EL CENTRO – The Central Spartans hosted the Southwest Eagles Tuesday night for the Battle of El Centro when the Eagles staged a comeback late in the game to defeat the Spartans 8-7.
The game remained scoreless until the Eagles struck first with two runs in the second inning with hits by Dorian Meneses (#17), Douglas Miranda (#12), and Andy Carrillo (#13) to close out the inning.
The Eagles held the Spartans on defense, and the score stayed at 2-0 until the top of the third inning, when the Eagles advanced one run across the plate to make the score 3-0.
The Spartans found their first runs in the bottom of the fourth. Leading off the inning, Raymond Ortiz (#2) hit a line drive to left for a single. Ortiz took extra bases on the next play when Southwest’s pitcher Ethan Ross (#22) tried a pick off a move to first with a bad throw, giving Ortiz time to make it to third base. With Ortiz in scoring position, Ricky Guzman (#45) stepped up to the plate for a hard-hit grounder that shot through the second base gap for an RBI single, with Ortiz coming around on the play.
Up next, Elias Dominguez attempted a bunt that got popped up to shallow short-stop for an RBI single by Guzman. The score was 3-2 to close out the inning.
In the top of the fifth inning, the Eagles put up two more runs to bring the lead back to three with a 5-2 score. The Spartans answered back with four runs of their own and took the lead for the first time of the game, with a score of 6-5.
With Southwest down by one, they stepped back to the plate in the top of the seventh for one final chance to grab back the lead. Derek Guzman (#31) led off and came up with a grounder to second for a single on an errant throw to first. Junior Romero (#2) followed up with a line drive to left field for a single, and then to load the bases, Douglas Miranda (#12) connected, sending the ball to shallow left-field.
With a chance to tie the game, the Eagles’ Reece Quintero (#30) swung away for a short ball to the pitcher, but Central made the play at home and tagged Guzman out at home on the force play.
Making up for the heartbreak, the Eagles’ Meneses connected with the ball for a hard-fly to the left field fence bringing in three runs for the inning, making the score 8-6 for Southwest.
Starting off the bottom of the seventh, the Spartans’ Luis Flores (#14) led off with a walk. Up next, Ortiz did his job with a sacrifice bunt for an out, but the play advanced Flores to second. Next in the batter’s box, Anthony Loya (#15) hit a line drive to deep left field, giving Flores the time to come in for an RBI. The Spartans’ run would end with back to back strike outs, to end the game with an 8-7 victory for the Southwest Eagles.