Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera’s Isaac Chavira watches the second of his three hits fall during Tuesday’s loss to Sanger.
The Madera Coyotes baseball team rolled through the first five games of the County/Metro Athletic Conference unscathed.
However, in the game of the series round, the Coyotes couldn’t get enough offense in a 1-0 loss to Sanger on Tuesday in their final game at their alternate home site, Eddie Chapa Field.
Nikayha Castro suffered the loss on the mound. He gave up the lone run on five hits with four strikeouts over 5 1/3 innings. Nate Encinas allowed one hit over 1 2/3 innings.
“That was Nikayha’s best start since Tulare Western at the beginning of the year,” head coach Andy Underwood said. “He competed; he’s made some adjustments from his last start. Encinas did what he usually does, came in and pitched really well. We pitched well enough to win the game. You have to score to win.”
The Coyotes only managed six hits against Sanger starter Andrew Mendoza, who picked up the complete game shutout. Isaac Chavira led the Coyotes with three hits.
“We really played an okay game today,” Underwood said. “Sanger’s intensity was high. Their pitcher hasn’t given up a run this year. What made him good was he competed, threw everything for a strike and wanted to win.”
Both teams had chances to score in the first few innings with the Coyotes threatening in the last three innings.
Madera only had three baserunners through the first four innings. Meanwhile, Castro allowed three hits through the first four and didn’t have a clean inning.
Finally, the Apaches got on the scoreboard in the fifth. A one-out double started the rally. A stolen base and a single by the No. 9 batter drove in the eventual game-winning run.
Madera had a chance to answer in the bottom of the inning. Shane Pursell led off with a bunt single. After a flyout, Isaac Chavira singled to left to move Pursell to third.
On the next pitch, Justin Landero stole second. The Sanger catcher threw to third instead and caught Pursell napping. Although Pursell looked to have slid under the tag, he was called out for the second out of the inning.
“It wasn’t the call, it was the baserunning,” Underwood said. “It was a terrible baserunning mistake we made. We, realistically, had two opportunities to score in the game. We wanted to have second and third with one out. Our runner at first fell for the pump fake.”
Encinas got out of a first and second with one out jam in the top of the sixth with a groundout and a flyout.
The Coyotes threatened again in the sixth. With one out, Christian Chavira doubled to right-center. Adam Medellin hit a sharp single to right and Chavira was held at third to put runners at the corner with one out.
Two pitches later, Martinez, who hit the walk-off single to beat Madera four days before, hit a grounder to third to start a 5-4-3 double play to end Madera’s threat.
“It’s a 2-0 breaking ball,” Underwood said. “It’s not ideal, but it was a hanger. He got himself jammed. He just has to get the barrel of the bat on the ball and hit it foul, if anything. I wasn’t going to squeeze him.”
Madera got a baserunner in the bottom of the seventh with Isaac Chavira’s third single of the night, but he was left stranded on a flyout to right to end the game.