The Madera South Stallions softball team used a pair of quality pitching performances to open its Stallions Showdown softball tournament with two wins.
The Stallions got a four-hitter from freshman Taylor Valerio in a 7-1 victory over Firebaugh to open the tournament. A.J. Martinez scattered five hits and drove in the only run in a 1-0 victory against Buhach Colony-Atwater in the second game Wednesday.
“We wanted to get these two wins because of the Buchanan tournament,” head coach Peter Gallegos said. “We said we need to be better than that. We have to play our game the way we know how to play it with enthusiasm and motivation. Those girls showed up today.”
The Stallions continue pool play today at 11:30 p.m. against Golden West-Visalia and at 1:30 p.m. against Mendota.
Madera South 7, Firebaugh 1
The Stallions outhit Firebaugh 10-4 and scored six runs in the final three innings for the victory.
Savaanah Garcia led Madera South with three hits and two runs scored. Martinez also had two hits and scored two runs.
Valerio scattered four hits and struck out two to pick up the victory.
The Stallions opened the scoring in the third inning. Garcia reached on a one-out bunt single. She stole second and scored on Jessie Maciel’s single to left for a 1-0 lead.
Madera South added three runs with the bottom half of its order. Martinez led off the inning with a single up the middle. Nakenna Nevarez drew a walk and Kaylee Nevarez put down a bunt to move Martinez to third and send pinch-runner Daniela Espinoza to second.
Aleecia Rosel flied out to deep center to drive in Martinez while Espinoza advanced to third. Esmeralda Moreno came in as a pinch hitter and hit a 1-2 pitch down the left field line for a run scoring double. Garcia followed with a single to right to drive in Moreno for a 4-0 lead.
Meanwhile, Firebaugh cut the lead by one with a two-out walk and an RBI double.
The Stallions added two runs in the fifth with a Maciel double and a Martinez single. Maciel came in to score on a wild pitch. After a walk to Nevarez, Rosel doubled home Martinez for a 6-1 lead.
Garcia started a rally in the sixth with a lead-off walk. She stole second and scored on Alyssa Tirado’s double to left-enter.
Valerio closed the game by retiring the final six batters in order for the 7-1 victory.
Madera South 1, Buhach Colony 0
Martinez led the Stallions against Buhach Colony with her right arm and her bat. She struck out three batters and scattered five hits in a complete game shutout. She also drove in the game-winning run in the fourth inning.
“A.J. has been pitching really well,” Gallegos said. “She’s focused and determined and that’s why she’s our workhorse. Once she’s on point, the team is on point. She is our hardest worker.”
Both Martinez and Thunder pitcher Tatianna Anderson were dealing zeroes until the fourth inning. It was Martinez’s defense that set up the bottom of the inning.
With one out, Buhach Colony’s Selena Sandoval tripled to right-centerfield. Martinez got a strikeout to the cleanup batter and forced a pop back to her to end the inning.
“We talked about not being afraid,” Gallegos said. “It’s like getting socked in the mouth. We have to stand up, take it and come back with it. We can’t get down on ourselves. It’s about Stallion attitude where we know we can play with anybody.”
Maciel started the scoring rally with a single up the middle. She went to second on a wild pitch. After a groundout didn’t move Maciel, Martinez doubled to the left-centerfield gap to drive in Maciel for the go-ahead run.
However, Buhach had another prime opportunity in the top of the fifth. A lead-off single followed by a sacrifice and another single put runners at first and third with one out.
With a suicide squeeze in play, Martinez threw a drop ball that the batter, who squared to bunt, missed. Catcher Makenna Nevarez threw out the runner coming in from third for the second out of the inning.
Martinez then got the next batter to pop out to Garcia to end the threat. Martinez closed out the game by retiring the final six batters in order to preserve the 1-0 victory.