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Brawley hammers Central, now tied for first in IVL

April 21, 2002|By RICHARD MYERS

Sports Editor

Central Union High's baseball team imploded Friday afternoon, not only losing the game to visiting Brawley Union High 9-3 but also falling out of sole possession of first place in the Imperial Valley League.

Errors — both physical and mental — cost the Spartans, which slipped to 4-1 in the IVL and tied for first with Brawley's Wildcats.

"We just gave it away," Central coach Dave Middleton said.

The Spartans committed seven physical errors in the field. "We haven't given up that many errors in three or four games combined," Middleton said.


"You have to give Brawley credit," he continued. "They took advantage of everything we gave them."

"Our guys really stepped up," Brawley skipper Pedro Carranza said, noting the Wildcats really wanted to win after losing earlier in the week to Imperial.

Central, on the other hand, stumbled its way through the game.

"It was pretty sloppy," Middleton said. "Embarrassing, and I'm not afraid to admit it."

Physical errors hurt as the Spartans threw high, bobbled balls, muffed pickoff throws and let balls roll between their legs.

What was particularly hard to swallow were the mental lapses.

"We had a pitcher that didn't cover third base on a rundown," Middleton said adding another player did not run out a ground ball in the last inning.

The biggest insult came in the fourth inning when the Wildcats batted around and scored five runs to take an 8-1 lead.

With the Wildcats up 3-1, Brawley's Lafayette Lofton led the inning by getting aboard on an error and Chris Ramirez singled up the middle.

At that moment Central's catcher walked to the mound and called for his infielders to join him for a conference.

"No one called time out," Carranza said, noting the umpire never signaled a stoppage in play.

Carranza yelled for his two runners to move up a base and they did to Central's embarrassment. No one was left standing at the bags to tag either Lofton at third or Ramirez at second.

Moments later Curtis Smith slapped a grounder through the Central second baseman's legs to score both runners.

After Joel Aguirre drew a two-out walk, David Santana tripled to left centerfield to score two runners. The last run of the inning scored off Brandon Burnett's groundout to give Brawley its 8-1 lead.

Central got two of the runs back in the last half of the fourth thanks to a pair of bases-loaded walks.

Brawley added its final run in the fifth off a controversial play. Aguirre was credited with a double to right centerfield and then scored on Javier Calles' single.

Central players and fans argued that Spartan centerfielder Ernie Castellanos caught Aguirre's blast with an acrobatic cross-body leap.

"As much as I want to win, he was out," Brawley Athletics Director Billy Brewer said sitting in the stands, admitting the umpires blew the call.

"He made a great play," Middleton said of Castellanos.

Both teams opened the game with one run in the first. Brawley scored its off Santana's single and an error.

Central scored its first run off a walk, a base hit by Victor Cesena and a groundout by Mario Gastelum.

Brawley added two more runs in the third off three errors and Curtis Smith's single to right.

Santana led Brawley's nine-hit attack with his triple and a single. Aguirre and Lofton both doubled, and Burnett, Calles, Andy Buckner, Chris Ramirez and Smith all singled.

Javier Vasquez doubled for Central and Cesena, Gastelum, Leo Ibarra and Dan Enriquez all singled.

Brawley (9-7 overall) hosts Calexico at 4:15 p.m. Tuesday while Central (12-3l) hosts Southwest at 4:15 p.m. Tuesday.

Calexico 3, Southwest 2

CALEXICO — J.P. Gonzalez struck out 11 and gave up only four hits as the Calexico High baseball team got past Southwest 3-2 in Imperial Valley League action here Friday.

Leading the Calexico offense were Damian Lopez going 2-for-3 with two RBI and George Lluis with a hit and an RBI.

The Bulldogs (2-3 IVL) play at Brawley at 4:15 p.m. Tuesday while Southwest (2-3 IVL) hosts Central at 4:15 p.m. Tuesday.

Calipatria 12, Lutheran 2

CALIPATRIA — The Calipatria High baseball team remained atop the Citrus League with a 12-2 hammering of Lutheran here Friday.

Picking up the win on the mound for Calipatria (7-1 CL) was Donald Shiller, giving up only one hit.

The Hornets play at Calvary Christian in Vista at 3:15 p.m. Monday.

Imperial 7, Palo Verde 2

BLYTHE — The Imperial High baseball team won its second straight Imperial Valley League contest with a 7-2 victory over Palo Verde here Friday.

Aaron Hartsock picked up the win on the mound pitching seven innings, giving up three hits and striking out seven.

Offensively, Erik Ramirez was 2-for-3 with a double and a run and Brenden Lopez had a double with two RBI and a run.

Said Imperial coach William Estes: "Right now, our team goal is to rise to the level of Brawley. That's what we're shooting for."

The Tigers (2-4 IVL) host Imperial at 7 p.m. Friday.

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