Wendy Alexander/The Madera ribune
Madera South designated hitter Kingsley Thomas lifts a fly ball to deep right-centerfield. The ball was flagged down by Firebaugh in Wednesday’s loss.
The Firebaugh Eagles jumped on Madera South starting pitcher Frank Chavira and held off the Stallions for a 5-3 non-conference victory at Eddie Chapa Field.
Chavira allowed four first inning runs and lasted 2 1/3 innings. He walked four and struck out three. Reliever Peyton Kragie got in and out of trouble and only allowed a run in 2 2/3 innings, but walked three.
“Frank and Peyton gave too many passes,” head coach Bobby Waits said. “We also hit a batter, so we gave them too many free bases. We don’t execute in our bunt defense and give up two hits. You get those two outs and it changes the game. After all that, you lose 5-3, I was trying to explain to the kids it wasn’t bad. Frank and Peyton have to attack the strike zone. We will continue to work with them and convince them they have to get into the zone and let our defense make plays.
The Stallions had their chances to get back into the game. They outhit Firebaugh 7-6 and left 10 runners on base, including five in scoring position.
“We fell into the hole by four right away,” Waits said. “After that, we win 3-1. It was a hard hill to climb and we didn’t quite get there.”
Caleb Bertoncini, Carlos Gonzales and A.J. Rocha each had two hits for the Stallions.
Firebaugh sent eight batters to the plate in the first inning. The first five batters reached base safely against Chavira. A walk, hit batter and bunt single loaded the bases. Another walk forced a run in. A wild pitch, a stolen base and a double play plated three more runs for the early lead.
Madera South got on the scoreboard in the second inning. Rocha drew a walk, but Kingsley Thomas forced him at second. Thomas advanced to second on a groundout and scored on a Ramon Uribe single.
Chavira was riding a pitching roller coaster on the mound. He allowed a walk and a single, but got out of the second inning with a pair of strikeouts. However, after he walked two straight batters in the third, Kragie came in to close the door.
Kragie threw three straight balls to the first batter he faced, but came back with three straight strikes for the strikeout. He got a flyout to center to end the inning.
However, like Chavira, Kragie had his roller coaster moments. He allowed a double and a walk in the fourth, but struck out the next two batters. He also had a 1-2-3 inning in the fifth, but he walked the first two batters in the sixth and was lifted.
Gonzales allowed a bunt single and a sacrifice fly, but was overpowering against the Firebaugh hitters. He closed out the night by striking out four of the final five Eagles.
Madera South got fans on their feet with multiple runs in the fifth. Bertoncini singled and scored on a Gonzales double down the right field line. Gonzales scored on a Thomas sacrifice fly on a catch made on the run by Firebaugh centerfielder Nathan Chapman. It was a catch Waits said could have changed the game to Madera South’s favor.
The Stallions only had two baserunners in the final two innings for a 5-3 loss.
Madera South opens County/Metro Athletic Conference play today in Eddie Chapa Field hosting Bullard-Fresno at 3 p.m.