Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Liberty’s Colton Cardoza (15) congratulates Jacob Brauer after Brauer scored in the first inning of Friday’s quarterfinal victory over Rosamond.
The Liberty Hawks baseball team knew it was in for a battle with the Rosamond Road Runners in the quarterfinals of the Div. V baseball playoffs.
However, they didn’t expect the 12th seeded Road Runners to score five runs in the first two innings to take a momentary lead. However, the fourth-seeded Hawks took advantage of seven walks in the first three innings by the Rosamond starting pitcher for a 10-7 victory at Liberty.
“I call that a lackadaisical team win,” head coach Kevin Rosenwinkel said. “We came out a little lazy today. We didn’t have the greatest approaches at the plate. We didn’t make the pitcher work. We adjusted later in the game to get the lead back. It was not the prettiest win in the world.”
The Hawks scored in five of the six innings and closed the game with two runs in the sixth for a four-run lead. Liberty plays top-seed Central Valley Christian today in Visalia for a chance to play in the Valley Championship game Friday, also in Visalia, at Rawhide Stadium.
“A win is a win,” Rosenwinkel said. “From a coach’s standpoint, I’m going to look to how I can make my team better for the next game. We have to play better than that. We’re going to figure out something to get these guys where they need to be.”
Although the Hawks were outhit 9-6, the pitching of winner Nathaneal Samarin, Emilio Cabrera and Brixton Gomes did enough for Liberty.
Chris Estrada led the Hawks with two hits and three runs scored.
Rosamond got to Samarin for three runs in the first inning. Samarin hit two batters and both scored on two doubles.
Liberty bounced back in the first inning without the benefit of a hit. Eli Gonzalez and Jacob Brauer each drew a walk and advanced on a passed ball. Gonzalez scored on a Moon groundout and Brauer scored when the Rosamond pitcher threw wild trying to pick him off at third.
With two outs in the top of the second, Rosamond started a rally. A walk, stolen base and an error allowed the Road Runners to score a run. Another error, stolen base and single drove in second run for a 5-2 lead.
Liberty came back to tie the game in the second, again, without a hit. With one out, Estrada was hit by a pitch. Wyatt Harpain’s fly ball to left was dropped for an error. A wild pitch moved the runners 90 feet and a walk loaded the bases.
Rosamond was hit with a balk to score Estrada and Harpain scored on a passed ball. Gonzalez reached on a dropped third strike and Moon drew another walk to load the bases. Samarin drew the third walk of the inning to force in Hill with the tying run.
Samarin struck out the side in the third, all looking to set up the Hawks for the bottom of the fifth inning.
Torres reached on an error and Estrada got Liberty’s first hit of the game with a single up the middle, which scored Torres from second. After a popout, Hill reached on an error and Brauer drew a two-out walk to load the bases. Moon drew another walk to drive in Estrada for a 7-5 lead.
Rosamond added a run in the fourth after a single and double.
Liberty had two runners in scoring position in the fourth, but couldn’t get a run across.
The Hawks added a run in the fifth. Brauer was hit by a pitch, advanced to third on an error and came in to score on a fielder’s choice to open an 8-6 lead.
Cabrera allowed two hits in his two innings, but tossed two shutout innings.
The Hawks added two more runs in the sixth. Estrada led off with a single. He came in to score on Hill’s triple to right-centerfield.
After a strikeout, Brauer beat out a chopper up the middle to drive in Hill for a 10-7 lead.
Gomes hit the first batter he faced in the seventh and he came around to score. However, Gomes settled down and struck out the final two batters of the game to send the Hawks to the semifinals.