Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Liberty’s Quaid Copher throws a pitch during Wednesday’s 10-1 victory over Dinuba. Copher allowed just three hits in a complete game victory. He also scored a run.
For the second straight week, the Liberty Hawks took care of a higher-division opponent in a mid-week rain make-up game heading into an North Sequoia League game the next day.
Last week, the defending Div. V Valley Champions took care of Div. II Madera, 4-0. Wednesday, the Hawks scored seven runs in the sixth to put the exclamation mark on a 10-1 victory over Div. III Dinuba.
“We’re in a situation to play three games in a week because of rain outs,” head coach Mario Cosma said. “We expected that. When you have back-to-back games, it’s nice to get a win to give us some momentum to the next game.”
Liberty starter Quaid Copher kept the Hawks in the lead, waiting for the offense to kick in. He tossed a complete game three hitter, with six strikeouts and a walk.
“We really got a solid performance from Quaid Copher today,” Cosma said. “He gave us seven quality innings and kept us close all game. He was real competitive and had command of his stuff today. I’m real happy for him.”
The Hawks’ middle-of-the-order bats highlighted the offense. Nathanael Samarin, Colton Cardoza and Trevor Porter combined for seven hits in 10 at-bats with five runs scored, six RBIs and two doubles.
“Our bats have been inconsistent, at times, this year,” Cosma said. “It was nice to see us rebound and come back with a couple of runs, getting ahead in the ball game. I was real happy with how the bats woke up.
“It makes coaching all that easier when all three phases of the game are being executed. With the rain, they came out and expected to win. They brought a solid performance today and I couldn’t be happier for our ball club.”
Dinuba got the early lead with a run in the first inning. Isaiah Ochoa led off the game with a double, went to third on a groundout and scored on a sacrifice fly for the 1-0 lead.
The Hawks answered with a two-out rally in the bottom of the first. Samarin got the rally started with a single up the middle. Cardoza then doubled down the left field line to drive in Samarin.
Porter singled up the middle to drive in Cardoza to give the Hawks a 2-1 lead.
Copher silenced the Emperors’ bats. He allowed three baserunners over the next four innings. One runner advanced to third with two outs in the third, but Copher got a strikeout to end the inning.
Meanwhile, the Liberty offense was silent, as well, before scratching over a run in the fourth.
Bradley Moon led off the inning with a single. He stole second and went to third when the thow went into centerfield. Gage Arter grounded out and Moon scored for a 3-1 lead.
After a scoreless fifth, the Hawks broke it open in the sixth, sending 11 batters to the plate and scoring seven runs.
Cardoza led off the inning with a single to left-center. He advanced to third when Porter doubled to right-center. Moon walked to load the bases.
Cardoza scored on a wild pitch to Arter. After Arter struck out, David Williams grounded out and Porter scored.
Levi Ratzlaff followed with a single up the middle to drive in Moon.
Copher lined a single to right center to send Ratzlaff to third. Chase Schellenger drew a walk to load the bases.
Samarin singled up the middle to drive in Ratzlaff and Copher. Cardoza was hit by a pitch, and was happy about it, to load the bases. Porter singled to left to drive in Schellenger and Samarin for the 10-1 lead.
Copher struck out two in the seventh to close out a non-league victory.