IMPERIAL — The Calexico Bulldogs traveled to McCarty Field to play the Imperial Tigers in a highly defensive baseball match Tuesday night, eventually losing the conference game to Imperial, 1-0.
It was a game of patience and skill as both teams remained scoreless in the first two innings. Imperial ended the streak by scoring in the third inning.
As the game entered the fourth inning with a score of 1-0, Imperial’s catcher started his team’s defensive drive in the fourth inning by a great catch of a Bulldog’s hit that went backwards. Calexico shook off the out when the next Bulldog stepped up to the plate. He hit into the left infield, but Imperial’s third base player, Lambert Soto (#15), captured the missive for an out. The Tigers’ pitcher, Diego Mellos (#12), delivered un-hittable pitches for the rest of the inning, keeping any Bulldogs from scoring.
The fifth inning began with Imperial’s George Chavarria (#14) at bat. He hit a ball far into the right outfield, although a Calexico defender quickly ran towards it to cover the hit. The defender ended up missing the ball and Chavarria’s drive turned into a double.
He continued stealing bases as Calexico’s defense seemed off-guard, and stole third base with ease. Chavarria moved to steal home, but once Calexico’s pitcher caught on, he quickly threw Chavarria out at third. The call led the referee and the Imperial coach engaged in a heated discussion about the call.
The Imperial offense continued with Aaron Bonillas (#10) at bat, who was walked to first. Stealing second and third base, his slides gave him the needed edge. Imperial’s Chris Lopez (#1) was walked to first, then stole second.
Teammate Manuel Rojas (#2) also was walked to first base, leading to bases loaded for Imperial. Kade Macias (#17) looked to bring his teammates home, but could not capitalize on the plan due to Calexico’s hot pitching.
The Tigers started the sixth inning on defense. Imperial’s pitcher Diego Mellos (#12) once again showed his dominance by completely striking out Calexico’s at-bat. However the next up for Calexico delivered a powerful hit to the right outfield, but was denied ground as an Imperial outfielder caught it. Calexico then hit a line drive to the far right of the field and put men at second and third. Imperial’s pitcher Diego Mellos (#12) shut the play down by striking out Calexico’s last at bat.
Calexico’s defense answered back by striking out Imperial’s first two batters. Imperial’s Christian Zamudio (#17) showed some scoring potential with a hard hit to the middle outfield, although it was quickly caught by Calexico’s defense.
Calexico brought some life back into their offense at the start of the seventh inning by hitting a line drive double far down the left side of the field. Imperial walked the next batter, followed by a single. This loaded the bases and gave Calexico a solid chance at winning the game.
The pressure was on Calexico to play well to bring home the runners. However, the drive down the middle was caught, ending Calexico’s chance to overtake the Tigers.
The game ended with the Imperial Tigers winning Tuesday’s home conference game against Calexico by a score of 1-0.