Lady Tigers stave off Southwest Eagles in 2-0 softball win, remain top-ranked

Sophomore sensation Anahi Grijalva releases a fastball Friday night at home against Southwest.

IMPERIAL — The Lady Tigers staved off a hot Eagles softball unit in a 2-0 defensive showcase to remain IVL’s top ranked team, ending Southwest’s three game win streak in Imperial Friday evening.

Both pitchers got off to a hot start by shutting down the opposing batters in the first inning.

By the bottom of the second, Imperial’s bats began to find the ball. Natalia Anquiano blazed a bouncer up the gap to reach first on the lead off appearance. Then a sacrifice bunt by Angela Salcedo advanced Anquiano into scoring position.

Mikayli De Leon followed with an RBI double into center field that scored the first run of the game.

Next, Alexis Retana stepped up and dropped a bloop into shallow left field. During the proceeding at-bat, Retana was caught stealing second base, but managed to distract the infielders enough to allow de Leon to steal home and give the Tigers a 2-0 lead at the end of the second inning.

In the top of the third inning, Anahi Grijalva unleashed a fast ball that the Eagle hitters could not catch up to as she mowed down three straight strike outs.

After a routine fly-ball, Southwest gave up two hits followed by an error that loaded the bases and situated Imperial into another privileged opportunity.

Disciplined pitch placement and sure handed fielding by the Eagles resulted in a fly-out and ground-out that alleviated the bases-loaded jam.

The top of the fourth inning consisted of another array of fire-balls by Grijalva that snapped the padding of the catcher’s mitt en route to fanning another three consecutive hitters on three more strikeouts.

In a game where runs were hard to come by, the defenses began to buckle down and tighten up to prevent situational scoring opportunities.

As the score remained 2-0 for the Lady Tigers, Southwest began its final batting opportunity in the top of the seventh inning with a promising lead-off walk.

With one on, one out, and the tying run at the plate, Southwest hit into a fly-out-throw-out double play that ended the game and its chance at four-in-a-row with the final score of 2-0 for Imperial.

Southwest falls to fourth place at 4-5 and will play a final home game Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. versus Central.

The Lady Tigers bump their league record to 8-1, but a 7-1 Brawley Wildcat squad is just a stride away from striking distance in conference. With only three games left in the season, Imperial travels to face Brawley Tuesday night at 6:30 p.m. for a game that may decide the IVL League champion.