Imperial wins

Calexico going to minor final

June 14, 2002|By ERIC GALVAN, Sports Writer

SEELEY — Down 4-1 after five and a half innings, the Imperial Little League Padres stared elimination in the face.

Looking at a three-run deficit with one out, Imperial scored four runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to pull out a 5-4 victory over the El Centro Little League Orioles in the District 22 inter-city minor league tournament here Thursday.

Tied 4-4 in the sixth, Imperial's Michael Antuñez stood on third base, representing the game-winning run, something he did not realize.

"I didn't even know I was the game-winning run. When I was on base my friend told me," said Antuñez. "So when I found out, I just kept thinking to myself that I was going to score that run. So when I scored, it was just really exciting."


Picking up the win on the mound was Alexis Rios, who threw one inning.

Getting Imperial through the first five frames and limiting El Centro to only four runs was Austin Ortega. He struck out seven in the non-decision.

"I kind of felt a little pressure out there when we were down," said Ortega. "But even though we were down, I didn't have any doubts that we'd be able to win this.

"It's really exciting to win this game, especially the way we did by coming back," said Ortega. "Now we just have to look forward to playing the next team."

Imperial will be play the Brawley White Sox in the final match of the losers' bracket at 7:30 tonight on field No. 1 at Sunbeam Lake.

El Centro's loss was particularly heatbreaking for the squad and its coach as it marks the second loss and elimination from the tournament.

"We gave it all we had. There was just a couple of hits here and there, and we made a couple of mistakes," said Oriole coach Albert Zavala. "But Imperial's a heck of a team. They didn't give up and played a pretty good game."

Leading Zavala's El Centro squad were Matt Mendivel, who had two triples, Marcelo Lopez with an infield home run and Nate Adams, who took the loss but gave up only four hits and struck out six.

Daniella Fimbres scored twice for the Padres.

In the night's other contest, the Calexico Indians cruised past the Brawley White Sox in the winners' bracket 12-4.

For the Indians, undefeated in the tournament with a 3-0 record, the win was the first game in which they've given up any runs after beating El Centro and Seaview by a combined 27-0.

"Our kids were very confident coming into this game. We have a good group of experienced players, who kind of lead the way for the rest of the team," said Calexico coach Gonzalo Roldan. "It just seemed that everything was working for us. We made some moves defensively that worked perfect for us and our offense kept producing."

Leading the Indian offense were Trevor Robinson, who had three hits and three runs, Esau Madrigal with two hits, a triple and two runs and Jerry Roldan, who had two hits and three runs. Emiliano Martinez recorded a triple and scored twice for Calexico.

Notching the win was Omar Neblina, who held Brawley to just three hits and struck out 11.

"At the beginning of the game I wasn't really nervous, but when they started catching up, I started getting a little nervous," said Neblina. "But now that we've won, it's just really exciting."

Calexico will face the winner of the Imperial-Brawley game in the championship match at 7:30 p.m. Monday on field No. 1 at Sunbeam. If Calexico wins, it is the champion. However, because the tournament is double-elimination, if the team from the losers' bracket wins there will be a second game to determine the champ at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday on field No. 1.

Brawley coach Oscar Suarez thinks his team can bounce back against Imperial for another shot at the Indians.

"I know we can rebound from this. This was a tough game for us. We had the two top teams in the tournament going at it. Both of us were undefeated and we both had good pitching," said Suarez. "You never like to lose, but it's not over for us yet.

"Our kids showed heart tonight. Unfortunately our hitting just wasn't there," said Suarez. "Hopefully we'll be able to play this team again."

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