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Brawley Little League wins, forces Game 2

June 27, 2002|By ERIC GALVAN, Sports Writer
  • Brawley Little League Padres Chris Nuez (right) is caught in a run-down by Holtville Braves catcher Travis Wilcox during their major league inter-city championship game at Sunbeam Lake on Thursday. Nuez was tagged out. KEVIN MARTY PHOTO

SUNBEAM LAKE — There was nothing that could stop the Brawley Little League Padres from earning a shot at the District 22 inter-city major league championship here Wednesday.

Not the undefeated Holtville Braves and not a 25-minute delay due to the protest of an illegal substitution by the Padres.

After beating the protest, the Padres beat the Braves 8-2 to force a final championship game to be played at 7:30 p.m. Friday on field No. 1. Because the tourney is double-elimination, the Braves have to lose twice before the Padres can claim the title.

"We really wanted to win this game. We didn't want to come in second place. We want to win it all," said Brawley pitcher Justin Tamayo, who notched a complete game, striking out seven and allowing three hits. "I think we were gonna win no matter what. We just wanted this game."

Already up 7-2 after five innings, Holtville protested an illegal substitution by Brawley in the bottom of the fifth. With the alleged infraction, official rules stipulate the game should have been forfeited. However, after nearly a half hour deliberation, the sides decided the game would not be forfeited.


Instead, Brawley manager Tom Brittain and the player, Erik Villalobos, were both removed from the game. Villalobos will be allowed to play in Friday's game but Brittain is barred.

"Either way, they were a better team than us tonight, with that player in or not," said Holtville manager Mike Wilcox. "I don't think we brought our A game tonight. When we beat them last time, they were saying that they just had a bad day. So I'm gonna say the same thing. We just had a bad day."

The Braves dealt the Padres a loss earlier in the tournament, winning 8-7.

Wednesday's contest was a lot different as Brawley dominated from the start, scoring three runs in the first inning and tacking on three more in the top of the third.

Down 6-0 after two and a half, Holtville scored its only two runs of the game in the bottom of the third.

Leading the Padre offense were Josh Steimel, who went 2-for-3 with an RBI double in the first, and Tamayo, who went 3-for-3 with a triple and two runs.

"We came out tonight and showed them how we're capable of playing baseball. The last time we played, we just didn't play our game," said Brawley coach Paul Steimel. "The way we played tonight, this is the kind of game we're accustomed to playing.

"In a game like this, where it's do or die, there's always pressure on you. But tonight we proved to ourselves that we can play good against anybody," said Steimel. "All year everyone on this team has contributed and have played great as a team. And tonight, that's exactly what we did."

Added Wilcox: "In order for us to be competitive, we have to play at a top level. What happened tonight is over. We have to put it behind us and start looking at (Friday's) game."

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