Tyler Takeda/The Madera Tribune
Madera schools sent five softball players to the 37th annual City/County Softball All-Star game Wednesday. From left are Hollee Brown (Madera), Kaylan May (Liberty), A.J. Martinez (Madera South), Karli Fien (Liberty) and Taylor Brooks (Madera). Madera and Madera South were placed on the City team and Liberty represented the County.
FRESNO — The City All-Stars opened the early lead, but the County All-Stars battled back to tie the game before Edison-Fresno’s Kayla Bowen ended it for the City with a walk-off double to score Tori Mueller (Clovis) for the game-winning run.
Although Bowen, daughter of Madera Athletic Hall of Famer Vince Bowen, allowed four runs in the top of the ninth inning to get the 37th annual City/County Softball All-Star game tied, she came through with a towering shot to the left field fence to drive in the go-ahead run Wednesday at Fresno State’s Margie Wright Diamond.
Madera Coyotes’ Taylor Brooks went 2-for-2 in the game and scored the game’s first run for the City. Teammate Hollee Brown started the last inning rally with a single. It was the final game for Brooks and Brown on the same team. They have played togther since the fifth grade.
“It was fun,” Brown said. “It was a little sad. That’s the last time I’m going to wear that jersey. It was great to play one last game before everyone went their own ways. The game was fun and I was glad I could play my last game as a Coyote last night and get a win.”
Madera South’s A.J. Martinez lined out to short in her only at-bat for the City.
Two Liberty Hawks represented the County team and accounted for three of the team’s 11 hits. Karli Fien singled and scored a run and Kaylan May singled twice, including getting the County’s first hit off of Fresno State bound pitcher Danielle Lung.
Edison pitcher Mackenzie Soper was named the game’s Most Valuable Player. She doubled in two at-bats and pitched three scoreless innings.
The City squad got the scoring started early against Selma pitcher Hailey Garcia. Brooks led off the inning with a single off the shortstop’s glove. Brooks stole second and went to third when the throw went into centerfield.
Jordyn Martinez (Clovis) was hit by a pitch and Bowen reached on an infield single. Buchanan-Clovis’ Anni Raley hit a grounder to third, but the third baseman’s throw to get Brooks at the plate went high for an error. Martinez raced around third and also scored on the error for a 2-0 lead.
Emily Puente (Clovis) followed and deposited a pitch over the centerfield fence for a three-run home run and a 5-0 lead.
The City wasn’t done. Arianna Castillo (Bullard-Fresno) doubled and scored on a single from Kylie Seals (Yosemite-Oakhurst) to give City a 6-0 lead.
The County got to Lung in the top of the third inning. Vanessa Hernandez (Sanger) led off the inning with a single. Stephanie Herring (Sanger) drew a walk and Jordyn Macias was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Brittney Espinoza (Central-Fresno) reached on an error to allow Hernandez to score. Herring scored on a passed ball and Emily Lynch (Central) drew another walk to load the bases again. Lung got a strikeout and a line drive to end the inning with a 6-2 lead.
The County pushed across another run in the top of the fourth. Ashley Mata (Sanger) was hit by a pitch and Fien drew a walk. Teya Vincent (Dos Palos) was hit by a pitch to load the bases. After a popout to Brown at second, Coalinga’s Kristina Garcia hit a ball back to pitcher Allison Kirkpatrick, who couldn’t handle it for an error and allow Hernandez to score to cut City’s lead to three.
City added an insurance run in the bottom of the fifth. Trinity Scruggs (Clovis West) forced Soper at second. She wet to second on a groundout and scored on a single by Deserae Moreno (Bullard) for a 7-3 City lead.
Both teams put runners on base in each of the next four innings, but neither could get the run to score until the top of the ninth.
Fien led off the County inning with a bunt single. She scored on a triple from Stephanie Lopez (Parlier). After a groundout, Vincent singled to left to drive in pinch-runner Lizette Gonzales (Fowler). Vincent advanced to second on a throwing error.
Hernandez followed with a single to left to drive in Vincent and a late throw to the plate allowed Hernandez to head to second with the game-tying run.
After Hernandez stole third, Herring drove in her teammate with a single to center to tie the game at seven.
Bowen got the net batter to hit a pop-up behind first. Brown, in her second game at second base this year, hustled behind the bag to make a running catch for the second out.
She prevented a run as the next batter reached on an error that would have scored the go-ahead run. Bowen got the next batter to line out to first to end the inning.
In the bottom of the ninth, Brown led off with a sharp single to left. She was forced out by Mueller for the first out. Bowen followed with a shot to left field. The ball looked to have a chance to go out, but the wind caught it and the ball fell harmlessly on the warning track, about 10 feet to the left of the leftfielder. Mueller easily scored to give the City an 8-7 victory.