EL CENTRO – On a windy Tuesday evening, the Palo Verde boys’ Varsity baseball team put up seven runs in their last at-bat against Southwest to pull off the five-run come from behind upset and spoil the Eagles’ potential post season, CIF positioning.
After giving up only one hit and no runs in the top of the first, Southwest pitcher Andy Carrillo stepped up to the plate in the bottom half of the inning and blazed a scorcher between third and second base for a first pitch, lead-off single.
Derek Guzman pushed Carrillo over to third base on a floater that found its way into the gap in right center.
With runners on the corners and two away, Israel Zermeno sent a sizzler into right center that yielded a two run RBI double and made the score 2-0 for the Eagles.
Reece Quintero doubled as well, this time over the left fielder’s ball cap, to score one more time before a ground out ended the first inning at 3-0, Southwest.
A pitcher’s duel in the second and third innings showcased a variety of off-speed pitches that baited the batters into fly ball after fly ball.
In the top of the fourth, Palo Verde’s Andrew Todd ripped a flair past a diving short-stop to get on first base, then his teammate Kobe White singled into left field to put to on. With two away, Lance Hull smacked one into left field that rolled all the way to the wall as two Yellow Jackets crossed home plate to make the score 3-2 for the Eagles, midway through the fourth inning.
Palo Verde pitcher MJ Soto carried the energy into the bottom portion of the fourth as he struck out the side to head into the fifth.
With two runners on base, Guzman knocked down a routine bunt, but a fielding error allowed Southwest’s fifth run of the contest to leak in.
Zermeno dropped a splash into shallow left field for another RBI and an Eagle 6-2 lead halfway through the fifth inning.
A walk followed by a hit-batsmen put runners in scoring position for the Yellow Jackets in the bottom of the fifth.
With two on and two away, Palo Verde’s David Smith nailed a stand-up double into the coffin’s corner in left field that batted in two, making it a 6-4 ball game.
In the bottom of the sixth, Southwest put up two more insurance runs for an 8-4 Eagles advantage.
As the night went from crispy to chilly in temps, Palo Verde was three outs away from defeat and the fans began to pack it up.
But the Yellow Jackets’ first two batters reached base for a breath of hope as their JV team cheered them on from the bleachers.
After a switch, a routine double-play ground ball clipped a rock and sailed over the second basemen’s head that scored a run and put runners on the corners. The score favored Southwest, up 8-5.
Kobe White was thrown out at first on a grounder to second, but not before Palo Verde’s next run came in to bring the Yellow Jackets to within two with the tying run at the plate and one out.
Palo Verde’s Chase Schriner hit a grounder to the pitcher who tripped over first base and was unable to execute the out.
Then a strike out settled down the intensity with one out remaining.
Mauro Rivera battled to stay alive for an RBI single that brought the game to within one at 8-7, continuing the rally.
With two outs and the bases loaded, Evan Rice crushed a clutch ripper into center field for a three-run RBI double that put the Yellow Jackets up 10-8.
Soto got a hold of one that dribbled in to shallow center and gave Palo Verde an 11-8 lead to force Southwest’s last at-bat.
Despite a valiant last inning rally, the Eagles’ two runs in the seventh inning were just shy of preventing the home field comeback as the Yellow Jackets’ bench cleared to greet teammates after the 11-10 last stand thriller.