Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera lead off hitter Shane Pursell is hit by a pitch in the seventh inning of Saturday’s 5-2 loss to Golden Valley.
The Madera Coyotes baseball team headed into a County/Metro Athletic Conference showdown with the Sanger on a somewhat high.
Brian Hefner hit a two-run home run in the seventh inning to give the Coyotes a 2-1 victory against Sanger on Tuesday. However, the momentum couldn’t be sustained in a 1-0 loss Friday to the Apaches and followed with a 5-2 loss Saturday to Golden Valley.
“It’s intense, but I don’t know if it’s self-inflicted intense,” head coach Andy Underwood said. “We were flat and have been for the last four games. We’re lucky to be 3-1 and not 0-4.”
Christian Chavira tossed a complete game in Tuesday’s win over Sanger and Brian Hefner tossed six innings Friday. He allowed an unearned run and took the loss.
“We’re pitching great,” Underwood said. “Even if we didn’t make any errors, I don’t know if we had a chance with how our dugout acted and our approach at the plate.”
Hefner allowed four hits, but Sanger pitcher Alec Flores was just as good. He allowed five hits and walked just one to pick up the win.
“It was the same pitcher we saw the first time,” Underwood said. “He’s a fastball/change up guy. Our guys didn’t make the adjustment on it. It’s the same thing we worked on in practice, but the guys didn’t take that to the game.
Madera 1, Sanger 0
In a classic pitcher’s dual, the Apaches scored the only run of the game in the fifth inning. An error put the No. 9 batter on base. After a stolen base, another error and a single drove in the eventual game-winning run.
Hefner got in and out of trouble for most of the game. He allowed a runner to get to third in the first, but picked him off.
Sanger loaded the bases in the third, but Hefner got a flyout to end the inning. Sanger got a runner to second with one out in the fourth, but Hefner got two groundouts to get out of the inning.
After Sanger scored its run, Hefner stranded an insurance run at second with a strikeout.
In the sixth, Sanger put runners at second and third with one out, but Hefner got a strikeout and a groundout to end the inning.
Madera had their chances to get on the scoreboard.
Christian Chavira led off the bottom of the first by reaching on an error. He went to second on a sacrifice and went to third on a Hefner single with one out. However, the next two batters were retired to end the inning.
With one out in the third, Chavira reached on an infield single and stole second. A flyout and a lineout ended the inning.
In the fourth, Kristian Gomez singled with one out. He went to second on a wild pitch and tried to score on an Isaac Chavira single. Gomez was thrown out on a close play at the plate.
Madera put two on with two outs in the fifth, but a groundout ended the threat trailing 1-0.
From there, Flores took over. He retired the final seven batters in order, including four of the last five batters by strikeout.
Golden Valley 5, Madera 2
Golden Valley scored runs in the first two innings, but the Coyotes matched the total. However, the Cougars drove in three in the fourth for a 5-2 victory Saturday at Mel Parker Field on Saturday in a rain make-up game.
Nikayha Castro suffered the loss. He allowed five runs, four earned in 3 1/3 innings. Brixton Gomes came in relief and allowed just one baserunenr over the final 3 2/3 innings.
Golden Valley got the scoring started in the top of the first. Castro hit the lead-off batter and then allowed a single and a walk to load the bases.
Another single drove in a run. Castro got out of the inning with a strikeout and a double play.
Madera answered in the bottom of the first when its lead off batter reached base, like Golden Valley’s. Shane Pursell reached on a bunt single. He went to third on one wild pitch and scored on a safety squeeze by Jerry Hernandez.
Golden Valley reclaimed the lead with a two-out, nobody on rally. A single and a pair of errors gave the Cougars a 2-1 lead.
Madera answered with a run in the second. Golden Valley walked Caleb Galindo, Cameron Hernandez and Nick Aguilar to start the second.
After a change in pitchers, a wild pitch scored Galindo to tie the game at two. However, Golden Valley got a strikeout, popout and flyout to get out of the inning.
From there, Golden Valley pitcher Robert White allowed three hits over the final five innings with six strikeouts.
Golden Valley took control of the game in the fourth. A hit batter, error and bunt single loaded the bases. After a popout, Golden Valley got a single to drive in a run, a walk to force in a run and a fielder’s choice for another run and a 5-2 lead.
From there, Gomes allowed one baserunner over the final three innings.
White was just as effective. Madera had an opportunity in the fourth. Galindo led off the inning with a double to deep center. Hernandez singled and a sacrifice put runners at second and third with one out. The next two batters were retired without getting the run across.
In the seventh, with one out, Pursell and Mathew Ylarregui were hit by pitches to put two one with one out. A flyout and a groundout ended the game with a 5-2 loss.