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Holtville boys best Calvin Christian 1-0

May 21, 2002|By RICHARD MONTENEGRO, Sports Editor

HOLTVILLE — Sometimes heroes come in small packages, and Colt Snyder is no exception.

During first-round play in the CIF San Diego Section Division IV playoffs here, the No. 6-seeded Holtville High baseball team fought through windy and dusty conditions and a 0-0 tie going into the bottom of the seventh to beat the Calvin Christian Crusaders of Escondido 1-0 on the big bat of the small sophomore Snyder.

It couldn't have played out any better — with two outs and Holtville's Eric Strahm on third base and James Hawk on second, Crusaders' pitcher Bob Klein intentionally walked Adan Mejia to load the bases and take a crack at Snyder, who going into the seventh had struck out twice looking and was tagged out once after hitting a dribbler to first base.

In one monumental swing, Snyder cracked a pitch into deep left field, just beyond the outstretched hand of Calvin Christian's Brandon Gill, scoring the winning run.


"I'm speechless," said the 16-year-old Snyder after the victory. "I didn't do so well in the first two at-bats. … My coach told me that I was on the spot. It was my chance to come big."

Said Holtville High coach Scott Anderson: "Colt came through big. He's a real streaky hitter. But when he gets on he can hit with anybody."

Anderson said Snyder's slight stature can be deceiving. Although he was less-than-stellar going into the seventh, Anderson said Snyder has hit over .300 this season, and "he's pretty good at planting the ball."

For much of Monday's contest, the Vikings (8-14 overall, 3-9 Imperial Valley League) weren't exactly knocking anybody's socks off with scintillating play. But they got the job done and handled themselves well when their backs were against the wall.

In the first and fifth innings the Crusaders loaded the bases and in the sixth and seventh innings stranded runners in scoring position.

While Viking starting pitcher Edward Castro gave up three walks with only six strikeouts — he had 99 Ks this season — he pitched a tough game in which the wind played havoc on the ball.

Particularly impressive defense by Holtville came in the fifth when Calvin Christian's B.J. Klein, who was on third, showed Viking catcher Billy Huyler little respect by attempting a walk-in steal of home. However, that attempt fell apart and Klein went back to third. Klein got his just desserts seconds later when a hit by Sean Barbosa was snagged by Holtville third baseman Isac Mejia, who threw out the runner at home plate.

Crusader coach Chris Nelson said, "We should have scored. We had plenty of opportunities we squandered."

He added Holtville's "a solid team. But I think fundamentally we were a more solid team."

Nelson blamed the windy conditions on his team's showing.

Offensively, the Vikings couldn't get it going, although the team had a few bright spots. Eric Strahm, who was designated hitter in place of second baseman Ryan Borchard, went 2-for-3 with two singles. Frank Lopez cracked a standup double into right field in the fifth.

Next for the Vikings is a 3:15 game today against No. 2 seed Marian Catholic in San Diego.

Anderson said, "They're an excellent team. They play in a very tough league. We're gonna have our hands full."

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