Benny Munoz/The Madera Tribune
Despite already getting the forceout, Madera South catcher Josh Conigliaro makes sure with a tag on a sliding Nick Aguilar during the sixth inning. The Coyotes came away with a 7-0 victory on Tuesday at Eddie Chapa Field.
Behind clutch pitching from Nate Encinas and six runs in the final two innings, the Madera Coyotes baseball team picked up a 7-0 victory to spoil Madera South’s Senior Night at Eddie Chapa Field.
Encinas picked up the complete game victory. He allowed five hits and struck out eight and didn’t walk a batter.
“Encinas was the key to the game,” Madera head coach Andy Underwood said. “We were almost too comfortable in the dugout. They were a little quiet and I think it was because Nate was so in control of the game. He threw his fastball and curveball for strikes. He threw both pitches where he wanted to. He made big pitches when he had to.”
For the first five innings, Madera and Madera South were battling in a classic pitcher’s dual.
Madera South pitcher Jiovanni Saavedra matched Encinas after allowing a first inning run.
“I was telling my team for any pitcher to know each inning he goes out, he can’t allow any runs,” Madera South head coach Bobby Waits said, “that’s not fair to a pitcher. You start pressing more and more when you go out there. You end up trying to place a ball and you put one belt high and they hit it. It’s not fair to any pitcher when you’re team isn’t scoring to keep putting you in a bind each inning.
“Jio did a great job. Offensively, we weren’t good tonight. We need a couple of good practices and compete more at the plate. We have to generate some good momentum over there in Madera to carry into the playoffs.”
The Coyotes finally broke the game open with five runs in the seventh inning for a 7-0 shutout on Tuesday.
“We weren’t stinging the ball in the beginning of the game,” Underwood said. “They were making a lot of glove-snag plays and picking a lot of balls. Saavedra pitched a great game. He always does. He’s a great competitor. He got a little tired and we exposed them on a few plays. They were out of position at third base and on the mound a couple of times.”
While Encinas limited the Stallions to just five hits, the Coyotes banged out 13, however 10 came in the last two innings.
Madera got to Saavedra before the fans could get comfortable. Caleb Pursell led off the game with a single and came in to score two pitches later on a Christian Chavira double for an early 1-0 lead.
From there, though, Saavedra retired eight in a row and 12 of the next 13 to enter the sixth trailing by one.
Madera South had a chance to tie the game in the bottom of the first. Josh Conigliaro hit a one-out single, then stole second and third. However, a popout and a strikeout ended the threat.
Encinas retired the next 14 of the next 16 batters while not allowing a runner past first base until the seventh inning.
Madera finally got to Saavedra in the sixth. With one out, Nick Martinez doubled to right-center. Pinch-runner Nick Aguilar advanced to third on a single by Isaac Chavira. Adam Medellin drew a walk to load the bases.
Tony Noriega hit a grounder to third, but Madera South’s Manny Nunez threw to Conigliaro at the plate to force out Aguilar for the second out.
However, Brian Hefner lined an 0-2 pitch to left field to drive in pinch-runner Justin Landero to increase the Coyotes’ lead to two.
The Coyotes’ offense was just beginning and it was sparked by two balls that didn’t go more than 30 feet. Shane and Caleb Pursell opened the seventh with perfectly placed drag bunts up the third base line for singles.
“Those are two good bunts right down the third base line,” Waits said. “Unless you have your third baseman way up, you just have to tip your hats to that.”
Christian Chavira followed with a single to left to load the bases.
Martinez hit another single to left, scoring both Pursells with a throwing error sending Chavira to third and Martinez to second. The hit also chased Saavedra from the mound and Nunez came in from third.
Isaac Chavira greeted Nunez with a single to right to drive in Christian Chavira and Martinez for a 6-0 lead.
Isaac Chavira advanced to second on a wild pitch and scored on Adam Medellin’s double to open a 7-0 lead.
Tony Noriega singled to left to put runners at first and third. Hefner flew out to left, but the throw from left field went over Conigliaro’s head. Pinch-runner Mathew Ylarregui tried to score on the overthrow, but was tagged out by pitcher Manny Nunez for the second out of the inning. Nunez got a groundout to first to end the inning.
Nunez led off the seventh inning with a double to left-center. However, Encinas settled down and retired three straight pinch-hitters to end the game for the shutout.