Brawley faces Holtville in title match

June 25, 2002|By ERIC GALVAN, Sports Writer

SEELEY — Heading into its elimination game against Imperial Little League Reds in the District 22 inter-city major league tournament at Sunbeam Lake near here Monday, there were only two things on the minds of the Brawley players: revenge and redemption.

All the Brawley Padres needed to do was beat the Imperial Reds and the team would have its shot at avenging its only loss in the tournament, to Holtville.

With that as motivation, the Padres ripped through the Reds 7-1 to advance to the championship game where they will take on Holtville on Wednesday.

"We knew we had to win this game. If we didn't win, we were out of the tournament. But we also wanted another shot at Holtville," said Brawley pitcher Josh Steimel, whose team lost 8-7 to Holtville on Saturday. "I think knowing that we'd be able to play them again was motivation for us. When we played them last time it really wasn't our best game, but now we're ready for them."


Despite one bad inning, Imperial posed a serious threat to Brawley's plans of revenge.

Through four innings the teams were knotted at 1-1. But a five-run fifth inning by the Padres broke the game open.

"We were tied and it was pretty close, but I had a feeling that our team would do something. I was just waiting for our boys to bust out like that," said Brawley coach Tom Brittain. "In that fifth inning we just got the right guys on and our bats got going."

Anthony Brittain and Justin Tamayo scored the first two runs of the fifth on an error to up the lead to 3-1. Robby Rubio, Chris Nuñez and Nick Velasco all crossed the plate in the fifth to make the score 6-1.

Steimel then mowed down the Reds, allowing only one hit in the last two innings. Steimel finished the game with only two hits allowed and struck out eight.

"Our defense was making plays, we were hitting the ball and I was doing what I could pitching," said Steimel. "This is the kind of game we have to play against Holtville. I really think that how we played tonight will carry over to the next game."

The loss eliminates the Reds and gives the team a 3-2 record in the tournament. Both losses came at the hands of Brawley, having lost 8-1 in the first round of the tournament Wednesday.

"Even though we lost, I was still proud of the kids for getting this far. I think they just ran out of gas after playing all these games," said Reds coach Mark Buesch. "But Brawley did the things they needed to do and we just came up short. I mean, you can't win a game when you only score one run.

"Looking at that championship, I expect Brawley to give Holtville a pretty good game," added Buesch.

Brawley battles Holtville at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday on field No. 1 at Sunbeam. Because the tournament is double-elimination and Holtville is undefeated, should Brawley win Wednesday's game a second match will be at 7:30 p.m. Thursday on field No. 1.

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