield.

El Centro countered with beneficial scenarios in the bottom of the fifth and sixth innings — two runners on base with just one out — but couldn't get a run across in either frame. Sunset added its eighth run in the top of the final frame when Adam Avila scored on a passed ball.

Armendariz and Zack Evangelist finally helped El Centro break through with three runs in the final half inning against Sunset reliever Emmanuel Herrero, but it was too little too late. After Evangelist singled in Clint Hussey, Herrero got the final two batters to ground out to third and first, respectively, to end the threat and the game.

"It got a little tense in that final inning but we came through," Sunset coach Frank Alvarez said. "We were just trying to stay close until (Arballo) was done and we got a bonus when we went ahead 2-0 against him. We were ready to play tonight and now we have to get the kids pumped up to play Northend.

"We expect to be competitive against them," added Alvarez, "anything can happen."

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