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Wildcats knock off Bulldogs

May 17, 2002|By ERIC GALVAN

Sports Writer

CALEXICO — After securing a share of the Imperial Valley League championship Tuesday, all the Brawley Union High baseball team had to do was beat Calexico High here Thursday to clinch the league title outright.

Standing in Brawley's way was a Calexico team that handed the Wildcats one of its two league losses earlier this year, a fine pitcher in J.P. Gonzalez and a Bulldog team with nothing to lose and intent on playing spoiler.

It wasn't easy, but a determined Brawley team looking to enter the CIF San Diego Section playoffs on a winning note got past Calexico 3-1 to finish as sole possessor of the IVL crown with a 10-2 record.

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"Today our guys were very loose. We had our biggest battle on Tuesday (against Central Union High) and today was really about getting the win and getting some guys some work," said Brawley coach Pedro Carranza. "Going into the playoffs we had some pitchers we wanted to get some extra innings just in case we should happen to need them."

Brawley pitcher Javier Calles was scheduled to get the start but Carranza wanted to ready Dominic Aguirre as a possible No. 3 starter in the playoffs, so he handed him the pill as the starter. Calles and David Santana also got in some extra pitching innings for Brawley on Thursday.

The three only gave up three hits and had a no-hitter going into the sixth inning. They didn't get the no-no, but they did get the win.

"This was sort of like revenge for us because they did beat us last time. But I think more than anything we just wanted to prove to everyone that we were the best in the Valley," said Santana, who notched the save in throwing two innings, striking out three and allowing an earned run. "Right now there's no other team better than us in the Valley. We have the best talent and best ability and we proved that we're No. 1."

Making things tough on Brawley was Gonzalez, who scattered seven hits, struck out four and gave up one earned run in seven innings.

Leading the Wildcat offense was Lafayette Lofton, who reached base three times, had a double, an RBI and recorded a run in the third inning.

Said Carranza: "I really don't think this game was as big as people made it out to be because we came in confident and that really did make a big difference."

The Bulldogs finish 6-6 in the IVL after going 11-1 in league last year and winning the IVL championship.

"We knew it was going to be a tough year, but our guys played really well," said Calexico coach Alex Flores. "At the beginning of the season we thought if we finished 6-6, that would be a good year for us. That's what we were shooting for from the start. So all in all, it was a great year for us."

Central 17, Southwest 4

Putting together one of its best offensive outings of the year, the Central Union High baseball team wrapped up the regular season with a 17-4 hammering of cross-town rival Southwest in El Centro on Thursday.

The game went the full seven innings despite the lopsided score as both coaches decided at the beginning of the contest to play out the game.

Central had 17 hits, led by Enrique Lechuga, who went 4-for-5 with three runs and two RBI. Javier Vasquez was 3-for-5 with four runs, Mario Gastelum had three hits with three RBI and Danny Vela was 3-for-5 with an RBI. Jeff Lehton had two hits with an RBI for the Spartans, who finish in second place in league with a 9-3 record.

Dan Gonzalez recorded the win on the mound, throwing four innings before being relieved by Kevin Betz, who pitched two innings. Lechuga pitched an inning for Central.

Bryan Martinez took the loss for Southwest (3-9 IVL).

Jack Fleming led the Eagle offense going 2-for-3. Ricky Lopez, Joey Clayton, Alex Caldera and Ernie Silva each recorded RBIs for Southwest.

Holtville 1, Palo Verde 0

HOLTVILLE — Holtville High's Edward Castro fell one strikeout short of 100 total for the season as he struck out nine in Holtville's 1-0 Imperial Valley League victory over Palo Verde here Thursday.

Castro picked up the win, allowing only four hits and walking one. He also was 3-for-3 with the team's only run.

Eric Strahm drove in Castro with a single in the fourth for Holtville (3-9 IVL).

Castro finished the regular season with 99 Ks in 77 innings.

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