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Valley all-stars advance in tourney

July 27, 2001|By TIM YANNI, Sports Writer

CALEXICO — In a game with a final score more appropriate for a football game, the All-Valley all-stars from the Imperial Valley advanced to the second round of the 12-and-under Babe Ruth softball regional tournament with a 23-17 win over Westside of Phoenix here Thursday.

"The same thing happened to us last year," Valley coach Angel Aguilar said. "I just told the girls not to give up.

All-Valley scored in the bottom of the first when Serena Saldana walked Ashley Ramos with the bases loaded to score Carrie McKinney, but things really began to cook in the top of the second.

Trailing 1-0, Westside's Cynthia Villareal singled to start the inning and Rosa Lara walked before Ciara Soliz got on via an error that scored Villareal to tie the game.

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April Saldana then walked and Lara scored on a wild pitch. Marissa Lara and Stephanie Saldana both got on base by errors, and Rashawnda Shepard cleared the bases on an error that sent her home as Westside went up 7-1.

Serena Saldana reached third on an error and scored on a wild pitch to put Westside up 8-1 before All-Valley tagged April Saldana for the third out.

It looked like Westside had All-Valley right where it needed it when Monica Enriquez grounded out to kick off the bottom of the second.

But All-Valley came back when Frances Barraza, Patricia Rodriguez and McKinney walked to load the bases.

Barraza scored on a wild pitch and Rodriguez scored on an error before Bianca Ramirez singled and Alyssa McClanahan drove in McKinney with a single to cut the lead to 8-4.

Four more runs scored in the inning and All-Valley had forged a tie.

In the top of the third Marissa Lara, Monique Gutierrez and Villareal all scored to give Westside an 11-8 advantage.

The inning as a whole, however, belonged to All-Valley as Barraza, McKinney, Ramirez, McClanahan, Martika Aguilar, Ramos, Ibarra and Enriquez scored as the local girls took a commanding lead at 16-11.

Rodriguez, who had grounded out earlier in the inning, got to third on an error and scored on a wild pitch and All-Valley took a 17-11 win out of the inning.

Westside managed two runs in the top of the fourth as Marissa Lara, who singled, scored on an error, and Shepard, who got all the way to third on the same error, scored on a wild pitch.

All-Valley grabbed a fly out from Serena Saldana to end any rally and then fired up its offense again to put up four more runs and take a 21-13 lead into the fifth.

Gutierrez kicked off the fifth with an in-the-park-home-run to take one run off the deficit. Villareal and Alvarez scored on errors and Westside trailed 21-16 going into the bottom of the inning.

Ramirez led off for All-Valley with a double, stole third and was driven in by McClanahan on a sacrifice fly.

Rubi Almazan then singled, stole second and third and scored on an error to put All-Valley up 23-16.

Shepard got on via an error in the top of the sixth for Westside and stole second and third. She was driven in by Serena Salana on a ground-out, but Gutierrez and Villareal ended any chance of a comeback with consecutive fly-outs to end the game.

"It's a young, inexperienced team," said Aguilar of All-Valley. "But one thing they never do is give up."

He said defense put his team in a hole early, but he was not worried about bouncing back.

Ramos, the winning pitcher, said she was glad her team pulled off the comeback.

"I knew we could get back up on the runs," said Ramos. "So I just tried my hardest."

"I just concentrated," Ramos said. "I knew my team would back me up."

Aguilar said he was pleased with Ramos' pitching, but errors played a big part in the high-scoring game.

"I just told Ramos to settle down and let the defense do its job. It was a long game because of all the errors and all the runs scored," he added, saying he was proud of his team for keeping its cool.

All-Valley will play Concord tonight. Aguilar said his team has its work cut out for it.

"We're really going to have to improve our defense. Concord's a good team," he said, adding Concord was last year's regional champion.

"They have their experience and we don't," Aguilar said, adding his team has only four 12-year-olds. "I just hope the girls play better defense."

All-Valley and Concord play at 6 tonight at Legion Field in Calexico.

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