The Madera Coyotes baseball team overcame a three-run deficit in the bottom of the seventh inning to force extra innings against the Fresno Warriors in Mel Parker field at the Coca-Cola Classic.
The Warriors scored four runs in the top of the sixth inning to take the lead, but the Coyotes banged out three hits in the bottom of the seventh for the tie Tuesday afternoon.
The Coyotes had chances in the eighth and ninth innings, but couldn’t push across the winning run and the game ended in the dreaded tie because of tournament rules.
“I’m upset with the way we came out,” head coach Andy Underwood said. “Our pre-game wasn’t great, our catch wasn’t great, hitting in the cage wasn’t great, stretching wasn’t great. We come out and put up two runs with nobody out and a runner at second. Then, we go punch out, punch out, punch out. That can’t happen. We have to make things happens there. From there until the fifth inning, we were flat in the dugout and flat offensively. The guys got into their own approaches and away from what we were trying to do.”
Kristian Gomez and Caleb Cardoso each had two hits with two RBIs to lead the Coyotes’ offense.
Starter Nate Martinez tossed 5 2/3 innings, but was hit for five runs, three earned. He struck out two and allowed seven hits. Isaac Murillo finished the sixth and didn’t allow a run over 1 1/3 innings. Nate Palacioz allowed two hits over the final two innings and struck out three.
“Palacioz is a competitor,” Underwood said. “He wants to be out there every pitch. He’s got a little salt and vinegar in him. He gets after it. He’s fun to watch play.”
Things seemed to go Madera’s way in the bottom of the first inning. Jonathan Ramirez led off with a bunt single and stole second. Ramirez advanced to third on a wild pitch while Raymond Perez drew a walk.
Gomez reached on an infield single while Ramirez scored. Cardoso singled up the middle to drive in Perez and put runners at first and second with one out. However, the next three batters struck out to end the threat.
In the second, Madera had another chance. With one out, Martinez reached on an error. After a popout, Perez singled and Gomez walked to load the bases, but another strikeout ended the inning.
From there, Madera went punchless. Ten of the next 11 batters were retired heading into the seventh inning trailing 5-2.
Fresno pushed over a run in the top of the second. With one out, Martinez allowed a single. A groundout advanced the runner to second and a two-out single cut Madera’s lead to 2-1.
Mistakes plagued the Coyotes in the top of the sixth. Fresno led off with a double to right-center. A bad pick-off throw advanced the tying run to third. After a walk, Fresno singled to right to drive in the tying run. With runners at first and second, a single to center gave the Warriors a 3-2 lead.
The next two batters were retired, but an error allowed two more Warriors’ runners to score for a 5-2 lead. Murillo got out of the inning with a flyout to left with runners at second and third.
“We made some mistakes and had a lack of awareness on the bases,” Underwood said. “We have a lot of things to learn. I told the guys I was proud of them coming back, though.”
Madera got back into the game in the bottom of the seventh. Murillo led off the inning with a single to center and moved to second on an error.
After a popout, Perez drew a walk. Gomez doubled to deep centerfield to drive in pinch-runner Jordan De La Rosa with pinch-runner Noah Angulo taking third.
Caleb Cardoso flew out to center to drive in Angulo. Palacioz doubled to deep centerfield to drive in Gomez with the tying run.
“We got a pinch base hit and we rolled from there,” Underwood said. “It was a tough one. You make so many mistakes in the game, but come back and fight at the end. You’re torn because it was a tie.”
Madera threatened in the bottom of the eighth when Daniel Juarez reached on an error.
De La Rosa was hit by a pitch. After a strikeout, Perez was hit by a pitch to load the bases. However, Gomez flew out to shallow right to end the inning.
However, the Coyotes nor the Warriors could add a run in extra innings for a nine-inning tie.