By Mario Renteria
2:38 AM EDT, May 10, 2013
BLYTHE — The Calexico High softball team made school history by winning its first Imperial Valley League title after beating Palo Verde Valley High, 7-6, in a marathon league game that went 14 innings here Thursday.
That, coupled with Southwest beating Imperial, 7-2, Thursday night, gives the Bulldogs sole possession of the league title in the final game of the league season.
“It’s unbelievable; I’m sorry, but I’m at a loss for words,” said an elated Calexico head coach Alex Flores after the game. “We played probably the worst league game we’ve played all season long — I think we had seven errors — but somehow, some way this team finds a way to come back.”
Comeback is an understatement. The game started at 4 p.m. and in just 45 minutes, was already into the sixth inning with no score. It then took 2 hours and 15 minutes to play eight innings.
The Yellowjackets took a 2-0 lead at the bottom of the sixth.
At the top of the seventh, having to score at least two runs to keep the game going, the Bulldogs answered. Junior right fielder Alani Ayala came through with a three-run home run that scored sisters Sandra and Monica Rosiles to take a 3-2 lead. It was also Ayala’s first home run of the season.
“It was the best feeing ever,” an emotional Ayala said of her home run. “It was my first home run and it felt so good.”
The Yellowjackets took no time to answer, with a first-pitch home run by their lead batter in the bottom of the seventh to tie it 3-3.
After two deadlocked innings, the Bulldogs took a 6-3 lead in the top of the 10th inning. Dani Jimenez hit a single that scored Marty Sanchez, Sandra Rosiles hit a single that scored Jimenez and Monica Rosiles hit a double that scored Alyssa Reyna for the 6-3 lead.
The Yellowjackets again answered with three runs to tie it 6-6.
It was in the bottom of the 12th that Calexico avoided the loss with a play at home plate. With a Yellowjackets runner barreling to home plate, Calexico’s catcher Sandra Rosiles took the throw from Jimenez from second base, stood her ground and tagged out the runner to avoid the game-winning run.
It was in the top of the 14th inning that Calexico took the lead with a solo home run by lead-batter Jimenez.
“It felt great, I felt excited,” Jimenez said of her go-ahead home run.
The exciting game ended in the same fashion, with an acrobatic defensive play by Calexico.
With one out in the bottom of the 14th inning and a runner on first base, short stop Reyna made a diving line-drive catch, then from one knee, threw to first for the double play and the end of the game.
“I’m speechless, whatever this team gets, they’ve earned it,” Flores said. “We knew we had something special but we never knew we were going to be here right now.
For the Bulldogs, Kasey Cazares was a workhorse, pitching 13 innings for the win. She gave up four earned runs, eight hits, two walks, two hit-batters and struck out eight. At the plate for Calexico, Ayala went 2-for-6 with two singles and the three-run home run. Jimenez went 4-for-6 with three singles and a home run.
The Bulldogs end the regular season 21-5 overall and 10-2 in IVL. With the league title, Calexico automatically advances into the CIF-San Diego Section Division I playoffs - another school-history first for the school’s softball program. The Bulldogs have a chance to host in the first round of the playoffs, depending on the final seedings that will be made today in San Diego.