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Calexico claims Little League title

July 10, 2001|By TIM YANNI, Sports Writer

The Calexico 9-10-year-old all-star team took advantage of some key mistakes by Holtville to win the District 22 Little League tournament 7-5 in El Centro on Monday.

Calexico started left-handed pitching ace Esau Madrigal, who retired all three Holtville batters in order to kick off the first inning.

Holtville's starter, Jordon Brown, fared almost as well in the bottom of the inning. He allowed two men on via walks, but recorded three outs before anyone reached home plate.

Holtville's Joe Allegranza led off the next inning with a single and Brown got on first by way of an error. Madrigal threw a wild pitch against Junior Garcia and each runner advanced a base. Garcia then hit a single that scored Allegranza and Brown, giving Holtville a 2-0 lead.

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In the bottom of the third Calexico took control when Trevor Robinson was hit by a Brown pitch and Madrigal and Alonso Nuñez followed with walks.

Oscar Sanchez gave his team the lead by smacking a three-run triple to clear the bases for a 3-2 lead. Sanchez found his way home on an RBI single by Armando Tapia. Jeremy Roldan followed with a single, sending Tapia to third. Tapia stole home during the next at-bat to put Calexico up 5-2.

The final run of the inning came when Chris Garcia drove in Roldan with a single and Calexico had seemingly put the game out of reach 6-2.

Calexico's lead expanded to 7-2 when Madrigal scored on an error in the fourth.

Holtville rallied in the fifth when Angel Tellez and Eric Pacheco each walked and Travis Wilcox got on first with a base hit.

With the bases loaded, Allegranza singled to plate Tellez, and Brown drove in Pacheco to pull to within 7-4. Wilcox scored on an error and the inning ended with Calexico up 7-5.

In the top of the sixth, Preston Claverie and T. J. Ibarra struck out and the game looked over. Doug Lorente gave Holtville fans a few extra breaths, however, by finding his way to first base on an error and Tellez followed him with a single.

That was as close at Holtville would get to a comeback as Pacheco went down swinging to clinch the game for Calexico.

"It feels better than ever today," Calexico coach Gonzalo Roldan said of the victory. "We didn't really concentrate on what happened yesterday. Today was another day."

Roldan said strong pitching and good hitting helped his team earn the victory. He also said he's looking forward to competing in the next tournament.

"I've got to work more on my pitching and more on my batting," Roldan said.

He then gave thanks to the vocal Calexico fans and to the play of Jeremy Roldan and Tapia. Roldan added that he is looking to see some "great baseball" in the upcoming tournament in San Diego and he is excited his team qualified to participate.

Wilfred Real, president of Calexico Little League, said he was glad to see the team from his city take the tournament.

"I'm very proud of them," Real said. "I'm very proud of the whole District 22."

He added he is confident the best team won.

"I believed the ending would be in God's hands and whoever won would have deserved it," Real said.

Calexico will next represent the Imperial Valley in the Southern California state tournament for Section 8 and will face off against the District 42 winner at Imperial Beach at 7:30 p.m. on July 21.

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