Wildcats go down against Dons 5-1

May 21, 2002|By TOM RONCO, Special to this newspaper

BRAWLEY — Battling a lineup of six left-handed hitters when the wind was blowing strongly to right field and with a crafty left-handed pitcher on the mound, the Brawley Union High School baseball team fell to visiting University of San Diego High School 5-1 in an opening round CIF San Diego Section Division III game here Monday.

"We got an outstanding pitching job from our starting pitcher and key hits early in the game," said Dons coach Gary Remiker, whose team was 14-3 overall.

"Good pitching stops good hitting every time," said Wildcat coach Pedro Carranza.

USDHS' Ryan Kowalski opened the game hitting a wind-blown fly ball and ended up on second base.

"We didn't know what to expect. We thought it would be hotter," said Remiker. "I've been to the desert before and knew to expect some wind."

Brawley pitcher Brandon Burnett retired the next two batters before Ryan Werdein singled in Kowalski to put the Dons up 1-0.


In the bottom of the first against left-handed sophomore Drew Gennuso, Carranza saw his team reach base once — on an error.

Don Seth Cooley singled to lead off the second inning. He was sacrificed to second and scored on a single, increasing USDHS' lead to 2-0.

Kowalski tripled off the right-field fence to drive in another run and scored himself to give the Dons a 4-0 lead.

In the bottom of the second, Brawley again got a base-runner via an error but failed to capitalize.

When Burnett threw two balls to Dave Kachorek to open the top of the third, he was replaced by fellow senior Javier Calles.

"Brandon had a blister on his finger but it was worse than we thought so I had to get him out," said Carranza.

"I was ready because I knew I had to help the team and it was just a matter of when," said Calles, who surrendered a hit but no runs to finish the inning.

With one out in the third, Brawley's Mitchell Ruiz walked. A ground ball forced Ruiz out at second before a pop-up ended the inning.

Gennuso took a no-hitter into the bottom of the fourth but the Wildcats threatened with one out when Lafayette Lofton was hit by a pitch. Pinch-runner Alex Estrada moved to second on a wild pitch before Andy Buckner walked.

The Wildcat threat ended quickly as Werdein picked Buckner off first before Joel Aguirre flied out.

David Santana came in to pitch for Brawley in the fifth and didn't surrender a run in three innings.

"All lefties are tough," said Carranza. "We had problems with theirs and they had problems when we brought in David."

Matt Smith opened the bottom of the fifth with a walk and moved to second on a passed ball. Pinch hitter Jose Escutia became Gennuso's third strike-out victim.

With Ruiz at bat, Werdein attempted to pick off Smith at second base but the throw went into center field, allowing Smith to reach home and cut the score to 5-1.

"I saw the catcher throw and didn't think it was on the bag," said Smith. "I saw the center fielder coming up after it got by me and I thought the play would be at third base but coach just kept waving me home."

Calles opened the Brawley sixth with a clean single up the middle to break up Gennuso's bid for a no-hitter.

"Before we went to bat that inning, coach told us that he had a no-hitter," said Calles. "I didn't want us to end the season that way so I just tried to hit the ball and get something started."

After Santana retired the side in the seventh and with one out, the Wildcats tried to rally as Ruiz blooped a single to right field and Dominic Aguirre lined a base hit to right to put runners on first and second. Still, the Wildcats failed to score.

"We had a tough, long season with lots of ups and downs, and I thought that we were peaking recently until today," said Carranza of his Wildcats, 14-11 overall, 10-2 in the Imperial Valley League as league champs.

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