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Guzman, Spartans shut down 'Cats

May 14, 2002|By ERIC GALVAN

Sports Writer

Before the Brawley Union High and Central Union High softball teams could get fully into their Imperial Valley League game in El Centro on Monday, it essentially was over.

Two errors in the bottom of the first inning were enough for Central to take a 3-0 lead in the Spartans' 5-3 victory over their longtime rivals.

"I was very pleased with how our team played today. It's a big game because you always want to beat Brawley because they are one of our biggest rivals," said Central coach Sandy Montalvo. "They're a competitive group. Any time we play Brawley, we know it's going to be tough and competitive."

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While the final score showed the Spartans winning by two, for much of the game it really wasn't that close.

After taking a 3-0 lead in the first, Central added a run in the third.

With the Spartan offense taking care of business, Marissa Guzman kept the Wildcat bats in check, holding Brawley hitless through five innings.

"I think the difference in this game was probably our bats and our defense. Our defense just played really well today," said Guzman. "Knowing that I could count on them really did make it easier for me."

Despite a three-run sixth inning by Brawley that cut the deficit to 4-3, Guzman finished with one hit allowed, one earned run and four strikeouts.

Leading the Spartan offense was Claudia Maldonado, who went 2-for-3 with two runs and an RBI.

Taking the loss for the Wildcats was Leighan Sudduth, who pitched the first three innings and gave up three hits, striking out five and allowing one earned run. Sudduth also had an RBI.

Stephanie Murray relieved Sudduth in the fourth inning and gave up two hits and struck out two.

Marissa Vasquez recorded the Wildcats' only hit, breaking up Guzman's no-hit bid in the sixth inning.

Said Brawley coach Chris Velasco: "For the last eight games we've been losing by one run. And today we were down 4-0 but came back. So at least these girls aren't giving up. But again, us not being able to hit the ball was what did it."

The loss dropped the Wildcats to 3-8 in the IVL while the Spartans improved to 5-6.

Both teams wrap up the regular season Wednesday, with Brawley hosting Calexico at 3:15 p.m. and Central hosting league-leading Southwest at 4:15 p.m.

"That's another big game for us, another rival of ours. But we go into every game wanting to win no matter who it is," said Montalvo. "To go into that with them being in first, yeah, we want to be spoilers, but we just want to get the win. That's the most important thing."

Southwest 10, Calexico 0,

five innings

CALEXICO — The Southwest High softball team earned a share of the Imperial Valley League championship here Monday with a 10-0 five-inning victory over Calexico.

Monica Lopez picked up the win, giving up only three hits.

Jessica Conway finished with three hits and three RBI for Southwest and teammate Janai Williams had three hits, including a double, and two RBI.

Melissa Lerno and P.J. Enders both had a hit with two RBI and Nikki Cordova recorded a single and a double for the Eagles (9-2).

Linda Mendoza, Martha Ramirez and Eileen Ronquillo had hits for the Bulldogs (1-10). Ronquillo took the pitching loss.

Imperial 2, Palo Verde 1, 10 innings

BLYTHE — The Imperial High softball team concluded its Imperial Valley League season in dramatic fashion, beating Palo Verde 2-1 in 10 innings.

Melanie Medina scored the game-winning run in the 10th on a Stephanie Ortega base hit. Medina led off the 10th with a double to get into scoring position.

Lindsay Lugo picked up the win on the mound for Imperial, which finishes with a 7-5 league record.

Victoria Mazon scored the Tigers' other run on a Samantha Culp hit in the fourth.

After starting the IVL season 2-4, Imperial finished 5-1 the second half of league, with its only loss to league-leading Southwest in extra innings.

"I feel like we're peeking at the right time. Today's win was a total team effort and our girls fought for it," said Tiger coach Kim Witte. "I couldn't have been more proud of our girls. The fans were in our faces, the players were in our faces, but our girls kept their composure.

"I told them that the team that really wanted to win that game was going to be the team that won. And I guess our girls just wanted it more," added Witte.

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