The win was Southwest's second over Brawley this season, having beaten the Wildcats 6-3 on March 19. Against Brawley the first time around, the Eagles had their way against the Wildcats, scoring six unanswered runs. Things were slightly different Friday as both teams' pitchers and defenses controlled the game.
Picking up the win for Southwest was freshman Melissa Lerno, who gave up only three hits and struck out 10 in 10 innings. Equally impressive was Brawley senior Leighan Sudduth, who after throwing a no-hitter Tuesday against Calexico, held the Eagles to six hits while striking out seven in 10 innings. One of Sudduth's biggest victims was Lerno, who finished 0-for-5, striking out twice.
In the bottom of the ninth, Sudduth had a chance to put things away as she reached first on a bunt, stole second and got to third on a sacrifice bunt. But with two out, Karla Price bunted but was thrown out at first, ending the threat and the inning.
That was as close as the Wildcats would get and it was that missed opportunity that opened the door for the Eagles, who scored the game's only run in the next frame.
"We knew that in order to win this game we'd have to play together as a team and I think we really did that today," said Southwest coach Stephanie Niebla. "This is a really close league we're in right now and I expected this game to be this tight. And really, I expect every game to be like this the rest of the year."
Southwest improves to 5-2 in the IVL and takes sole possession of first place, a half game ahead of Palo Verde (4-2), which was idle Friday. The Wildcats fall to 3-4 in league and are tied for fourth place in IVL with Imperial.
"This was a tough loss. Every loss is going to be tough, but this was a little tougher," said Brawley coach Chris Velasco. "I thought Leighan did a hell of a job pitching today. And it's very frustrating when you know you have the pitching but you just can't hit consistently. This was just tough. But this is something you just have to be able to put behind you and move on."
Both teams play at 4:15 p.m. Tuesday with Southwest hosting Imperial and Brawley playing at Holtville.
Central 4, Calexico 1
The Central Union High softball team broke out its three-game slump with a 4-1 Imperial Valley League victory over Calexico in El Centro on Friday.
Picking up the win and throwing a three-hitter was Marissa Guzman, who struck out six.
Leading the Spartan offense was Cami Grundman, who hit a three-run home run and finished 2-for-3. Clarissa Maldonado went 3-for-3 with a double and an RBI for Central (4-3 IVL).
Taking the loss for Calexico was Marisol Cuevas, who pitched a complete game. Cuevas and Martha Ramirez both finished with doubles for the Bulldogs (1-6 IVL) and Linda Mendoza scored the team's only run.
Calexico hosts Palo Verde at 4:15 p.m. Tuesday and Central plays at Palo Verde at 4:15 p.m. Friday.
Imperial 2, Holtville 1
HOLTVILLE — The Imperial High softball team knocked Holtville from the top of the Imperial Valley League standings, beating the Vikings 2-1 in nine innings here Friday.
Stephanie Ortega came through with the game-winning hit in the ninth, scoring Melanie Medina, who scored both Imperial runs and finished 2-for-4 with a triple. Amy Holtz was 2-for-5 for Imperial (3-4 IVL).
Lindsay Lugo got the win on the mound, giving up seven hits and striking out three.
Taking the loss for the Vikings (4-3 IVL) was Lauren Huyler, who struck out six and went 3-for-4 at the plate with two doubles.