VALLEY CENTER —Playing its fourth game in five days in San Diego County, the Imperial High baseball team lost to Valley Center High, 6-0, to end its season.
The loss came in the quarterfinals of the CIF-San Diego Section Division IV double-elimination playoffs tournament here Saturday.
The No. 9 Tigers (15-13, 5-7 IVL) won a play-in game Tuesday, defeating No. 8 Mater Dei, 4-3, before losing Wednesday to top-seeded Santa Fe Christian, 8-0, in Solano Beach.
Friday, Imperial defeated the No. 5 Francis Parker in San Diego, 3-1.
Imperial played the No. 4 Valley Center even for the first three innings behind starting pitcher Michael Levyas, who left the game because he pitched his weekly CIF-mandated limit of 10 innings.
“We knew he could only throw three innings and that we would have to piece it together all that because our other starter (Bryan Garrett) threw a lot of pitches against Parker,” Imperial head coach Stewart Harvey said.
Levyas did not strike out or walk any Jaguars but gave up only one hit and stranded three base runners.
“I was upset that I reached the limit because I was feeling it and I would have told the coaches if I was tired,” said Leyvas, who picked up the win against Mater Dei and a save against Parker. “They were a big team but they didn’t intimidate me ... I knew I had my defense behind me.”
Hector Mellos took the mound next for Imperial. The first two batters he faced doubled and singled to produce the only run Valley Center would need.
The Jaguars went on to score three runs in the fourth inning and two more in the fifth against Mellos while the Imperial offense struggled against Valley Center’s Steven Coe, who threw the complete game shutout.
“Our defense and pitching is our strong point ... we don’t blow anyone away and we don’t get blown away,” said Valley Center head coach Rob Sisler, whose team owned two nonleague victories over the Tigers. “Cole pitches when we need him and he’s always around the plate and he battles.”
Senior Brandon Rodriguez had one of just four of Tigers hits.
“I’m a senior and bat second and another senior David Felix leads off and we tried to start things off good today but it didn’t happen,” Rodriguez said. “We had a chance to get the early lead again but then fatigue set in.”
Harvey, in his first full season as head coach of the Tigers, was pleased with his relatively young team’s progress over the season and march to the quarterfinals.
“Four games in five days, all on the road ... that’s over a thousand miles we’ve covered and I thought that mental and physical fatigue finally set in on us,” Harvey said. “I thought that we represented the Imperial Valley League well and I think we’ll be back playing in late May again next year.”