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Holtville High School senior Erik Garcia lays down a bunt in the first inning of the Vikings’ 11-4 first-round victory over San Diego High in the CIF-San Diego Section Division IV playoffs in Holtville on Tuesday, June 8. | CATHI PHILLIPS LARIOS PHOTO

BASEBALL: Holtville Advances to Double-Elimination Bracket

HOLTVILLE — The Holtville High School baseball team moved into the CIF-San Diego Section Division IV double-elimination playoff tournament with an 11-4 victory over San Diego High here on Tuesday, June 8.

The Vikings were forced to play the one-game, play-in contest after getting the fifth seed in the 12-team bracket. With the win, the Vikings now hit the road to face fourth-seeded Mission Bay at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 9, where a loss won’t eliminate either team.

Holtville High School senior Norbert Irungaray makes the stretch at first base to get a San Diego High baserunner out during the Vikings’ 11-4 win in the first round of the CIF-San Diego Section Division IV playoffs in Holtville on Tuesday, June 8. | CATHI PHILLIPS LARIOS PHOTO

Holtville (13-9 overall, 8-6 in Imperial Valley League) jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead in the first inning thanks to a leadoff double from junior Donovan Johnston, an RBI single from junior J.R. Garewal, and an RBI single from freshman John Chambers.

The Vikings increased the lead to 7-0 with three in the second inning with senior Norbert Irungaray delivering the big RBI single. The lead grew to 8-0 with a run in the third and two more in the fourth inning made it 10-0 Vikings.

San Diego plated three runs in the top of the fifth but the Cavers weren’t able to get big hits in any of the final five innings as they stranded 13 runners in the final five innings, including leaving the bases loaded in three of the last four innings.

Sophomore Raul Sierra started for Holtville and pitched four innings, allowing three runs on three hits with eight strikeouts and two walks. Senior Arturo Lazos pitched the final three innings and struck out five.

Offensively, Johnston finished with two hits and two runs scored as did senior Erik Garcia. Irungaray had three hits and scored a run and Garewal had a hit and walked three times, scoring three runs.

Holtville struggled down the stretch of the IVL campaign, losing three of its last four games, dropping two to Southwest before beating Central 10-6 and then dropping the season finale to the Spartans 6-3.

The loss to Central in the final game of the season might have cost the Vikings an automatic berth in the double-elimination tournament, but it also might have gotten the Spartans into the play-in round. Central entered as the 11th-seed in the play-in round and was knocked out of the playoffs with a 9-0 loss to Maranatha Christian High of San Diego on Tuesday, June 8.