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Central, Brawley lose tourney finales

March 28, 2002|By ERIC GALVAN

Sports Writer

SAN DIEGO — The Brawley Union, Central Union and Southwest high softball teams wrapped up play in the Madison Tournament here Wednesday with mixed results.

All three teams finished with at least two wins in the 16-team tournament but only Southwest got a victory on the final day of competition, manhandling Our Lady of Peace 14-0 in five innings to finish 3-2 in the tournament.

Both Brawley and Central were shut out in their tourney finales as the Spartans lost 5-0 to University City while the Wildcats were blanked 6-0 to Point Loma. Brawley finished with a 3-2 mark and Central went 2-3.

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"I thought it was real good for us to end this tournament on a good note. With the break coming up, it was good for us to play the way we did," said Southwest coach Stephanie Niebla.

The way Niebla's team played was putting together one of its best offensive games of the season accompanied by solid pitching and defense.

The Eagles finished with 16 hits and scored all 14 runs in the first four innings, including four in the first and six in the third.

Leading the Southwest offense were Nikki Cordova, who went 4-for-4 with two doubles, three RBI and a run, Melissa Frausto, who went 3-for-3 with two runs and an RBI and Jessica Conway, who went 2-for-4 with a home run, four RBI and a run.

Said Cordova: "We finally picked it up with our bats. We kind of started the tournament slow at the plate, but we picked it up today. I think with the way we played today, overall we're where we want to be right now as a team."

Also contributing for Southwest were Arynne Valdez going 2-for-3 with a run and Melissa Lerno, who went 3-for-4 with two doubles, four runs and an RBI.

Lerno was equally impressive on the mound, throwing all five innings, giving up only three hits and striking out five.

While she had a good pitching outing, Lerno was more impressed with the way the team performed offensively.

"I thought everyone on the team hit really well. I really didn't think that we would do as well as we did because early in the tournament we weren't hitting that well," said Lerno. "But we started hitting in the first inning and just went from there."

Brawley had anything but success at the plant as it finished with only three hits against Point Loma. Recording the hits for Brawley were Leighan Sudduth in the first inning, Erin Rutherford in the fourth and Trisha Fleming in the sixth.

Taking the loss was Sudduth, who pitched a complete game, walked four, allowed six hits and gave up three earned runs.

Four of the hits given up by Sudduth came in the second inning as Point Loma scored three runs.

Other than another three runs scored by the Pointers in the seventh off errors, the Point Loma offense was basically kept in check by Sudduth. She held the Pointers scoreless in five innings, including four straight from the third to the sixth, in which she only allowed one hit.

The lack of offense kept Brawley from getting back in the game.

"We were making contact, but we were hitting it right to them. We just couldn't put the ball in play and hit it into holes," said Brawley coach Chris Velasco. "I really thought that Leighan pitched a very good game, but we just made a couple of key errors that turned into runs for them."

Offense, or lack thereof also took its toll on the Central Spartans, who recorded only one hit in their 5-0 loss to University City on Wednesday.

While the Madison Tournament is a good barometer for what is in store for each team in the postseason, Central coach Sandy Montalvo said the tournament allows each team to get ready for Imperial Valley League play.

"We have a strong league this year and I think that this tournament definitely helps us in preparation for league," said Montalvo. "I think with the strength of our league, that will help us get a little more respect (from San Diego area schools) as a valley."

A bit of a scary moment occurred during the University City game for Central as Monica Sandoval was hit by a pitch square on her left cheekbone in the fifth inning. She was later taken to the hospital, where X-rays were negative.

Marissa Guzman took the loss on the final day, giving up seven hits and walking five with one strikeout. Cami Grundman recorded the only hit for Central.

On Tuesday, the Spartans lost to Marian Catholic 3-0 and beat Clairemont 6-0.

Nicky Carrion went the distance against Marian, allowing four hits and two walks. She struck out six. Clarissa Maldonado went 1-for-3.

Carrion was pitching a no-hitter through four innings against Clairemont when she injured her right wrist sliding into a base. Guzman came on in relief and together they finished with a one-hitter, fanning six and walking two. Maldonado went 2-for-3 with three RBI and Kristin Grundman and Cami Grundman both had one hit, with Cami Grundman driving in two runs.

Said Montalvo: "I think we still have a lot of things to work on. This is a very close-knit group of girls who have the potential to succeed. They just need to bring it all together.

Southwest and Central return to IVL action April 9 with Central (6-7) hosting Palo Verde at 3:15 p.m. and Southwest (7-5) playing at Holtville at 4:15 p.m. Brawley (8-8) plays at Palo Verde in Blythe at 4:15 p.m. April 12.

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