GIRLS' SOFTBALL: Brawley shuts Imperial down, 7-0
Brawley Union High's Jazmine Jones (right) slides at the plate during the third inning of an Imperial Valley League game against, while catcher Andrea Sotelo (center) makes the tag in Brawley on Friday evening. Brawley went on to win, 7-0. (STEVEN ESPERANZA PHOTO / March 23, 2013)
Brawley junior Bree Rogers, who was the Wildcats’ backup hurler last season, threw the two-hit shutout, striking out just one Tiger and walking three.
“I didn’t get a lot of playing time last year but I learned from (teammate Justine Gonzalez’) experiences,” Rodgers said. “I was nervous but I knew we could do it, I knew we have a good team and could push through it.”
After struggling early in the season with her control, Rogers has bought into first-year head coach Jeff Wise’s philosophy.
“Bree understands her role now and was been bearing down and did a good job of hitting her spots and letting her defense do the work,” said Wise, who for the past five seasons has been assistant head coach.
Anchoring the defense was Brawley freshman third baseman Alisha Diaz, who had five put-outs and four assists.
“I was expecting a lot of changes because they are a good hitting team and I know when Bree pitches they are going to hit the ball,” Diaz said.
In addition to her defense, Wise felt that Diaz, his lead-off hitter, set the tone for the game in her first at-bat.
“She had a ten-pitch at-bat before popping out and she set the tone that we were here to battle,” Wise said.
After Diaz’s out, Wildcat Cassi Mendoza singled, the first of three hits for her in the game.
Hannah Rodriguez then walked, Jo Karla Jimenez and Samantha Lima each got on-base on fielders’ choices, loading the bases for junior Klarissa Garcia, who doubled to give Brawley a 3-0 lead.
“I was nervous but I knew I could put the ball in play and I liked the pitch and it felt solid coming off my bat,” Garcia said.
Two Imperial errors and a passed ball allowed Diaz to score in the second inning. Jimenez was hit by a pitch in the fourth and scored on Jazmine Jones singled her home.
“I think we didn’t show how we can play… we didn’t really show up tonight,” Imperial coach Andrea Horton said. “But it’s a long season and I hope we learn from this.”
In the fifth inning, Rodriguez singled and scored on a sacrifice fly by Lima and Diaz singled and scored in the sixth.
Brawley (5-4-1, 2-0 IVL) and Imperial (8-5, 2-1 IVL) will play in the Hilltop High Tournament on Saturday, then both teams head for the Charger Invitational tournament in Las Vegas, beginning on Monday.