Tyler Takeda/The Madera Tribune
Madera’s Valerie Ornelas tags out Buchanan’s Avery Lawley during Monday’s 8-3 loss. However, it was ruled Ornelas was in the baseline and Lawley was ruled safe on the play. The Bears took advantage of the call and scored four more runs in the inning.
CLOVIS — After consecutive losses to Div. I Tri-River Athletic Conference teams, the Madera Coyotes closed out the Buchanan Easter Classic with a 6-1 victory over Selma at the Buchanan Softball Complex.
“We are a strong team,” head coach Judy Shaubach said. “We got a good pitching performance and hit the ball well to get on the right track. We won the games we should have won. We ran into teams that were better than us in the tournament. We lost to two very good teams, including one in the finals. Central has a really good pitcher.”
The Coyotes opened the tournament with a 9-0 victory over the TRAC’s Clovis North Broncos. However, they lost 8-3 to the Buchanan-Clovis Bears, who lost to Clovis in the finals of the tournament.
On Tuesday, the Coyotes lost to the TRAC’s Central-Fresno Grizzlies, 6-1, but reversed the outcome with an identical 6-1 win over Selma.
“We have moments of brilliance,” Shaubach said. “Then, we’ll have mental lapses. That’s what we have to eliminate. We are just not understanding what we need to do on defense at that moment. We need to continue to play to our strengths. We let the defense make easy plays. We did a lot better job with two strikes to put the ball in play. We had some big swings against Buchanan. We did a better job against (Central pitcher Gianna) Mancha and made them make the plays. We dialed in against Selma.
The Coyotes will take time off before restarting County/Metro Athletic Conference play on Wednesday against San Joaquin Memorial-Fresno at 3:30 p.m. at Zimmerman Field. The Coyotes will honor Little League softball and any player that comes by 3:15 p.m. will be allowed to take the field with the Coyotes during the national anthem.
“I would like to see my team get more maturity and focus on the next pitch,” Shaubach said. “We still have a little work to do in that. We’ll have a few days of rest to get some players healthy, from physical and from illness.”
Aaliyah Cuevas led the Coyotes’ offense. She batted .571 with five doubles, four RBIs, five runs and four stolen bases. Lead-off batter Taylor Brooks batted .500 with five runs scored and two stolen bases.
Kaylee Dawson and Felicity Rocha picked up complete game victories, but were unable to stymie the Buchanan and Clovis bats.
Central 6, Madera 1
The Coyotes allowed two runs in the first inning to the Central Grizzlies.
However, Dawson allowed just one run over the next five innings before allowing three runs in the seventh to keep the Coyotes in the game.
Madera was limited to just one hit, but managed to put the pressure on the Grizzlies.
Central banged out a single and a double to open the inning and a single up the middle drove in two runs.
Despite getting just one hit, the Coyotes still left two runners in scoring position, including Brooks in the first inning after a walk and a wild pitch.
Dawson had a clean second and fourth inning and stranded the bases loaded in the fifth before allowing three runs in the seventh, a half inning after Madera scored its only run.
Brooks, who reached base in all three at bats, led off with a walk. She went to second on a bunt from Tea Layne. Brooks took third on a passed ball and scored on an error off the bat of Valerie Ornelas.
Central put the game away with five hits in the seventh inning. Dawson was hurt by Madera’s inability to field a bunt for the second game in a row. Rocha came in and got the only batter she faced on a flyout to center.
Madera went down in order in the seventh for the 6-1 loss.
Madera 6, Selma 1
The Coyotes battled back just a half-hour later with a 6-1 victory over the Bears.
Madera banged out 15 hits in the win, but left just six batters on base. The Coyotes had a runner thrown out on base in four consecutive innings.
Eight of the nine starters for the Coyotes got a hit, led by three from Cuevas and Brown.
Rocha tossed a complete game, allowing a unearned run. She scattered six hits and struck out three.
Madera jumped out to the early lead in the top of the sixth inning. Brown led off with a single up the middle. Joslynn Davis sacrificed her to second.
Sofia Perez, on the 11th pitch of the at-bat, hit a ball to the right-centerfield gap. She ended up on third with her first varsity triple while Brown scored. Rocha followed with a fly ball to center to drive in Perez.
Brooks led off the third with a single up the middle, but was forced at second by Layne. Cuevas singled Layne to third. After Cuevas stole second, Ornelas singled to left to drive in Layne, but was tagged out trying to take second on the play.
Brown singled to right to drive in Cuevas for a 4-0 lead.
The Bears answered back in the bottom of the fourth. The lead-off batter reached on an error, but Rocha got the next two batters out. However, an infield single and a mental lapse to cover second on a stolen base allowed Selma’s runner to score.
Madera answered Selma’s run with one of its own in the fifth. With two outs, Ornelas singled. Pinch-runner Camile DeAnda stole second, went to third on Brown’s third single and scored on Davis single to increase Madera’s lead to 5-1.
Cuevas put the final touches on the scoring in the seventh. She doubled to lead off the inning, advanced to third on a groundout and scored on Brown’s flyout to center for the 6-1 lead.
Rocha retired the Bears in order to send the Coyotes off to the rest of their spring break with a victory.