Weny Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera’s Tommy Molina, center, greets Cole Brincefield (2) with Isaac Chavira, left, after Brincefield hit a solo home run in a 4-1 win over Hanford West.
In an effort to beat an impending storm, the Madera Coyotes baseball team closed the two-week long Coca-Cola Classic with a split at Mel Parker Field.
The Coyotes defeated the Hanford West Huskies on Tuesday in a game moved from Hanford to Mel Parker Field because of Monday’s storm. Brian Hefner picked up the win with five innings of work. He struck out seven and allowed one run on three hits. Brixton Gomes tossed two innings for the save and struck out three for a 4-1 win.
“Hefner has been a really good surprise for us,” head coach Andy Underwood said. “He hasn’t thrown for us the previous three years. He started throwing in the fall and, all of the sudden, his ball has come alive. He’s kind of the good X-factor that has stepped up. He’s a strikeout guy, he’s hard to hit, he’s kind of funky, he crosses over, and he has a lot of good things going for him. He’s tough and imposing on the mound with his size. We stretched him out as far as he could go and we brought in Brixton. That was the biggest play of the game. He got their best hitter to roll into a double play ball. He was excited.”
In a game moved from Thursday to Wednesday, the Clovis West Golden Eagles made a first inning run stand up against Nikayha Castro, who held Clovis West scoreless after the first inning of a 1-0 loss.
Madera 4, Hanford West 1
The Coyotes scored a second inning run, but Hanford West tied the game in the fourth. Madera followed with a three-run fifth for the 4-1 win.
Madera clean-up hitter Cole Brincefield hit an opposite solo home run to right-centerfield to lead off the second inning for an early 1-0 lead.
Meanwhile, Hefner allowed just three baserunners over the first three innings.
The Huskies tied the score in the fourth with a pair of singles. A wild pitch allowed the tying run to score.
Hefner settled down and struck out four batters in a row before walking the lead off batter in the sixth.
Madera answered in the top of the fifth inning. Tony Noriega led off with an infield single. A groundout moved him to second. Shane Purcell reached on an error while Noriega advanced to third. After Purcell stole second, Noriega scored on a wild pitch to Christian Chavira while Purcell advanced to third.
Chavira, who went 4-for-4, singled to right-centerfield to drive in Purcell. He advanced to second on a wild pitch and scored on Brincefield’s ground-rule double to right field to open a 4-1 lead.
“We had the good bounce-back inning to answer back,” Underwood said. “There were some guys at the plate who had great days. As a group, we struggled to be patient and do too much.”
Hefner walked the lead off batter in the sixth and Gomes came in relief. He got Hanford West’s No. 3 batter to hit into a 6-4-3 (Noriega-Kristian Gomez-Hefner) double play. Gomes then got a fly ball to left field to get out of the inning.
Gomes struck out the side in the seventh for the a-inning save.
Clovis West 1, Madera 0
The Golden Eagles scored a run in the first inning, but four Coyotes pitchers kept the Golden Eagles off the scoreboard the rest of the way.
However, the Coyotes only managed two hits in the shutout. Clovis West reliever Dusty Schramm struck out seven batters in 2 2/3 innings for the save.
With one out in the first, Clovis West got a single and a double to drive in the only run of the game.
Castro settled down after that. He allowed three baserunners (two walks and an error) over his final 4 1/3 innings of work.
Tommy Molina threw just two pitches in relief while Isaac Chavira threw out a runner trying to steal second. Gomez got a double play to get out of the sixth.
Gomes came in to pitch the seventh after Gomez walked the first batter. Gomes got the first two outs as a result of a rundown and then got a grounder to third to end the seventh.
Madera had their opportunities, but left eight runners on base.
The Coyotes had their best chance in the fifth. With one out, Shane Purcell and Christian Chavira drew walks. A stolen base and a passed ball put runners at second and third.
Hefner hit a high chopper to first. Clovis West threw to the plate and Purcell looked to have slid reached the plate before and under the tag, but he called out. With a runner still at third, the next batter struck out looking to end the inning.
The Coyotes will have a few days off before hosting Central Valley Christian-Visalia on Friday.