Gastelum dominates Imperial

April 14, 2002|By ERIC GALVAN

Sports Writer

IMPERIAL — It's no real big secret to Imperial Valley high school baseball insiders that the Imperial High baseball team struggles hitting balls on the outside corners of the plate.

Imperial proved that point here Friday as it got held to two hits by Central Union High's Mario Gastelum in Central's 7-0 Imperial Valley League victory.

Coming off a 14-strikeout, two-hit performance against Calexico on Tuesday, the Imperial offense continued its woes as Gastelum struck out 11 in handing the Tigers their fourth consecutive IVL loss.


"We just can't seem to hit those outside pitches. It's no secret that pitchers are trying to hit the corners. We just can't make adjustments," said Imperial coach William Estes. "About 90 percent of the pitches (Gastelum) threw were on the outside corner. We just couldn't adjust. Julian Lopez and Aaron Hartsock adjusted, but nobody else on this team did."

Lopez accounted for both Imperial hits.

Hartsock had a solid outing on the mound, giving up only three earned runs in seven innings.

"Aaron pitched a hell of a game. He did not deserve to get beat 7-0. With the way he pitched, and the way we played defensively, I actually feel sorry for him," said Estes.

The Central offense managed to take advantage of Imperial mistakes and come through with clutch hits.

Leading the Spartan offense were Raul Cazarez, who went 2-for-4 and scored two runs, and Gastelum, who scored twice. Both Cazarez and Gastelum scored for Central in the third and fifth innings.

"I thought it was a pretty good game for us. We were hitting the ball when we needed to," said Gastelum. "We jumped on them early and that made things easier for me pitching.

"Right now we're starting to play the way we want to, but we can always play a little better. There's always room to improve," said Gastelum.

Javier Vazquez scored Central's first run in the first inning on an error after reaching on a base hit.

Cazarez and Gastelum both scored in the third on passed balls while Victor Cesena scored later in the frame on an error.

In the fifth, Cazarez scored on a fielder's choice and Gastelum again scored on a passed ball.

Enrique Lechuga capped the Spartans' scoring in the seventh with a solo jack over the right-field fence.

"Defensively we were pretty solid, Mario shut them down and offensively we put the ball in play and were playing aggressively," said Central coach Dave Middleton. "I really think we're still getting better, but I don't know how good we can be. I think I'll know that by the time the first round (of league play) is over."

Central improved to 3-0 in the IVL and is in a first-place tie with Brawley Union High, which beat Palo Verde on Friday. Imperial falls to 0-4 in IVL.

Both teams next play Tuesday, with Central at Holtville at 4:15 p.m. and Imperial hosting Brawley at 6 p.m.

Brawley 12, Palo Verde 0

BRAWLEY — The Brawley Union High baseball team had little trouble against Palo Verde here Friday, winning 12-0 in five innings.

Brandon Burnett led the Wildcats, going 2-for-3 with a home run, two runs and an RBI. He also picked up the win on the mound, striking out five in five inning.

Joel Aguirre, Andy Buckner, Lafayette Lofton, Chris Ramirez and Mitchell Ruiz all finished with two hits for the Wildcats. Aguirre and Lofton both had two RBI and Ramirez scored two runs.

The win improves Brawley's league record to 3-0.

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