The Sanger Apaches entered the matchup undefeated, but that didn’t matter for the Madera Coyotes as they outplayed the streaking Apaches, 5-2, for a County/Metro Athletic Conference win.
Hefner went five strong innings Saturday afternoon and knocked in two runs to lead the Coyotes. Along with contributions from Brixton Gomes and Kristian Gomez, Madera topped the Apaches in Mel Parker Field in a game moved from Friday to Saturday because of a storm.
“It was a huge win for us, obviously, starting the year off 1-0,” Madera head coach Andy Underwood said. “They’re ranked No.1, according to a few people in Div. II and that doesn’t mean anything as far as baseball goes. Nonetheless, they are a good ball club and it was a good win for us. They were 7-0 coming in and they had a lot of confidence, but we have a really good team.”
The game had two sides: a pitching duel in the first four innings and a climatic final few innings.
Hefner had a few hiccups, walking five batters, but only allowed a couple hits to go along with a handful of strikeouts.
Sanger put Alec Flores on the mound and he gave the Apaches the same effort, a solid display through six innings.
The game however, turned on its head in the latter stages. The Coyotes scored their first run in the bottom of the fifth after Isaiah Monge’s patience earned him a walk. Christian Chavira stepped up to the plate and hit a double to left field. Monge raced home for the opening run.
After the Apaches tied the score at one, the Coyotes knew they need a productive half inning and that’s exactly what they got.
Kristian Gomez led off the bottom of the sixth inning with a hard-hit ball to left field. The ball bounced off the wall, allowing Gomez to reach third base. After Gomez was replaced by Matthew Ylarregui, Tommy Molina came to the plate sent him home with an RBI single.
Jerry Hernandez got hit by a pitch in the sixth that led to a two run single that put the game away. Nick Aguilar and Shane Pursell scored insurance runs.
Brixton Gomes entered the game for Hefner in the top of the fifth and delivered a solid pitching performance, snuffing out any rally in route to a save.