The Madera Coyotes softball team opened its County/Metro Athletic Conference opener by honoring Madera County’s first responders and military veterans.
Unfortunately, that was the only thing Madera fans enjoyed in an 8-0 loss to the Sanger Apaches on Tuesday at Zimmerman Field, The loss was Madera’s biggest to Sanger in its history.
Sanger’s No. 1 and No. 2 batters did most of the heavy lifting against the Coyotes, who had trouble fielding the ball, pitching, hitting and scoring. Lead off batter Vanessa Hernandez was 3-for-4 with four runs scored and hit a grand slam.
No. 2 batter Stephanie Herring, the Coyote killer, was 2-for-4 with a run scored, three RBIs and a home run. Herring has hit two home runs against Madera with a .391 batting average in her four-year career.
“We got beat at the plate, we got beat on the bases, we got beat in the circle, we got beat on defense and the coaches got beat,” head coach Judy Shaubach said. “We made mistakes. We got beat all the way around. My offense should not have a goose egg on the board.
“The last three games, we’ve given up 22 runs so there’s a problem there. The best thing we can do is flush this game and move forward to figure out how to play better defense.”
The Coyotes committed five errors, which led to three unearned runs. They have committed 12 errors in the last two games. Madera also had four runners thrown out on the bases.
“We cannot drop the first ball of the game,” Shaubach said. “We cannot have a line drive to one of the best outfielders we’ve had and just drop it. That sets the tone of the game. You can’t let their best hitter beat you.”
Taylor Brooks, Valerie Ornelas, Haley Perez, Sofia Perez, Joslynn Davis and Gennahlyn Sanchez each had hits for the Coyotes.
Hernandez opened the game by reaching second on a double and came around to score on a passed ball.
In the third, Hernandez singled with two outs. Two pitches later, Herring homered to left-centerfield for a 3-0 lead.
Hernandez hit a one-out double in the fifth and scored on Herring’s single to right.
In the sixth, An error and a single chased starter Kaylee Dawson. Felicity Rocha got a strikeout and a popout, but walked the pinch-hitter in the No. 9 spot in the line-up. Two pitches later, Hernandez hit a no-doubt grand slam over the left field fence to blow open the game with an 8-0 lead.
In the third, Brooks tripled with one out, but the next two batters popped out and Brooks was stranded.
In the fourth, Haley Perez led off with a hard single off the third baseman. The next batter bunted down the third base line and reached on an error. However, pinch-runner Mariah McMillon was tagged out trying to take third and the batter was tagged out trying to advance to second to clear the bases.