Tyler Takeda/The Madera Tribune
Madera’s Brian Hefner hits an RBI double to break a tie in the bottom of the sixth inning on Wednesday during a 5-2 win over Hanford West.
FRESNO — The Madera Coyotes baseball team seemed to have everything working for them after finishing the first round of the County/Metro Athletic Conference with an undefeated record.
Fast forward two weeks and the Coyotes were mired in a five-game losing streak after getting swept by Sanger last week and losing the first three games of this week’s Fresno Easter Classic.
However, the Coyotes used a three-run sixth inning to put away the Hanford West Huskies 5-2 to close the Easter Classic on Wednesday at Clovis West high School.
“It’s obviously nice to stop the slide,” head coach Andy Underwood said. “It’s the longest one I’ve been a part of since I’ve been here. We didn’t play great. We bunted guys over well, we worked some walks and got guys in position to score to push over a couple of runs.”
Isaac Chavira led the offense with a pair of hits and scored a run. The lower part of the Coyote batting order (5-9) accounted for five of the six hits and all five runs.
Nick Martinez tossed a complete game for the victory. His offense helped Martinez overcome a shaky sixth inning. Martinez finished with three strikeouts and no walks while scattering six hits.
“Nick pitched well enough to win,” Underwood said. “He didn’t have his best stuff. His breaking ball wasn’t super sharp, and his fast ball was a little flat. He competed enough, got the ball in the zone enough and did enough things right to win.”
The win will help give the Coyotes momentum heading back into CMAC play against Bullard. The Coyotes will re-christen Mel Parker Field on Friday against Bullard-Fresno at 3:30 p.m.
The Coyotes put a runner on base in every inning except the fifth. Madera finally got on the scoreboard in the fourth.
With one out, Adam Medellin drew a walk. Chavira singled pinch-runner Justin Landero to second. Tony Noriega singled to left to drive in Landero and move Chavira to second.
Kristian Gomez forced pinch-runner Jerry Hernandez at third. Anthony Velasquez drew a walk to load the bases. Shane Pursell drew a full count walk to force in Noriega for a 2-0 lead.
Hanford West put the pressure on Martinez when they were able to put runners on base. However, Martinez silenced the Huskies’ bats with 1-2-3 innings in the first, fifth and all-important seventh innings.
Martinez stranded a runner at third in the second, a runner at second in the third and another runner at third in the fourth.
The Huskies got to Martinez in the sixth with a double and single scored a run. A hit batter put runners at first and second, but Martinez picked off the runner at first, which was huge because the next Huskies batter doubled to right to drive in another run.
Martinez settled down to get two flyouts to Pursell in center to end the inning and close the game retiring five batters in a row.
However, the Coyotes had an answer. Chavira led off by reaching on an error. Noriega sacrificed him to second. Kristian Gomez was hit by a pitch.
Brian Hefner hit an 0-1 pitch to the right-centerfield gap to drive in Chavira with the go-ahead run.
Pursell reached on a bunt single to load the bases. Caleb Pursell was hit by a pitch to force in Gomez and Christian Chavira drew a walk to force in Hefner for a 5-2 lead that Martinez held in the top of the seventh for the win.
“That’s big to be able to come back when they answer back,” Underwood said. “To have a response for that is big, especially late in the game. It’s something we’ve been lacking in this tournament is being able to come back and respond when we were down.”