Tyler Takeda/The Madera Tribune
Madera freshman Valerie Ornelas reaches down for congratulations from head coach Judy Shaubach after Ornelas hit her first varsity home run in her fourth at-bat of the season to give Shaubach her 600th career victory in a 12-3 win over Clovis West on Thursday.
The Madera Coyotes softball team opened the 2017 season Thursday defending its back-to-back Div. II Valley Championships with a decisive 12-3 victory over the Clovis West Golden Eagles to give longtime head coach Judy Shaubach her 600th career victory.
The Coyotes won last year’s valley championship on a walk-off inside-the-park home run from Aaliyah Cuevas to defeat Monache. The Coyotes didn’t need those heroics after a 17-hit, 12-run attack to open the season Thursday at Clovis West.
The top three in the Coyotes’ order — Taylor Brooks, Mikayla Ruiz and Cuevas — accounted for nine of the team’s 12 runs, nine hits and three RBIs.
Another highlight was a three-run home run by freshman Valerie Ornelas. She became the first Coyote freshman to hit her first home run in her first varsity game.
Kaylee Dawson was solid in her season debut in the circle. She allowed three runs, two earned in four innings of work. She also drove in a run in the clean-up spot in the batting order.
The Coyotes scored three runs in the first inning. Valerie Ornelas drove in Cuevas for the first run and Tea Layne drove in Dawson and pinch-runner Joslynn Davis for a 3-0 lead.
Clovis West cut the lead by one with a single and a double, but Mikayla Ruiz singled in the second, went to third on a Cuevas bunt and scored on a Dawson single.
Madera scored three more runs in the fourth. Brooks started the rally with a one-out double. Ruiz singled to put runners at second and third. Cuevas doubled off the left field wall to drive in Brooks and Ruiz. Two wild pitches scored Cuevas for a 7-1 lead.
Clovis West scored two runs in the fourth on a single, double, fielder’s choice and a throwing error to cut the lead to 7-3.
Madera kept scoring with four more in the sixth. Brooks and Ruiz reached on singles and Cuevas’ bunt was thrown away to drive in Brooks. Two batters later, Ornelas hit a 2-2 pitch way over the center field fence for a three-run home run and an 11-3 lead.
Madera added another run in the seventh with a Brooks single, a Ruiz fielder’s choice and a Cuevas single down the third base line for a 12-3 lead.
Felicity Rocha earned the save with three innings pitched and got a groundout in the seventh. She walked the next batter, but Haley Perez threw the runner out trying to steal second. Rocha ended the game with a strikeout to give Shaubach her 600th career victory.