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Major league tourney under way

June 20, 2002|By TIM YANNI, Sports Writer

SEELEY — The Brawley Little League Padres used a six-run second inning to take a lead it would not give up en route to an 8-1 win over the Imperial Little League Reds in the opening round of the District 22 inter-city major league tournament at Sunbeam Lake on Wednesday.

"I have a good bunch of boys," said Brawley coach Tom Brittain. "They played good defense."

Brittain said he was pleased to see his team win and added it always feels better to remain in the winners' bracket of the double-elimination tournament.

"We've got good pitching and good hitting and that usually wins games for you," Brittain said. "The first game is always a big relief."

Josh Steimel put Brawley on the board with an RBI triple in the top of the second and Jesse Rosales followed with his own two-run triple.

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Three more runs scored when Anthony Brittain hit a two-run single and Steimel racked another RBI single.

Russel Havens scored Imperial's only run in the bottom of the fourth when he hit a home run.

"Imperial has a good squad," Tom Brittain said. "I expect to see them again."

Brittain said the productive second inning helped his team's confidence.

"We started playing Padre baseball," Brittain said.

Brittain added he expects big things from his team during the tournament, noting the team's overall 16-3 record.

"We're expecting to go all the way," he said. "I told the boys everything else is just icing on the cake."

Imperial coach Mario Gomez said the Reds are not discouraged by the defeat.

"We're going to try our best," Gomez said.

Reds manager Mark Buesch said the team will still make a mark in the tournament.

"We'll just give it another shot tomorrow," Buesch said. "We just picked a bad night to play our worst game of the season."

In other action, Calexico topped Seaview by forfeit after an injury to the pitcher in the fourth inning caused the game to be called. Seaview only had nine players and couldn't continue the game.

In the final game of the opening round, Holtville Little League Brave Travis Wilcox threw 15 strikeouts and hit a two-run homer in the fifth inning to lead his squad to a 4-3 win over the El Centro Little League Brewers.

"We had the offense at the right time and the defense at the right time," said Holtville coach Mark Allegranza. "(Wilcox's) home run fired up the team."

Allegranza said it's always a relief to advance on the winning side of a tournament.

"When you're a loser, you've always got that feeling that this is do or die," Allegranza said.

Braves manager Mike Wilcox said he was happy to see his team do well, adding he was worried it would come out flat after having nearly a month off between games.

"Coming out and getting the first one is very exciting," Mike Wilcox said. He added his team needs some work on defense if they plan on advancing in the tournament.

In the winners' bracket, Calexico will take on Brawley at 7:30 tonight on field No. 1 at Sunbeam while Holtville will play Sunbeam at 7:30 tonight on field No. 3. In the losers' bracket, Imperial will go up against Seaview at 5:30 tonight on field No. 3. El Centro will play at 7:30 p.m. Friday against the loser of the Calexico-Brawley contest.

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