Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera’s Anthony Velasquez gets the Coyotes on the scoreboard with a pinch-hit two-run double during Tuesday’s victory.
Keyed by a three run fourth inning and a two-run answer in the fifth, the Madera Coyotes baseball team held off the Edison-Fresno Tigers for a crucial win at Mel Parker Field.
After both teams went scoreless for the first three innings, the teams combined for nine runs in the next two innings before the Coyotes pulled out a 5-4 victory.
“It showed we had life, we were still fighting and competing,” head coach Andy Underwood said. “That’s something we haven’t done for the last three weeks, fighting for seven innings. That was a great sign for our club against their guy on the mound. It showed we cared and were still interested in playing baseball.”
Nate Encinas tossed a strong five innings before giving way to Nikayha Castro. Encinas picked up the win and Castro got the save.
After starting 5-0 to open the County/Metro Athletic Conference schedule, the Coyotes lost seven of their next eight, including four straight in the CMAC. However, the Coyotes have won two of their last three with another game against Edison on Friday and a pair against Madera South next week.
“I hope this win helps us,” Underwood said. “It was definitely a crucial win for us as far as my standards to get into the playoffs, where I want our team to be. I was thinking earlier today maybe this game will take us to eight in a row to the Valley Championship. This is the first step in the process. That’s how we have to take it and do it the correct way.”
After goose eggs for the first three innings, and two outs in the bottom of the fourth, Madera freshman Kristian Gomez started a rally with a single. Shane Pursell followed with a walk.
Anthony Velasquez then came about five feet short of his second home run of the season with a pinch-hit double off the centerfield wall. Gomez and Pursell both came in to score.
Caleb Pursell followed with a bunt while Edison’s pitcher threw past the first baseman. Velasquez came in to score for a 3-0 lead. Christian Chavira almost gave the Coyotes another run, but his sinking liner to right was met with a diving catch to end the inning.
Edison wouldn’t back down without a fight. With one out, an infield single opened the rally. After Encinas got a flyout to right, he left a pitch up in the zone and Edison’s Connor Beshwate sent the pitch over the left-centerfield fence for a two-run home run and cut Madera’s lead to one.
Madera answered in the bottom of the fifth when Nick Martinez led off the inning with a single. After a flyout, Tony Noriega drew a walk to put runners at first and second. An errant pick-off throw sent pinch-runner Nick Aguilar to third and Noriega to second.
Adam Medellin was intentionally walked to load the bases to set up Gomez.
Gomez singled to right to drive in Aguilar and Noriega for a 5-2 Madera lead.
Pinch-runner Brian Hefner and Gomez executed a double steal to put runners at second and third, but the next two batters struck out to end the inning.
Edison came back in the top of the sixth with a bunt single and a single to put two on and chase Encinas.
Edison put down a bunt to Castro, who tried to get the lead runner at third. His throw was late and Edison loaded the bases.
Castro struck out the next batter, but allowed a single to right to drive in a run. An error on the play allowed the Tigers to score another run. A sacrifice bunt moved the tying run to third.
Edison tried to score on a wild pitch, but Isaac Chavira’s toss to Castro was in time to tag out the incoming runner to end the inning.
After the Coyotes went down without scoring in the bottom of the sixth, the Tigers had a chance to tie the score in the seventh.
After Castro got a flyout to center, the next batter reached on an infield single. A groundout to Martinez at first moved the tying run into scoring position.
Castro then got a ground ball to Noriega at short to end the game with the one-run victory.