central rallies to beat calexico

March 20, 2002|By RICHARD MYERS

Sports Editor

Spotting Calexico a 2-0 lead Tuesday, Central Union High's baseball team battled back to earn a 5-3 win over the Bulldogs in the Imperial Valley League opener for both clubs.

"We've talked about it a lot," Spartans skipper Dave Middleton said of Central's slow starts. "It seems like we have the same problem every year. I have a hard time trying to convince our guys we need to score a few runs earlier.

"We can't always depend on getting those hits in the gap in the later innings," he added.

"You have to give them credit," Calexico coach Alex Flores said of the Spartans. "They hung in there and never gave up."


It was important for Central to get a good start in the IVL, Middleton said, because the Spartans have a bye Friday and then compete in two out-of-town tournaments before resuming league play in two weeks.

Both coaches praised the opposing pitchers. Central starter Leo Ibarra got the key outs when needed, Flores observed.

Middleton noted Calexico's J.P. Gonzalez kept his squad off balance for three innings.

"I knew we would get to J.P.," Middleton said.

And the Spartans did, scoring three runs in the fourth after Calexico had grabbed a 2-0 lead in the third.

Enrique Lechuga led off the last half of the fourth for Central with a single to left center field. A passed ball moved him to second and a wild pitch put him at third. From there he scored on another wild pitch.

Central's next two runs came off fielder's choices.

Victor Cesena walked and Raul Cazares singled to center with one out, pushing Cesena to third. Cazares then stole second.

Dan Vela followed with a grounder down the first base line. Calexico opted to go home for a force out on Cesena but Cesena beat the throw to tie the game.

Kevin Betz then slapped a grounder down the third base line. The third baseman looked to go to second for a potential inning-ending double play.

"But our second baseman fell asleep," Flores said, so the only play was at the plate. Cazares easily scored to give Central a 3-2 lead.

"We just made a couple of silly mistakes," Flores said. "We should have had both outs at home."

Central added two more runs in the fifth, again with somewhat bizarre plays.

Javier Vasquez singled to right and stole second. He then advanced to third on Lechuga's ground out and stole home.

Vasquez crashed into the Spartans' Cesena who was batting and blocking the Bulldog catcher from making the tag, before touching home.

"We have a sophomore catcher and he thought there would be interference," Flores said. "He didn't know."

Central's final run came off a balk. Calexico's Gonzalez first stepped off the rubber and faked a throw to first base, before whirling to try and pick a Spartan runner off third.

Calexico regrouped and scored one run in the sixth. Enok Madrigal singled to left and two outs later scored on Jorge Lluis's infield single down the third-base line.

The Bulldogs scored their first two runs in the third. With two outs J.P. Gonzalez singled up the middle and stole second He then scored on an error that put Damien Lopez aboard.

Lopez also stole second and scored moments later on Madrigal's base hit up the middle.

Cazares led Central's six-hit attack with a pair of singles. Betz doubled, and Javier Vasquez, Lechuga and Mario Gastellum all singled.

Lluis had two hits to pace Calexico's seven-hit attack. Albert Garcia, J.P. Gonzalez, Lopez, Madrigal and Eric Flores all singled.

Central (7-1 overall) competes in a tournament in San Diego starting Tuesday while Calexico (6-2, 0-1) hosts Palo Verde at 3:15 p.m. Friday.

Brawley 10, Southwest 2

BRAWLEY — Brandon Burnett went three-for-five with five runs batted in Tuesday as Brawley Union High's baseball team thumped Southwest High 10-2.

Mitchell Ruiz, Curtis Smith and David Santana all had two hits for Brawley.

Ricky Lopez doubled for Southwest and Sal Arballo had a run-scoring single.

Brawley (5-1 overall, 1-0 Imperial Valley League) plays at 3:15 p.m. Friday at Holtville while Southwest (5-6, 0-1) hosts Imperial at 3:15 p.m. Friday.

Holtville 5, Imperial 3

HOLTVILLE — Eric Strahm went three-for-three with a double Tuesday as Holtville High's baseball team edged Imperial 5-3.

Isac Mejia had a two-run single for Holtville.

Kevin Williams went three-for-four with two stolen bases for Imperial.

Holtville (5-2 overall, 1-0 Imperial Valley League) hosts Brawley at 3:15 p.m. Friday while Imperial (4-4, (0-1) plays a 3:15 p.m. Friday at Southwest.

Calipatria 16, Borrego 5

CALIPATRIA — Calipatria High's baseball team rang up 18 hits Tuesday en route to a 16-5 win over Borrego Springs. The Hornets also stole nine bases.

Sergio Flores went three-for-three with two stolen bases. Johnny Fallavolita and Mike Sadberry also had three hits each. Andy Paralta, Don Schuller and Sadberry combined for a four-hitter. Paralta earned the win while Sadberry threw three innings of no-hit ball.

Calipatria (3-1 overall, 3-0 Citrus League) hosts Julian at 3:15 p.m. Friday in a showdown of top teams.

Vincent 10, Julian 5

PINE VALLEY — Vincent Memorial High's baseball team improved to 3-0 in the Citrus League on Tuesday with a 10-5 win over Julian. The game was played at Mountain Empire's home field because of weather conditions in Julian.

Richie Del Rio and Chris Del Rio both had two hits for Vincent and Leonard Gomez added a key hit during a five-run rally in the fifth inning.

Vincent (4-1 overall) hosts Mountain Empire at 3:30 today.

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