Courtesy of Melissa Armiento-van Loon
Members of the Madera Coyotes softball team stands with the Madera National Little League softball players who attended Thursday’s regular season finale that saw the Coyotes defeat the Sanger Apaches 8-0.
It took until the fifth inning for the Madera Coyotes softball team’s offense to show its force, but when it did, it was tough to stop in Thursday’s regular season finale at Zimmerman Field against the Sanger Apaches.
Madera’s Alexis Galvan and Sanger’s Emily Fortenay were locked on an old-fashioned softball pitcher’s dual through the first four innings. Galvan allowed one hit through four and Fortenay allowed two.
However, Sanger changed pitchers and it changed the outcome of the game when the Coyotes sent 12 batters to the plate to score all eight runs for an 8-0 victory to close the County/Metro Athletic Conference season with an 8-2 record and give head coach Judy Shaubach her 21st 20-win season (20-8) in her 31st season.
“I thought we stung the ball real hard in the first few inning,” Shaubach said. “We still have to do a better job of moving runners over. Our focus on our bunting has to get better in the next two days before we get into playoffs. In playoffs, you have to move runners over. I still thought we were on our front foot too much. We have to keep our weight centered.”
The Coyotes banged out seven hits in the fifth inning, but just two in the other innings. Fortenay ended up tossing 5 1/3 innings of three-hit ball and two strikeouts. However, the Coyotes stung Malia Alvarez for eight runs on six hits with three walks for the loss.
Coyotes’ freshman ace Galvan continued her hot run of pitching since the team came back from spring break. Over the last four games, she has tossed 20 innings without an earned run an just seven hits allowed She has 27 strikeouts against just two walks with three complete games, including a perfect game.
Galvan tossed another complete game Thursday, holding the Apaches to just two hits and nine strikeouts without a walk.
“My pitcher is getting stronger and getting mature on the mound,” Shaubach said. “Our defense is playing rock solid. I thought the last few games we haven’t made too many mistakes. I’m really pleased of where we’re at on defense and on the mound.
Galvan didn’t allow a runner to get past first base on the two hits, who were both by the same batter, Janessa Montejano. Galvan doubled up Montejano in the third by catching a bunt attempt and getting Montejano at first. Three innings later, after Montejano singled, Galvan struck out the next two batters.
Sofia Perez and Felicity Rocha led the Coyotes’ offense with two hits each. Perez and Eliza DeAnda drove in a pair of runs and Rocha drove in three. Rocha also had her third straight game with a double.
“Offensively, we run the bases really well,” Shaubach said. “We put a lot of pressure on teams by taking the extra base. We’re in a good spot and peaking at the right time of year. I’m excited to see where our playoffs will be.”
The Coyotes put some pressure on Fortenay in every inning, getting a runner on base in each. Madera had a chance to score in the fifth when Perez hit a one-out single up the middle. Joslynn Davis sacrificed pinch-runner Arissa Arias to second and a wild pitch advanced her to third. Ornelas hit a liner to right, but the Sanger right fielder made a running catch to end the inning.
Madera put the game away in the fifth. With one out, Rocha singled up the middle. Lealani Ricks worked a walk on the eighth pitch of the at-bat. Tayah Hernandez followed with another walk to load the bases.
Erika Perez hit an opposite field line drive single to right to score Rocha to break the shutout. DeAnda then ripped a double to left-centerfield to drive in Ricks and Hernandez.
Sofia Perez singled to the opposite field to drive in both her sister, Erika, and DeAnda for a 5-0 lead. Davis forced Perez out at second for the second out of the inning.
Valerie Ornelas singled up the middle to put runners at first and second. Davis then stole third with Mariah McMillon at the plate. The throw to third put the third baseman in the path of Davis and she ran into the Sanger third baseman, who had to leave the game. Pinch-runner Ari Ochoa followed with a steal of second.
McMillon worked a walk on the ninth pitch of the at-bat to load the bases.
Rocha cleared the bases with a double to left-centerfield to drive in Davis, Ornelas and McMillon for the 8-0 lead.
Ricks reached on an infield single, but Sanger caught Rocha going to third to end the inning.
Galvan retired the first seven batters in a row to open the game and then retired nine more after her first single. After the second single, she retired the final five in a row with four strikeouts.