BASEBALL: Tigers rebound against Yellowjackets
Imperial High's Mickey Lopez connects a hit against Palo Verde High during a game on Tuesday in Imperial. (.Fernando Acosta Jr. Photo.Tuesday, May 07, 2013 . / May 8, 2013)
The win kept the Tigers in the Imperial Valley League title hunt, pushing them to a 13-7 overall record and an 8-2 league mark — good enough to be tied with the Brawley Wildcats in first place.
“It was a good way to bounce back from our loss Friday,” winning pitcher Bryan Garrett said. “People were smart on the bases today and everyone was getting a lot of hits.
“I felt like I was hitting my spots a lot more today, too,” the 6’2” junior added.
Garrett’s self-referential words belied a stellar performance against the Palo Verde Yellowjackets, as he struck out no less than 16 batters in seven full innings.
Palo Verde’s three runs — all of which came in the fourth inning — were all due to infield errors, highlighting Garrett’s accomplishment for the night.
“Bryan held his ground on the mound,” Imperial coach Stewart Harvey said. “He definitely took command of the game.
“We played the small ball and we put the pressure on them, and I think that was huge for us tonight.”
Also taking command of aspects of the game was senior leadoff hitter Andrew Sotelo, who got on base all four times.
He had a huge double and triple balancing out being hit by pitches two different times.
It was Sotelo who provided both first and last scores of the game, as he was the first to home plate in the first inning due to a wild pitch, and his double in the fifth inning scored the final two Tiger runs.
“I felt confident today because I’ve just been working on my swing and listening to my coaches teach me not to do too much at the plate,” Sotelo said.
“It was a great win, especially after losing two out of three games,” he said. “It was a well-needed win.”
Imperial lost to Calexico High two weeks ago, followed by a win at Central Union High before last Friday’s loss to Brawley.
Those losses inched the Tigers down from IVL frontrunner to being tied for first with Brawley, which has a 7-2 league record after Tuesday’s 9-6 win against rival Central.
Calexico’s 9-2 win against Southwest High, also on Tuesday, gave the Bulldogs a 7-3 IVL record, which certainly keeps the southernmost school in the hunt for the league title.
“It’s going to go down to the wire,” Harvey said.
Imperial will take a break from IVL action to play at San Diego High on Saturday night, followed by hosting Santana High on Monday.
The Tigers will finish their league play by hosting Holtville High next Tuesday and then playing at Southwest that Thursday.
Meanwhile, Palo Verde (9-18, 1-9) will play at Holtville this Friday night before finishing the season at Calexico the following Thursday afternoon.