Madera American Little League coach Pete Ramirez gives his son, David, a high-five after David hit the first of his four home runs in a 29-1 victory over Westside on the first day of the Section 7 tournament Wednesday in Lemoore. (Tyler Takeda/The Madera Tribune)
LEMOORE — After wowing the Lemoore crowd with eight home runs, the Madera American Little League 11-12-year-old All-Star team crushed host team Lemoore to advance to the Section 7 championship game today at 11 a.m.
Madera American defeated Westside Little League 29-1 to open the Section 7 tournament Wednesday. Madera American then defeated Lemoore Little League 9-2 on Thursday to advance to today’s championship game.
Madera Amer. 9, Lemoore 2
After cruising to a win the previous night, the Madera American Little League All-Stars were able to save their pitching to use against Lemoore.
They were just as dominant despite allowing two runs. The pitching staff of David Ramirez, Murf Gray and Benji Molina pitched just enough to be available for today’s championship game, but long enough to dominate Lemoore. The three allowed just one hit, one run, one unearned run.
Ramirez struck out six in two and 2/3 innings. Gray struck out five in his 2 1/2 innings. Molina was hurt by two errors and allowed an unearned run. However, he struck out two, including the final out.
Offensively, Isaiah Monge got in on the long ball parade with a solo shot in the fifth to lead Madera American.
After Lemoore got the lead in the first inning on a solo home run to center, Madera American quickly tied the score in the bottom of he third. Ramirez led off the inning with a single, went to second on a groundout, to third on a passed ball and scored on an error.
Madera American took the lead in the third. Jojo Cosio led off with a single to left, Gray walked and Molina put down a sacrifice bunt. Monge and Ramirez each drove in a run for a 3-1 lead. Bryan Malagon singled home Ramirez, went to second on a passed ball and scored on an error for a 5-1 lead.
Madera American added a run in the fourth. Diego Flowers led off with a walk, went to second on a passed ball and scored when Gray reached on an error on a fly ball to right.
Madera put the game away in the fifth with three more runs. Monge led off the inning with an opposite-field home run to right. Ramirez followed with a single and stole second. He scored on Malagon’s single up the middle. Malagon came in to score on Adam Landero’s single for the 9-2 victory.
Madera Amer. 29, Westside-Taft 1
After the first inning Madera American found itself trailing 1-0 after a first inning home run off ace David Ramirez.
However, all the home run did was light a fire under Ramirez and he basically said, “take this,” and put on a show. By the time the night was through, Ramirez found himself on the bench after hitting four home runs and driving in 13 runs in a 29-1 rout over Westside Little League out of Taft in the first game of the Section 7 tournament.
Ramirez wasn’t alone in the long ball show. Murf Gray hit two home runs and non-starters Sajian Salas and Brian Malagon each hit home runs in which Madera American scored 10 runs in the second and 19 runs in the third inning Wednesday evening.
Ramirez, who tossed every inning but two during Madera American’s District 10 championship run, allowed Taft’s lone hits and run in the game, but struck out the side.
After Madera American jumped out to a 10-1 lead after the second, Madera American manager Mike Molina turned to his well-rested bullpen, giving an inning each to eventual winning pitcher Murf Gray (three strikeouts), Benji Molina (two strikeouts) and Salas (two strikeouts) in the four-inning mercy-rule game.
Every batter for Madera American had at least one hit in the 26-hit attack. Every player, but one scored at least one run while Taft committed eight errors.
Gray, Jojo Cosio and Kalei Kajitani each had three hits while Cosio, Gray, Jaime and Kajitani scored three runs. Ramirez and Isaiah Monge each scored four runs.
Madera American loaded the bases with two outs in the first, but couldn’t get the run across.
Meanwhile, Ramirez left an off-speed pitch up in the zone and Westside’s second batter lined it over the centerfield fence for a solo home run. Ramirez allowed a single to the next batter, but struck out the next two to get out of the inning.
From there, the Madera American pitching staff didn’t allow a hit and only three base runners over the next three innings with no runner passing second.
Meanwhile, the Madera American offense got going after a slow start. Adam Landero started the inning with a single to left. Kajitani singled to left and both runners advanced on an error.
Brian Monges put down a bunt and beat the tag from the pitcher to reach base while Landero scored the game-tying run. Kajitani came in to score on an errant throw to third trying to pick her off. Cosio reached on an error as Monges came in to score.
Gray hit the second pitch he saw over the centerfield fence for a two-run home run and a 5-1 lead.
Molina started the next rally with a single. Monge followed with another single. Ramirez drove them both in with a no-doubt homer to center to open the lead to 8-1.
Diego Flowers singled after Ramirez’s homer. After a strikeout, Kajitani singled to left. Monges grounded out, but Flowers scored on the play. Cosio singled to left to drive in Kajitani. Gray followed with a double to center, but Cosio was thrown out at the plate to end a 10-run inning.
Madera American sent 23 batters to the plate in the third inning while scoring 19 runs on 14 hits.
Molina started the high-scoring inning by getting hit by a pitch. Monge walked and Ramirez cleared the bases with his second three-run home run of the inning.
After a groundout, Salas singled up the middle and went to second on an error. Salas advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on Kajitani’s grounder to short.
Malagon forced Kajitani at second for the second out. Cosio singled up the middle and Gray cleared the bases with his second homer of the night, a no-doubter to left-center.
Molina started the rally again by getting hit by a pitch. Monge singled to left and, again, Ramirez cleared the bases with his third three-run home run of the evening, this time over the left field fence.
Shohn Varela started another rally with a single up the middle and Salas hit a two-run homer over the right-field fence. After Kajitani singled, Malagon hit a two-run shot to left to open the lead to 24-1.
Cosio singled, Gray was hit by a pitch, and Molina singled to load the bases. Monge reached on an error to drive in Cosio. Again, Ramirez came up and, again, Ramirez cleared the bases with his third home run of the inning, a grand slam — a low liner down the left field line — for a 29-1 lead. Ramirez drove in 10 runs in the third inning alone.