After Maldonado stole second, the next Spartan flied out. It should have been the last out of the inning, but instead the fly out allowed Maldonado to take third. From there she scored on Nicky Carrion's double to left field.
Carrion stroked the game-winning hit on a 1-2 count after she fouled two pitches down the left field line. When she finally connected the Imperial left fielder took a couple steps forward only to find herself hastily retreating to try to flag down the ball. It sailed just over her outstretched glove.
Monica Sandoval followed with a hit to left field. The ball bounced in front of the left fielder and took a weird hop to her right, allowing Lisa Valenzuela, pinch-running for Carrion, to score
Claudia Maldonado kept the Central rally alive by hammering a single to left that scored Sandoval. Marissa Guzman then reached base when the center fielder had the ball bounce off her glove for another Imperial error. The miscue allowed Claudia Maldonado to score.
The flurry forced Witte to replace starting pitcher Lindsay Lugo. Reliever Jenna Severe yielded a run-scoring single to right field by Vanessa Long before getting the next batter to ground into a fielder's choice to end the inning.
The damage had been done but Central added two more runs in the sixth. Cami Grundman singled to center and Clarissa Maldonado singled to left. Valenzuela then lined a shot off Severe's glove to load the bases.
Carrion lofted a soft fly ball that fell behind third base for a hit that scored a run. Claudia Maldonado forced in the final run with a bases-loaded walk.
"They are a great team," Witte said of Central. "They put the ball in play and didn't make many mistakes."
Central had played an 11-inning thriller three days earlier in beating Palo Verde 1-0. Spartan coach Sandy Montalvo was expecting another thriller against Imperial.
"I've said all along this league is very competitive," Montalvo said. "And Kim (Witte) has done a good job with Imperial."
The key for Central was Carrion.
"She was awesome in both games this week," Montalvo said.
Carrion worked the 11-inning win and pitched all seven innings against Imperial, scattering four hits. She struck out four and walked one.
"I was a little bit nervous," Carrion conceded, saying that was because Imperial was hanging tough. "But our defense played really good."
Carrion drove in two runs with two of her team's seven hits.
"I think my driving in that first run helped give our team more confidence," she said.
Claudia Maldonado, Long, Grundman, Clarissa Maldonado and Sandoval all had one hit for Central.
Stephanie Ortega, Victoria Mazon, Samantha Culp and Anica Roche all had hits for Imperial.
Central (9-7 overall, 3-0 IVL) hosts Holtville at 4:15 p.m. Tuesday. Imperial (9-7, 2-2) plays at 4:15 p.m. Tuesday in Brawley.
Palo Verde 2, Brawley 1
BLYTHE — The Brawley Union High softball team continued its Imperial Valley League slump as it lost 2-1 to Palo Verde here Friday to fall to 0-3 in the IVL.
Taking the pitching loss for Brawley (8-9 overall) was Leighan Sudduth.
Reggie Horta scored Brawley's only run, on a base hit by her sister Mikayla Horta.
The Wildcats host Imperial at 3:15 p.m. Tuesday.
Southwest 2, Palm Desert 0
Palm Desert 6, Southwest 0
PALM DESERT — The Southwest High softball team split a doubleheader with Palm Desert here Saturday, winning the first game 2-0 and losing the second 6-0.
Melissa Lerno picked up the win in the first game, striking out four and allowing four hits.
Nikki Cordova and Melissa Frausto each recorded one-run doubles.
Lerno, Stephanie Garcia and Janai Williams also added singles for the Eagles (9-7).
Southwest was held to two hits in the second game, with Monica Lopez taking the loss on the mound. Garcia and Frausto recorded the team's only hits.
The Eagles play at Palo Verde at 4:15 p.m. Tuesday.