Southwest wins in another thriller

May 05, 2002|By ERIC GALVAN

Sports Writer

Ask Southwest High softball coach Stephanie Niebla what she would like most from her team and she'd more than likely ask for an Imperial Valley League championship after a few blowout victories on the rest of the season.

So far Southwest has put itself in a position to win a title as league leader, but it's done so in about as gut-wrenching a way as possible. Each time it seems the team waits until the last possible moment to squeak out a victory.

On Friday, in the team's IVL showdown with third-place Holtville, the Eagles again pulled out a last-inning victory for a 5-4 score that keeps them atop the league standings.


"It was close, but I thought this was a good game for us. This is the first time we had to come back after being down," said Niebla, whose team started in an 4-0 hole after the top of the first inning.

"Even though we were down, I was pretty confident that this team would come back just because of the way they've been working together as a team," said Niebla. "They knew how important this game was and how much we needed it, so I never doubted that they'd be able to come back."

Down 4-0 after the first, Southwest battled back, scoring two runs in the bottom of the first and fourth innings. The Eagles completed the comeback in the bottom of the seventh as pinch runner Shannon Whitman scored the game-winner on a Viking error.

"When I first got out there, I wasn't really nervous at all. I knew I had a job to do," said Whitman. "I slid into third, then I saw the ball go in the outfield, so I was going home as hard as I could and scored."

In the first the Vikings dropped four runs on Southwest in the top of the frame, recording five hits off Eagle starting pitcher Monica Lopez. Southwest bounced back in the bottom half of the frame with two runs as Melissa Frausto and Nikki Cordova reached home after recording base hits.

Despite getting roughed up in the first, Lopez pulled everything together and held Holtville scoreless over the next four innings, giving up only two hits.

With Lopez shutting down the Vikings, the Eagle offense started rolling and tied the game in the bottom of the fourth with Lopez and Frausto scoring to knot the game at 4-4.

With the game tied, Melissa Lerno took over for Lopez on the mound. Lerno held the Vikings to only one hit and striking out three in two innings. Lerno's performance, accompanied by Whitman's score, was good enough to give Lerno the win and improve the Eagles to 7-2 in IVL.

Said Holtville coach David Rodgers, whose team drops to 5-4 in league: "Anytime you come in and play a good team like Southwest, you have to take advantage of every chance you get and we didn't. We had our opportunities to score and win this game, but we couldn't take advantage of them."

The Vikings play at Calexico at 4:15 p.m. Tuesday while the Eagles host Palo Verde at 4:15 p.m. Friday.

Imperial 1, Calexico 0

CALEXICO — The Imperial High softball team squeaked out a 1-0 Imperial Valley League victory over Calexico here Friday to improve to 4-5 in IVL.

With Amy Holtz on base, Victoria Mazon connected on a base hit to drive in Holtz for the go-ahead run in the fourth inning. Holtz finished the game 2-for-3 with a triple.

Lindsay Lugo picked up the win giving up three hits and striking out four.

Marisol Cuevas took the loss for Calexico (1-8).

Imperial hosts Central at 4:15 p.m. Tuesday.

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