Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera National shortstop Jocelyn Becerro places the tag on North Natomas’ Isabella Jimenez in the first inning of Friday’s 16-1 loss.
In just its second year in existence, the Madera National Little League softball 11-12-year-old All-Stars advanced to the state tournament.
The Madera National All-Stars found out how big the learning curve is with two straight losses at the Northern California State Tournament this weekend at Town and Country Park.
Madera opened the tournament with a 16-1 loss to District 6 champions North Natomas after committing seven errors, six in the first inning.
On the second day, Madera lost a tough game to Martinez, the District 4 champion, who advanced to the championship game against District 2 champion Olivehurst-Linda. Martinez beat Olivehurst twice to win the state championship.
Neveah Galvan was named Madera’s representative to the All-Tournament team. She scored a pair of runs with a hit and an RBI.
North Natomas 16, Madera National 1
After winning the section tournament to advance to the state tourney, Madera National received a rude awakening in the first game Friday evening.
North Natomas pitcher Libby McIntyre held Madera National hitless through three innings of the 15-run mercy-rule game.
Galvan gave the Madera National fans something to cheer about in the top of the first inning.
She was hit by a pitch to reach base. She stole second and went to third on a wild pitch. Galvan came in to score when the throw to third went into left field for a 1-0 lead.
However, McIntyre struck out five of the next eight batters until she walked Galvan in the third inning. She got a groundout to end the game in the third.
North Natomas had its first six batters reach base. Three by singles and two on errors. All six came in to score. North Natomas kept the rally despite getting a runner thrown out at the plate. Two more errors allowed another run to score and North Natomas led 7-0 after sending 12 batters to the plate.
North Natomas sent 13 batters to the plate in the second and scored seven runs on five hits with two walks and a catcher’s interference call for a 14-1 lead.
They ended the game with two runs in the third. Pitcher Valerie Ruz got a strikeout to open the inning. After a walk, she got a forceout at second for the second out. However, three straight singles drove in two runs to end the game with a 16-1 win.
Martinez 16, Madera National 8
After getting first game jitters out of the way, Madera National played eventual state champion Martinez tough until the very end Saturday morning.
Despite a team mainly with 11-year-olds going against a 12-year-old Martinez team, Madera National stuck with Martinez and scored four runs in the sixth to make the score more interesting.
The highlight of the game was Leilani Moreno’s two-run inside-the-park home run in the sixth inning. She drove in three with three hits to lead the offense.
Martinez closed the game by scoring 12 runs in the final three innings for the victory.
Martinez opened the game by scoring three runs in the first inning. Unlike Friday, Madera National didn’t commit a first inning error. Martinez had three hits on a run-scoring single, a run-scoring double and a run-scoring groundout.
In the bottom of the first, Jocelyn Becerra led off with a single. She stole second. Neveah Galvan reached on an infield single. Moreno singled to left and Becaerra came in to score, but Galvan was tagged out at the plate.
After Moreno went to second on the throw and to third on a wild pitch, she scored on a groundout by Gigi Rodriguez to cut Martinez’s lead to one.
Martinez went scoreless in the top of the second and Madera National tied the score in the bottom of the inning.
Valerie Ruz led off the inning with a single. Jimena Bermudez was hit by a pitch and Gabriela Medina drew a walk to load the bases.
However, Ruz was picked off of third. After a strikeout, Martinez tried to pick Medina off of first base, but the first baseman missed the throw and Bermudez scored to tie the game at three.
Martinez didn’t leave the game tied for long. A lead-off single, followed by a pair of walks loaded the bases. A sacrifice fly drove in the go-ahead run for Martinez.
Madera National was held scoreless in the bottom of the third and Martinez pushed over four runs in the fourth on four hits with two errors. The damage could have been worse, but new pitcher Katie Bandy stranded the bases loaded and left trailing 8-3.
Madera National added a run in the bottom of the fourth. Bandy drew a walk. Pinch-runner Nozomi Sandoval went to second on a wild pitch and scored on Becerra’s single to center.
Martinez answered with three runs on two hits with a walk and an error for an 11-4 lead.
Martinez sent nine batters to the plate in the sixth inning. Highlighted by a two-run single, Martinez scored five unearned runs in the sixth for a 16-4 lead.
Madera National showed some fight in the bottom of the sixth inning. Lulu Castro led off the inning with a single to left. Jayleen Gutknecht drew a walk and Nozomi Sandoval drew another walk to load the bases.
After a strikeout, Galvan reached on an error to drive in Castro. Sandoval also scored on the error while Galvan advanced all the way to third.
Moreno then lined a pitch to the right-centerfield gap. The ball rolled all the way to the fence. After Galvan scored, Moreno followed with slide for an inside-the-park home run and a four-run inning.
A groundout to first ended Madera National’s first trip to the state tournament.