Martinez shines in Stallions upset
Senior Night was special for A.J. Martinez. After four years as a varsity player and after more than 260 career strikeouts, she brought it all together in a dominating complete game, beating the Sanger Apaches, 3-1.
From her first pitch to her last, Martinez was fired up Friday night. Being the only senior, Martinez got all the attention and she channeled that into a big upset win. Coming into the County/Metro Athletic Conference matchup, the Apaches held the second-best record, while the Stallions had the opposite ranking.
“She’s always been a rock for us. She did what she normally does,” Madera South head coach Peter Gallegos said. “She’s a great athlete and we are proud of her.”
The Apaches took the lead early, but their hot start prompted the Stallions to dig deep and fight back.
“You could tell how we have improved, but it’s just them believing there is nothing I can’t do,” Gallegos said. “It’s all them — their attitude and how they respond under pressure. They’re seeing that they can compete with anybody.”
In the bottom of the fifth, Garcia led off the inning with a hit-by-pitch and went to second on a wild pitch. Miranda Moles laid down a bunt that advanced Garcia to third. But, Moles beat out the bunt for a single.
With runners at the corners, Kaylee Nevarez knocked a ball into right field and past the Apache outfielder. The miscue allowed Garcia to race home to tie the game at one. Unfortunately, Moles tried to score, but was tagged out at home.
The crowd erupted after the game-tying score and they fueled the Stallions to another run. Taylor Valerio singled to right field, allowing Nevarez to score the go-ahead run.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, the Stallions loaded the bases, once again. Viviana Porras singled, Martinez was hit by pitch and Garcia was intentionally walked with one out.
Madera South sat back and allowed the Apache pitching staff to make the mistakes. Moles walked with the bases loaded, giving the home team a 3-1 lead and that’s Martinez needed for the victory.
Errors lead to Stallions’ loss
The Madera South Stallions baseball team put in the necessary effort to win its game against the San Joaquin Memorial-Fresno Panthers, but the Panthers benefited from timely hits and four errors for a 4-1victory at Eddie Chapa Field.
Runs were in short supply for the Stallions, but four players had at least two hits in the contest — Peyton Kragie, Ramon Uribe, Oscar Velasquez and Ricky Reyes.
Madera South also had four players commit an error in the game, which directly led to a first inning Panthers’ run.
On the mound, Caleb Bertoncini worked his way around the zone throughout the afternoon, generating a high percentage of fly balls. It worked for him, to an extent.
Bertoncini’s lone mistake came early in the third inning after he surrendered a home run to Panthers shortstop Brett Carrell.
Carrell turned on a pitch up in the zone, undoing Uribe’s RBI double in the second inning after Reyes singled to get on base.
Memorial seized control of the game and later tacked on two more runs in the top of the fifth inning.
The game had its tense moments.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, a collision at the plate between Uribe and the Memorial catcher halted the game.
After a stolen base, Uribe tried to score on a Velasquez single, forcing a play at the plate. Uribe was tagged out at home in the midst of the collision. Uribe, was immediately ejected after the play. Collisions at the plate warrant an automatic ejection. Madera South head coach Bobby Waits was also ejected in the game.
Down 4-1 heading into the bottom of the seventh, the Stallions’ best chance came down to the last batter.
Consecutive errors in the bottom of the seventh allowed Jeremy Flores and Joel Guillen to reach base safely. Bertoncini stepped up to the plate as the tying run, but hit into a game-ending double play.