Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera Coyotes baseball coach Andy Underwood, left, and Madera South baseball coach Alan Sandoval, second from right, accept checks for $1,000 from the Eddie Chapa famly during Chapa Memorial Night Tuesday.
Tuesday night’s game at Eddie Chapa Field was special. On one hand, the Coyotes’ and Stallions’ baseball teams got a chance to face off for the second time this season that resulted in an 11-1 win for Madera, and on the other, baseball fans across the community got a chance to honor the family and memory of the late Eddie Chapa.
Chapa’s contributions to the sport of baseball throughout the community stands as a reminder of the good he brought during his life. Those contributions continued as the Chapa family donated $1,000 to both baseball programs before the first pitch.
“I can’t say thank you enough. That was a reflection of Eddie Chapa and how giving and caring he was,” Madera South baseball head coach Alan Sandoval said. “He passed all of his great qualities to his kids and they passed that down to their kids, so there is just a legacy there and they’re just great people.”
Chapa’s granddaughter Kaelei Kajitani, a Madera South junior varsity pitcher, threw out the first pitch before the game with her family around her.
Although Chapa graces the Stallion’s baseball diamond, the Madera Coyotes have the utmost respect for Chapa and his family.
“That was pretty special,” Madera head coach Andy Underwood said. “I was just sitting in the dugout there getting a little bit to eat and they asked the coaches to come out and I had no idea what was going on. They said they were going to make a $1,000 donation to each program, and it says a lot about the Chapa family and who they are. What they meant to this town and what they still continue to do is really special and cool for us.”
The game itself played out much differently than the last time these two rivals met. Tommy Molina came up clutch with the game-winning sac fly in the bottom of the 10th inning in a 4-3 win for Madera, but the second matchup turned out a bit different.
Behind a strong pitching performance from Alex Trukki and a team effort at the plate, the Coyotes eased to an 11-1 victory over Madera South for back-to-back County/Metro Athletic Conference wins.
“We lost three in a row. We got into a bit of a low spot and it was rough, but our focus through practice has been hitting the ball hard, barreling it up and executing our job,” Underwood said. “If it’s a hit-and-run, we need to get a ball through the right side. We’re still struggling bunting the ball and executing that way, but as far as us running hard and playing the game correct, we are starting to do that better.”
The Coyotes had their way at the plate totaling 11 runs on 10 hits, including a deep triple into center field by Kristian Gomez in the top of the fourth inning to drive in Molina.
Jonathan Ramirez came up big, as well. In the top of the third inning Ramirez doubled home two Coyotes to help break open the game for Madera.
Nikayha Castro threw a no-hitter against the Edison Tigers, before Alex Trukki dominated the Stallions, holding Madera South to one run on four hits.
“We got into that losing streak, but as a team we never quit, we were all in good spirits,” Underwood said.
For the Stallions, the season is about building for the future. With a team dominated by youth and inexperience, having the ability to play teams like the Coyotes who are very strong, gives them a chance to take their lumps and move forward as a team.
“This year isn’t about wins and losses per se. We want to win, yes, but it’s about getting better and it’s about learning as much as we can about competing. We have to fight and keep fighting,” Sandoval said. “We’re a Div. IV team in a league with Div. I and II teams.
“That’s great because we’re going to keep getting better and by the time these freshmen are sophomores, juniors and seniors --— we’re going to be good. I told these guys, this is not going to be the result for much longer.”