Item leads Imperial to championship

July 17, 2001|By TIM YANNI, Sports Writer

SEELEY — Gabriel Item blasted a two-run home run in the top of the sixth to lift Imperial over Calexico 2-1 here Monday in the 11-12-year-old District 22 Little League all-star championship game.

"I saw the ball and I knew I was going to hit it," said Item. "I saw it all the way."

Item's homer came with two outs in the top of the sixth with Spencer Drury on first after a walk.

Pedro Ramirez accounted for the only Calexico run when he smacked a homer in the bottom of the fifth that looked like it put Imperial on ice.

"I was impressed," said Imperial coach Alfred Moore of Ramirez's home run.

Moore added he would not have felt terrible had the lone Calexico score been enough to beat his team.

"Calexico's a dangerous team," Moore said. "You don't want to give them any confidence."

The Ramirez home run was one of only three hits allowed by Imperial pitcher Victor Martinez, who started in place of injured Brock Moore.


"It was just a hit," said Martinez, explaining how he managed to keep his cool after the score. "I just thought to pitch. It's my job,"

Martinez and Item were awarded game balls for their performances.

"I was glad to show that we have some versatility on our team," Moore said of Martinez's performance.

"(Brock Moore) was going to start tonight, but he did something to his back in batting practice," Alfred Moore explained.

He added that Brock Moore, his son, was scheduled to pitch tonight had Calexico won Monday.

Alfred Moore said Martinez was aided greatly by the catching of Daniel Deen.

"(Deen) did a good job," Alfred Moore said.

"Most of my credit is to (Deen)," Martinez added. "Me and (Deen) just got it done."

Moore said he was pleased with the way his team played and he added he thanks the city of Imperial for its support.

"We're glad to bring a championship to Imperial," Alfred Moore said.

He added it has been since the early 1970s when an 11-12-year-old Little League all-star team from Imperial won a Valley championship.

Moore said while it was a pleasure to represent Imperial during the tournament, he is looking forward to representing the Imperial Valley in the Section 8 tournament.

"Now that we're up in Spring Valley, we're representing the whole Valley," Moore said.

He said his team is solid in regard to hitting, pitching, and fielding and he is looking forward to the competition.

"We should be in good shape," Moore said.. "We've got a real balanced team, so we're not going to let anyone intimidate us."

Moore said he was impressed by Calexico and he praised Calexico coach Sal Carrillo.

Imperial will travel to Spring Valley on Saturday to represent the Imperial Valley and District 22 in the Section 8 tournament.

"We're not going to be cocky," Moore said. "But we're going to be confident."

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