Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera’s Tea Layne places the tag on a Monache runner for a pick off in the sixth inning of Tuesday’s Div. II semifinal loss.
PORTERVILLE — For the first time in three years, there will be a new champion in the Div. II softball playoffs after back-to-back champions Madera was ousted from the playoffs by the Monache-Porterville Marauders in the semifinals.
The fourth-seeded Coyotes were held to just two hits by Monache ace Chloe Rivas while the top-seeded Marauder bats scored two runs in the first and added four more in the fifth for a 7-4 victory in Porterville on Tuesday. The Marauders exacted a measure of revenge after Madera defeated Monache in last year’s Div. II championship game.
“It took a little while to get into the game,” head coach Judy Shaubach said. “I can’t say enough how we came back and competed. I think we just had two bad innings.”
Valerie Ornelas drove in two of Madera’s four runs with a two-run double during a four-run sixth inning despite taking time out of the box to cough while playing ill. The hit came after seniors Tea Layne reached on an error and Aaliyah Cuevas drew a walk in their final Coyote at bats.
“Our two seniors had some quality team at bats,” Shaubach said. “They gave up swinging at balls to get on base. Valerie had a controlled at bat. She had a bad at bat earlier. She cut her swing down, put her head on the ball and drove that ball.”
The Coyotes made some mental mistakes they shouldn’t be making at this time of the year like missing a cutoff man, letting a ball split the gap, botching a planned first-and-third double steal and walking batters.
“At this time of the year, you can’t make those mistakes,” Shaubach said. “But, those are the players that got us here. They’ve been playing consistent all year long. We gave us some extra bases when we shouldn’t have and left some balls hanging when we shouldn’t have.”
Kaylee Dawson suffered the loss, tossing 4 2/3 innings. She allowed seven runs, all earned and walked three batters. Felicity Rocha got the Coyotes out of the fifth, but ran into trouble in the sixth. Junior varsity pitcher Miranda Solis came in and got out of the jam without a run.
“It was nice to see Felicity come in and get out of the inning,” Shaubach said. “It was good to see our junior varsity pitcher, who has seen success, come in and throw really well.”
The Coyotes didn’t get off to the best of starts. Dawson walked the first batter she faced on four pitches. Despite a forceout, Monache hit a run-scoring triple and a run-scoring single to take a 2-0 lead.
Dawson seemed to find her groove. She retired the next seven batters in order before running into trouble in the fourth.
She allowed two singles to open the inning. The next batter put down a bunt, but Coyote third baseman Neveah Montes charged it and threw to Gennahlyn Sanchez at third for the force. However, Sanchez tried to get the runner going to first and allowed Monache to put a runner on third, anyway.
Dawson got a popout for the second out, but she allowed a single up the middle to drive in a run. Monache tried to add a second run, but centerfielder Taylor Brooks threw the runner out at the plate to end the inning.
The Marauders added to their lead in the fifth with a two-out, nobody on rally. A single, walk and hit by pitch loaded the bases. A double to right-center cleared the bases and the batter advanced to third.
Rocha came in with a 2-1 count to the next batter and walked her. The Marauders took advantage of Madera’s hesitation to pull off a double-steal for another run and a 7-0 lead before Rocha struck out the next batter to end the inning.
Sofia Perez looked a four straight balls to open the sixth and end Rivas’ perfect game bid. Pinch-runner Brooke Gill was forced at second on Felicity Rocha’s bunt.
After a strikeout, Brooks singled to left field to put runners at first and second. Layne followed by reaching on a throwing error. The throw went into right field and pinch-runner Mikayla Arrieta and Brooks came in to score for a 7-2 lead.
Cuevas drew a full-count walk to put runners at second and third. On another full count, Ornelas hit a ball to deep right-center for a double to drive in Layne and Cuevas to cut the lead to three.
However, Rivas closed the game by retiring the final four Coyotes in order to end Madera’s championship run.