Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Liberty starter Quaid Copher throws a pitch during Thursday’s victory over Chowchilla. The Hawks rebounded from a bad loss the day before for the win. Copher was the winning pitcher, tossing four solid innings.
Less than 24 hours after the Liberty Hawks baseball team was handed a humiliating defeat, the defending Div. V Valley Champions rebounded for a 5-3 North Sequoia League victory over Chowchilla.
The Hawks couldn’t do anything right in a 24-2 loss Wednesday to the Yosemite-Oakhurst Badgers. However, on Thursday, behind solid pitching from Quiaid Copher and Chase Schellenger, the Hawks are back in the win column.
“We’ve been struggling in all three phases,” head coach Mario Cosma said. “Wednesday, the wheels fell off a bit. We took the approach that we have to go 100 percent in all three phases of the game. If we did that, Wednesday was going to be nothing but a memory. It’s still early in the season. We’re in the hunt of it and need to get back to what we do. We did that on Thursday.”
Quaid Copher allowed two runs, one earned, over four innings for the win. Chase Schellenger allowed one run over the final three innings to earn the save.
“We got some good pitching and got some clutch hits,” Cosma said.
The Hawks committed a dozen errors in Wednesday’s loss, but had just one against Chowchilla.
“We’re just learning, again, what it means to win,” Cosma said. “We hope this next third of the season, we’re getting better and getting back to where they are supposed to be. These next 10 games are going to be a nice rubric for us to make a run at this thing.”
Jakson Bucher led the Hawks with three hits. Schellenger added two hits and five other players had a hit.
“We have a real strong senior class,” Cosma said. “They know what it takes to win. We had a stretch like this last year. They are Valley Champions so there’s no reason they can pull themselves out of this. Credit them, they pulled out a good win. It’s still early. This is a great win for us to reset our approach and get back to what we’re capable of doing and playing winning baseball.”
After the Hawks left the bases loaded in the second, the Tribe scored two runs in the third. Tristan Holt led off the inning with a single to left. After a flyout, Nate Ramos doubled and an intentional walk loaded the bases.
Cody Woolsey reached on an error to drive in a run and Ronin Haley drew a bases loaded walk to force in a second run for the lead.
Copher got out of the inning by getting a liner back to him. He made the catch and threw to first to double up the runner and end the inning.
The Hawks opened the third with singles from Schellenger and Samarin, but Tribe pitcher Austin Hickman got out of the inning unscathed.
Copher rebounded to retire the Tribe in order in the fourth to set up a five-run bottom of the inning for the Hawks.
With one out, Bucher singled to left. David Williams drew a walk. A passed ball moved the runners up 90 feet.
Copher followed with a single to left to drive in Bucher and pinch-runner Stefan Sidur to tie the score.
Schellenger then singled. Copher and pinch-runner Rylan Howe executed a double-steal. Colton Cardoza reached on an error while Copher and Howe scored go-ahead runs. Trevor Porter singled to right center and Cardoza came around to score for a 5-2 lead.
Chowchilla added a run against Schellenger in the fifth inning. A double by Aiden Munoz and a single from Woolsey cut the Liberty lead to two.
However, Schellenger got a popup for the second out. A hit batter loaded the basses, but Schellenger got another popout to catcher Cardoza to get out of the inning.
Schellenger closed out the game by retiring the final seven batters in order.
Liberty loaded the bases with two outs in the sixth, but couldn’t add an insurance run. Samarin was hit by a pitch to start the rally. After Cardoza was intentionally walked, he and Samarin executed a double steal. Porter drew a walk to load the bases, but a flyout ended the threat.