Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera South pitcher Caleb Bertoncini throws a pitch during Friday’s 6-2 victory over Edison. Bertoncini picked up a complete game victory to help the Stallions win the season series over the Tigers.
The Madera South Stallions baseball team has had some struggles through the County/Metro Athletic Conference.
Madera South lost five of its first six games in the CMAC — although the margin of victory was a combined nine runs — before winning its past two games.
The Stallions (3-5 CMAC) have won by a combined four runs in their three victories with every game, but one not decided by the last at bat — until Friday when they defeated Edison-Fresno for the first time in regulation, 6-2.
“I told them we’re a great offensive team and we’re starting to get hot with the bats,” head coach Bobby Waits said on Friday. “Two days ago, we won in extra innings and had a bunch of hits. Today, the impressive thing was all six runs were scored with two outs and nobody on. That just shows it doesn’t matter. If we keep having quality at bats, good things will happen. It did tonight.”
The Stallions built up a 6-2 lead and pitcher Caleb Bertoncini retired 10 batters in a row from the fourth through seventh inning to keep Edison at bay. He got the final out on his 108th pitch with a complete game. He struck out six and allowed two runs, one earned.
“I reminded him the No. 1 thing was to not overthrow,” Waits said. “He throws good enough and stay within himself. He regrouped. He’s a competitor and doesn’t want to come out of the game. I told him in the sixth he was done. He said no, let met get a guy on before you get me out. He looked good in the last inning. I was letting him have one more batter after he walked one in the seventh.”
The Stallions scored three runs in the first, one in the third and four in the fourth to answer Edison, all with two outs.
“As difficult as it was with those difficult losses, it’s making us stronger,” Waits said. “We’re not going to panic in situations because we’ve already experienced these tough games where we’ve come up short. It’s just making us better ball players. We’re capable of doing great things.”
The Stallions backed Bertoncini in the bottom of the first inning, but not before a double play started a two-out rally.
Bertoncini singled up the middle and Juan Carlos Gonzales singled to left. Manny Nunez reached on an error and Bertoncini scored while Gonzales took third.
Alonzo Tovar then hit a 2-2 pitch to the left-centerfield gap for a two-run triple and a 3-0 Madera South lead.
Bertoncini ran into his troubles through the first four innings, allowing a baserunner in each inning. After he got the first two outs in the third, a double, single and a pick-off throwing error allowed Edison to cut Madera South’s lead to 3-1.
The Stallions answered in the bottom of the inning. Gonzales was hit by a pitch on a 3-0 count. Manny Nunez singled up the middle to put runners at first and second.
Tovar singled over the shortstop’s head to drive in pinch-runner Jiovanni Saavedra for a 4-1 lead. Jeremy Flores followed with a bunt single to load the bases, but a groundout ended the threat.
Edison answered Madera South’s run with one in the fourth. A walk and two singles drove in a run while a sacrifice put runners at second and third with one out. Bertoncini got a strikeout and a groundout to Angelo Feliu at second to end the threat.
The Stallions answered back with two runs in the fourth inning. Josh Conigliaro started the two-out rally with a single to left. Bertoncini doubled down the left field line to put runners at second and third.
Gonzales hit a high chopper up the middle that went over the shortstop’s glove for a single to drive in Conigliaro and Bertondini for the 6-2 lead.
Meanwhile, Bertoncini was finding his groove. After getting through the fourth allowing just one run, he retired the Tigers in order in the fifth and sixth innings with three strikeouts.
He got a grounder to Oscar Reyes at short to open the seventh and a grounder to Gonzales at first. However, Bertoncini was stepped while getting the throw from Gonzales. He waved off Waits, who wanted to check on his pitcher.
He walked the next batter on five pitches. However, Bertoncini got a grounder to Reyes, who fed to Feliu at second, to end the game with the win.
The Stallion face a two-game set with Sanger this week. They played at Sanger on Tuesday and will host the Apaches on Friday at 6:30 p.m. The teams split in their first two contests this season.