Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera’s Tommy Molina hits a go-ahead RBI double in the sixth inning to help lead the Coyotes to a 3-1 victory Tuesday in the opener in Mel Parker Field.
The Madera Coyotes baseball team scored a run in the final three innings to record a 3-1 victory to open the 2019 season.
Behind the pitching of Kristian Gomez, Alek Trukki and Nikayha Castro, the Coyotes held the Hanford Bullpups to just two hits and an unearned run to open the Coca-Cola Classic with a victory in Mel Parker Field.
Although the Coyotes left nine runners on base, they scored enough to pick up the win. No. 9 batter Jonathan Ramirez drove in the game-tying run in the fourth and Tommy Molina drove in the go-ahead run in the sixth.
“We talked about scoring a group,” head coch Underwood said. “A part of our offense this year is knowing signs and executing. It’s about all of the small things we have to do with the line-up and the way we have to produce runs. We had runners on second and third for three consecutive innings and didn’t get the job done. It’s a lack of focus. It’s also the first game. Everyone is nervous and they don’t want to screw up. We have to do a better job of focusing on our details and what we’ve practiced the last five months.”
Winning pitcher Castro drove in a go-ahead run and tossed the final three innings. He allowed a hit and walked two batters, but didn’t allow a run.
“Our pitching was great,” Underwood said. “They (Hanford) are not great offensively, but they have a clue. We made a lot of good pitches even when we were behind in the count. We battled for a long time with their hitters and won a lot of those battles.
“Nikayha came in a little nervous and a little tight. It was the first game of the year, his senior year, and did a great job. He wasn’t even supposed to throw today, but that’s how the game rolled.”
Shane Pursell led off the bottom of the first inning for the Coyotes with a first-pitch single. He stole second and after Cole Brincefield drew a walk, stole third with Brincfield stealing second. However, a pop out and a groundout ended the inning.
In the second, Cameron Hernandez singled to right, was sacrificed to second by David Monge and went to third on a bunt single from Aaron Benividez. A flyout to center from Ramirez allowed Benividez to advance to second, but a groundout ended the inning.
Caleb Cardoso led off the third by reaching on an error. He advanced to third on a double to right-center from Brincefield. However, a strikeout, popout and groundout ended the threat.
Meanwhile, Gomez started the game by allowing just one hit over the first three innings. He struck out four and walked a battler.
Trukki came in relief and was hindered by a pair of throwing errors to allow an unearned run and the Bullpups took a 1-0 lead into the bottom of the fourth.
Madera finally got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the fourth. Monge drew a lead-off walk. He advanced to second on a wild pitch and to third on a passed ball.
After a groundout, Ramirez singled up the middle to drive in Monge for the game-tying run.
In the fifth, the Bullpups gave the Coyotes their unearned run back. Gomez led off the inning by reaching second on an error and Molina doubled to right-center to drive in Gomez. However, two strikeouts and a groundout ended the inning.
In the bottom of the sixth, Remirez led off with a single up the middle. He went to second on a passed ball and to third on a flyout by Pursell. Castro grounded out to second and Ramirez came in to score for a 3-1 lead.
Castro then took the mound and retired the side in order to preserve the 3-1 victory.