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Conway blasts Eagles to win

April 24, 2002|By ERIC GALVAN

Sports Writer

It only took one perfect pitch for Southwest High softball player Jessica Conway to change the face of Southwest's Imperial Valley League game against Central Union High at Southwest in El Centro on Tuesday.

Conway drove the pitch over the left-field fence for a three-run home run to lead Southwest to a 4-2 IVL victory over Central and sole possession of second place in league.

"At first I really didn't think that I hit it over. But when I hit it and I was running to first I heard people in the dugout yelling that it was gone," said Conway, who finished 1-for-3 with three RBI and a run.

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From that point in the bottom of the first, all Conway and her teammates needed to do was play solid defense and sit on their lead.

"I had a feeling that we could hold them the rest of the way. We were playing excellent defense, everyone was hitting and (starting pitcher) Melissa (Lerno) did a really good job," said Conway. "Right now I think we're playing really good all-around. And if we keep it up, I think we have a really good chance at IVL."

The Eagles improve to 4-2 in IVL, having won two in a row following a two-hit masterpiece by Monica Lopez against Calexico on Friday. Southwest is in a three-way tie for first in league with Palo Verde and Holtville. The loss was the Spartans' third in a row and drops them to second place in league with a 3-3 mark.

Picking up the win on the mound Tuesday was Lerno, who pitched a complete game, giving up five hits and striking out four.

Her counterpart, Nicky Carrion wasn't too shabby, either, pitching a complete game, striking out seven and giving up five hits. Of the five hits, four came in the first inning, with the highlight being Conway's home run that drove in Nikki Cordova and Melissa Frausto, who reached base on singles.

P.J. Enders got the team's other hit in the first inning and Stephanie Garcia accounted for the Eagles' fifth hit in the game, a bunt in the bottom of the fifth that drove in Cristina Miranda, who had walked.

Scoring in the second inning for Central was Liz Lechuga, who got on base with a single with two outs. Lechuga scored on a Carrion double to cut the Southwest lead to 3-1.

Looking at another two-out situation in the third, the Spartans came through again as Clarissa Maldonado connected on a double and scored on a Southwest error. The 3-2 deficit was as close as the Spartans would get as the Eagles held them to one hit over the next four innings.

Leading the Central offense was Maldonado, who finished 2-for-3 with a double and a run.

"You take away that one pitch in the first inning and you're looking at a different game," said Spartan coach Sandy Montalvo. "When we got down, our girls didn't give up and they kept battling back. I thought our girls played a good game and I was proud of the way they played."

Both teams return to IVL action Friday with Southwest playing at Brawley at 3:15 p.m. and Central hosting Calexico at 4:15 p.m.

Said Southwest coach Stephanie Niebla: "I think with every game we're growing as a team and learning from every game we play. This is a tough league and I still believe that it's anyone's."

Holtville 4, Palo Verde 3

HOLTVILLE — Behind Lauren Huyler's nine-strikeout, five-hit performance, the Holtville High softball team forged a three-way tie for first place in the Imperial Valley League with a 4-3 victory over Palo Verde here Tuesday.

The Vikings improved to 4-2 in league and are tied with Palo Verde and Southwest for first.

Huyler also was 3-for-4 with two runs. Michelle Strahm finished 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run for Holtville and Claudia Lopez was 2-for-4 with an RBI.

The Vikings host Imperial at 4:15 p.m. Thursday.

Brawley 2, Calexico 0

CALEXICO — Leighan Sudduth pitched a no-hitter with nine strikeouts to lead the Brawley Union High softball team to a 2-0 victory over Calexico in Imperial Valley League action here Tuesday.

Erin Rutherford finished with two hits for Brawley and Reggie Horta and Karla Price recorded the team's two runs.

Brawley improved to 3-3 in league while the Bulldogs fell to 1-5.

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