Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera American’s Frankie Espejo throws a pitch in a 6-4 victory over Madera National. Espejo was the winning pitcher, tossing five innings with nine strikeouts.
In a battle of Madera Little Leagues, Madera American took advantage of Madera National mistakes to record a 6-4 victory and advance to the District 10 Championship game.
The Madera American 11-12-year-old All-Stars scored four runs in the third and two more in the fourth to hold onto a semifinal victory over Madera National.
Madera American advanced to the District 10 Championship game on Thursday while Madera National won Wednesday to earn a rematch against Madera American on Thursday.
Frankie Espejo scattered five hits and allowed four runs over five innings to pick up the win for Madera American. Joseph Bass pitched around the tying runs on base in the sixth to earn the save.
Brandon Rodriguez suffered the loss, allowing four runs, all unearned, over three innings. Andrew Rodriguez allowed two runs in his inning of work, but both runs were unearned.
Noah Castro led the Madera American attack with a triple and two hits. Elijah Tang, Eric Gallegos and Joseph Bass each hit doubles.
P.J. Garcia hit a three-run home run and Xavier Cantu hit a solo home run to lead the Madera National offense.
Madera National got the scoring started in the bottom of the second inning. Brandon Rodriguez led off the inning with a walk. He went to second on a Shane Noe single to center.
Espejo got a lineout to short and struck out the next batter. However, he left a 2-2 pitch over the middle of the plate to P.J. Garcia. Garcia launched it into the pond beyond the left field fence for a three-run home run.
Madera American battled back in the third. Josh Alvarez led off by reaching on an error. He went to third on a double down the left field line by Eric Gallegos.
Tang reached on another error and Alvarez came in to score.
After a popout, Castro tripled to left-centerfield to drive in pinch-runner Dominic Rosel and Tang to tie the score.
Eric Wilson then lined a single to right-center to drive in Castro to give Madera American a 4-3 lead.
In the fourth, Espejo started the rally by reaching on an error. He advanced to second on a bad throw. After a strikeout, Ivan Castenada reached on an infield single as Espejo stayed at second.
Bass came up and lined a double off the left-centerfield fence to drive in Espejo. However, Castaneda was thrown out at the plate by Madera National shortstop Andrew Rodriguez with the tag by Cantu.
Tang followed with a double off the centerfield fence to drive in Bass for a 6-3 lead.
Noe came in the fifth and retired six batters in a row for Madera National with three strikeouts.
Although Espejo only had one clean inning, he was able to stay out of trouble. In the bottom of the fifth, Cantu hit a towering shot over the right-centerfield scoreboard into the trees to cut Madera American’s lead to 6-4.
Madera National had a chance in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Brandon Rodriguez lined out to left field for the first out. Bass hit Noe on a 2-2 pitch. Ramon Ruiz followed with a single to left to put runners at first and second.
Bass struck out the next batter and got Garcia to hit a liner right back to him, which he snagged to end the game.