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Imperial boys win 3-1

May 24, 2002|By TIM YANNI, Sports Writer

IMPERIAL — The Imperial High baseball team used impressive defense and pitching to overcome an early deficit and top Mountain Empire 3-1 in playoff action here Thursday.

The Tigers (14-10 overall, 6-6 in Imperial Valley League) earned a spot in the CIF San Diego Section Division IV quarterfinal round of the double-elimination tournament.

Chris Cabrera, who pitched the complete game for Imperial, gave up five hits and struck out six Redhawks to take the win for the Tigers on his 17th birthday.

"I had confidence behind me," Cabrera said. "We were pumped up for this game."

The Redhawks took a 1-0 advantage in the first inning when Andrew Tucker scored on a Travis McCleary single but from the second inning on the game belonged to the Tigers.


Imperial took the lead in the third inning when Erik Ramirez scored on a Cabrera double and Cabrera scored on a Redhawk fielding error for a one-run advantage.

In the fourth, Cabrera retired the Redhawks in order and Aaron Hartsock opened the bottom of the inning with a home run to get the final score.

"Mountain Empire impressed me with their defense," said Imperial coach William Estes. "They did a great job."

Estes said he was impressed with the poise that Cabrera demonstrated and with the Tigers' defense.

"Dillon Foster did a great job behind the plate calling pitches," Estes said, adding Cabrera stepped up his game when needed and improved to 3-0 this season.

Estes said his team didn't feel any anxiety despite facing elimination. Imperial was downed 10-3 by Santa Fe Christian on Tuesday.

Estes said the coaches were able to motivate the nine Tiger seniors by reminding them this was their last home game.

Imperial will next face Santa Fe Christian at 11 a.m. Saturday at a neutral site of Grossmont High School in El Cajon.

Estes said his team is ready for the next level.

"We should be all right," Estes said. "We feel pretty confident."

Estes plans to start No. 2 pitcher Eddie Martinez on Saturday, adding he's confident with that decision.

"He could be throwing in the seventh game of the World Series and it wouldn't faze him," Estes said of Martinez.

"I've just got to give my best out there," Martinez said. "We've come a long way and hopefully we can continue."

Martinez said the three key ingredients of pitching, hitting and defense is going to determine the outcome of the next game but hitting is where he thinks the most focus should be placed.

"I really think our hitting is going to be key," Martinez said.

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