Wildcats power past Tigers 12-4

May 12, 2002|By TOM RONCO

Special to this newspaper

BRAWLEY — Playing long-ball on a windy afternoon, the Brawley Union High School baseball team hit two home runs in a 12-4 Imperial Valley League victory here Friday over Imperial.

"Brawley played well and our defense let down at times," said Imperial head coach William Estes.

"Today and every game is a big win for us because we're in a pennant race," said Wildcat head coach Pedro Carranza. "They beat us before so it was a good win and we played as a team and I hope we keep it going."

The victory allowed the Wildcats (8-2) to keep pace with Central, which Brawley will host Tuesday in a showdown of the IVL's co-leaders.


Wildcat senior Brandon Burnett saw the Imperial victory as a good omen.

"We played a lot better today then we have been and everyone played as a team and had good attitudes," he said.

The game had a rocky start for the Wildcats as Imperial's leadoff hitter Erik Ramirez opened the game with a fly ball that the outfield misplayed into a two-base error.

After Ramirez moved to third on Chris Cabrera's ground ball, he scored as Kevin Williams singled off pitcher Javier Callesto.

With one out in the bottom of the first, Imperial pitcher Eddie Martinez walked Joel Aguirre and David Santana on 10 pitches, prompting a visit from Estes.

Burnett then singled to right field scoring Aguirre to tie the game. Layfette Loyton followed with a double to score Santana

Martinez then struck out Calles but walked Matt Smith. With Curtis Smith at bat a passed ball allowed Burnett to score before Smith unloaded a shot into the left-center field gap. Smith's speed allowed him to circle the bases for a three-run inside-the-park home run.

"It felt good to smash the ball," said Smith, who along with several Wildcats has struggled lately. "I modified my stroke and when it went in the gap I knew I had at least a triple."

After taking a 6-1 lead, the Wildcats were finally shut down in the first on a sliding catch in right field by Chance Downs.

"I saw the reflection of the ball off my sunglasses and I was trying to play the wind," said Downs. "I slid to make sure that I got the ball with my glove up."

Downs opened the top of the second with a triple but Calles recorded a strikeout, ground out and a fly ball to end the threat.

Imperial used its defense to defuse the Wildcats in the second. After Santana walked with one out Carranza called for a hit-and-run with Burnett at bat.

Burnett smashed a one-hopper up the middle that was flagged down by diving short-stop Aaron Hartsock, who was moving to cover second base on the steal. Hartsock touched the bag to force Santana and threw to first for the double play.

Julian Lopez double with two outs in third and scored the Tigers second run on a Martinez base hit.

"Pitching doesn't affect my hitting," said Martinez. "When I bat I'm thinking about just getting the run in and putting the ball in play."

Lofton opened the Brawley third with a single and Calles walked before Matt Smith bunted the two into scoring position.

Martinez walked Curtis Smith to load the bases. Dominic Aguirre's ground ball one out later scored Lofton. A Martinez balk then brought home Calles to extend the Wildcat lead to 8-2.

Calles struggled in the fourth, giving up a one-out single to Art Garcia, who got to second on a wild pitch.

Lopez greeted reliever Chris Ramirez with a base hit to lead off fifth. Martinez followed with another single but Hartsock's ground ball forced out Martinez at second.

Ramirez then struck out Downs, but Imperial pulled off a double-steal with Lopez scoring to make the score to 8-3.

After Brawley failed to score in the fifth, Imperial's Garcia walked and stole second and two outs later Williams singled to score Garcia, cutting the lead to 8-4.

Carranza replaced Chris Ramirez with David Santana, who fanned Lopez to end the threat.

Joel Aguirre got on board on an error to open the Brawley sixth and scored when Santana tripled into the right-centerfield gap. Burnett then unloaded a monstrous home run over the center field fence to increase the Wildcat lead to 11-4.

"This is the second one this year here," said Burnett. "I knew I hit it well and I was about five steps down the line when I heard the guys yelling and I watched it go out."

A tiring Martinez then walked Lofton, who was forced out at second by Chris Ramirez, and Jose Escutia then singled.

"That was the longest inning I've thrown all year," said Martinez. "I had something left when the inning started and I was hoping to go 1-2-3."

The extra-base hits didn't get to the Tiger's sophomore pitcher, who is having a standout year with a 5-2 record.

"I've played on varsity long enough this season to feel like I belong here," said Martinez.

Imperial (5-6) hosts Palo Verde at 4:15 p.m.

Central 7, Holtville 0

The Central Union High baseball team kept pace with Brawley Union High for first place in the Imperial Valley League with a 7-0 victory over Holtville in El Centro on Friday.

Ernie Castellanos led the Central offense, which recorded nine hits, going 2-for-2 with an RBI.

Dan Gonzalez picked up the win for the Spartans (8-2), throwing five innings, striking out four and allowing two hits.

Enrique Lechuga pitched two innings of relief, giving up only one hit.

Holtville (2-9) hosts Palo Verde at 4:15 p.m. Thursday.

Palo Verde 4, Southwest 2

BLYTHE — The Southwest High baseball team fell to 3-7 in the Imperial Valley League with a 4-2 loss to Palo Verde here Friday.

Bryan Martinez took the loss for Southwest, going six innings, walking four, allowing eight hits and striking out six.

Ernie Silva led the Eagle offense, going 2-for-3 with a double and a run.

Chuck Ainza and Joey Clayton had RBIs for Southwest and Sal Arballo scored the team's other run.

The Eagles host Calexico at 4:15 p.m. Tuesday.

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