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Tigers knocked from playoffs 10-3

May 25, 2002|By TIM YANNI, Sports Writer

EL CAJON — The Imperial High baseball team gave it everything it had but came up short in a game that was much closer than the score indicated as it fell 10-3 to Santa Fe Christian of Solana Beach in the CIF San Diego Section Division IV quarterfinal here Saturday.

"It was a great ball game," said Imperial coach William Estes. "That's a top team and we played them tough."

The Tigers ended their season with a 15-12 record (14-10 regular season, 6-6 Imperial Valley League), and Estes said he is proud of his team for pulling off such a good year.

Imperial's Eddie Martinez started at pitcher and gave up nine hits.

Imperial's misfortune came at the hands of some key Eagle plays, including a Brian Wheatland sacrifice fly and a Nick Perretta two-run double that gave Santa Fe Christian a 4-0 lead in the second inning.

The lead was extended to 6-1 in the fourth when Martinez walked Steve Sanchez and David Sanchez with the bases loaded before Andrew Meyer grounded out to end the inning.


Imperial's Julian Lopez nearly made things interesting in the fifth when he hit a fly ball to right field with bases loaded that sailed foul by a few feet.

Lopez said the shot, which would have been a grand slam had it not gone foul, broke his heart.

"When I hit the ball, I thought it was fair," he said. "Baseball is a game of inches."

Imperial failed to get closer than 6-3 after the Eagles scored two runs in each of the last two innings.

"They're a better team," Estes said of Santa Fe Christian. "There's nothing wrong with losing to them."

Estes said he was impressed by the Eagle coaches as well as the team's defense.

"Our kids stayed in the game the whole day," Estes said. "I'm very proud of our kids."

Chris Cabrera, who hit a home run in the third, said he was pleased with the way his team played but was disappointed not to come away with a victory.

"I think we left all we had on the field," Cabrera said. "(Santa Fe Christian) made some good plays."

Lopez said he was thrilled to make it to the quarterfinal in his senior season.

"It brings an end to a dream season," Lopez said. "We wanted to win the game but this loss by no means takes anything away from what we've done."

Brenden Lopez said he had mixed feelings about the game and said it was hard to end his senior season with the loss.

"It's kind of hard," he said. "We battled, played hard and never gave up."

"We had a couple of bad games this year but we bounced back," Lopez said.

Estes said he was grateful to the Imperial fans who made the trip to Grossmont High for the game, pointing out the Tigers had a larger cheering section than the Eagles.

"We have the best fan support," Estes said.

Estes said he is looking forward to next season and is expecting a fun year.

"We're looking at a very good team," Estes said. "We're expecting big things. If nothing else, they're a good group of kids."

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