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Arabs battling for spot in playoffs

April 21, 2002|By ERIC GALVAN

Sports Writer

With its back against the wall and the postseason gradually slipping from its grasp, the Imperial Valley College softball team kept its slim playoff hopes alive at IVC on Friday as it knocked off San Diego Mesa College 10-1 in five innings in Pacific Coast Conference action.

The win improves IVC's conference record to 7-6 and gives it sole possession of third place in the PCC.

"We have two games left in conference and if we can win out, then we have a chance at making the playoffs," said Arab coach Jill Lerno. "We had a bad game on Monday (against Grossmont), losing 8-0. But, that was something that we had to learn from and then just put behind us."

IVC put the loss on Monday to Grossmont behind it in a big way. Before Friday's 10-1 victory over San Diego Mesa, the Arabs shut out Southwestern 4-0 on Wednesday.

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"The way we've played these last two games is exactly the way I know we're capable of playing, it was just a matter of us putting it all together," said Lerno. "I've said it before, I'll say it again and I'll keep saying it: This team can be good when it wants to be; it's just a matter of everyone playing together and as a team."

After struggling on offense through most of the PCC season, the Arabs put together one of their best offensive efforts of the year as four players finished with multiple hits, three had two RBI and all but one player reached base safely.

Not only that, but a seven-run second inning was one of the best single innings IVC has put together in the last two seasons.

Tied at 1-1 after one and a half, the Arabs went through their entire lineup in the second as eight batters reached base safely.

Of the first six batters in the inning, four of them — Amber Marquez, Heather Aguilar, Jenny Ramirez and Adela Green — all reached base on balls and eventually scored. Coming through with the first base hit that left the infield in the inning was Maria Hansen-Perez, who drove in Aguilar and Ramirez. Olga Noris followed with an RBI single, scoring Green. After Jenny Burgos popped out for the second out in the frame, Marquez recorded a three-run triple to give the Arabs an 8-1 advantage.

With the offense providing the run support, Hansen-Perez dominated Mesa, giving up only four hits, striking out six, walking none and giving up an earned run.

In the fourth, Hansen-Perez and Burgos got on base with singles and scored on passed balls to up the deficit to nine runs.

San Diego Mesa rallied in the fifth and had a chance to cut into the lead with two outs and bases loaded. Green ended the threat and the game as she stole a shot that was ripped down the third-base line to record the final out.

For the game, Hansen-Perez finished 2-for-3 with two RBI and two runs, Marquez was 2-for-2 with a triple, two RBI and a run, Noris was 2-for-3 with an RBI and a run and Briseño was 2-for-3 with a run. Ramirez finished the game 1-for-2 with a home run, two RBI and two runs.

"We hit today. We finally got our bats on the ball and were hitting. That's something that we haven't been doing enough of, but today we did," said Ramirez. "From top to bottom, one through nine, everybody came through and got on base. And with runners on, people were coming through with big hits when we needed them.

"Jill's been talking about it all year. She's been saying that if we can hit consistently and play solid defense we can be successful and we proved that today," said Ramirez. "We have two games left and hopefully we can keep this going. If we can continue to play like this, then we have a chance at making the playoffs."

IVC plays at San Diego Mesa at 3 p.m. Monday.

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