Tyler Takeda/The Madera Tribune
Madera South’s Elena Garica connects with a pitch during Monday’s comeback victory over Riverdale.
CLOVIS — The Madera South Stallions softball team rallied from an early deficit to take down Riverdale 10-9 in the Buchanan Tournament.
Stallions head coach Peter Gallegos said the team is still struggling with inexperience, but they’ve shown their ability to bounce back.
“These girls are young,” Gallegos said. “At times, they get a little shell-shocked. But once they settle down, they’re okay.”
Trailing 7-1 Monday evening, the Stallions found their rhythm in the fourth inning while facing pitcher Katie Simas.
Emma Howe started the Stallions’ rally with an RBI single to drive in Mariah Williams. Eliana Tovar followed up with another RBI, driving in Anna Garcia.
With a deep shot to center field, Taylor Valerio drove in Howe. Jessica Garcia tallied the final RBI of the inning when she drove in Tovar, cutting Riverdale’s lead to 7-5.
Riverdale responded with two runs against Valerio in the bottom of the fourth. Simas drove in the two runs for Riverdale, giving her team a 9-5 lead.
But the Stallions’ offense continued to click in the fifth inning. Howe made sure of that when she drove in Williams and Garcia. After Gianna Rodriguez drove in two more runs, Trinity Chavez scored the go-ahead run for the Stallions off a Valerio groundout.
With Valerio still on the mound in the bottom of the fifth inning, the Stallions’ shut out Riverdale to complete the comeback.
“This team is pretty young, but they always find a way to comeback, whether we do it on offense or defense. Today, it was on offense,” Gallegos said.
With several close games already behind them in the early season, Gallegos said that will be a valuable experience for his team.
“Every single game we played in, we’ve been in tight games,” Gallegos said. “We’ve been able to come back, so that’s a good moral booster. I told the girls, ‘pat the girl on the back that did well, but pat the girl on the back that didn’t do well.’ It’s easy to fix the mistakes we’re making, but it’s harder to fix the team camaraderie and they have that already. I want them to keep that.”
The Stallions are off to a 3-2-1 start in the early season.
“We can fix the fundamental mistakes,” Gallegos said. “I’m liking the progress we’re making.”
Stallions settle for tie with LeGrand
The Madera South Stallions took the lead in the top of the sixth inning, but LeGrand came back with four runs in the bottom of the inning to tie the game as time expired on the first day of the Buchanan Preseason Tournament.
The Stallions were trailing by five after the first two innings, but came back to tie the game at nine Monday night.
The Stallions didn’t start going until the fourth inning. Before that, the Stallions were held to no hits and just two baserunners in the first three innings.
Elena Garcia led off the fourth with a single. Joc Mendez singled Garcia to second. Anna Garcia reached on an error to drive in Elena Garcia for a 3-1 LeGrand lead.
Madera South came back in the fifth inning. With one out, Alexis Ramirez drew a walk. After a flyout, Trinity Chavez reached on an error. Garcia then doubled down the right field line to drive in Ramirez and Chavez to tie the score through five innings.
Williams allowed two runs in the first that was helped by a pair of errors and a pair of walks. A single, fielder’s choice, error and double drove in three more runs for LeGrand in the second.
Williams got in and out of trouble, with the help of LeGrand over the next three innings.
LeGrand drew a walk to open the third, but a line-up error erased the runner. LeGrand got a one-out triple in the fourth, but Williams struck out the next batter and got a groundout back to the box.
In the fifth, LeGrand led off with a single. The next batter sacrificed the runner to second. Taylor Valerio threw the runner out at third trying to take the extra base for a double play.
The Stallions’ comeback began with Anna Garcia in the top of the sixth with a single. Williams added a single to move Garcia to third. Jocelyn Ochoa put down a bunt to drive in Garcia. Emma Howe reached on a fielder’s choice as Williams came in to score.
Alexis Ramirez singled and Valerio singled home Howe. After a failed bunt attempt, Elena Garcia singled home Ramirez. Mendez came through with an RBI single for a 9-5 Stallions’ lead.
Unfortunately, the lead was short lived. Madera South committed errors on the first four batters of the inning.
A pair of groundouts scored two runs and a pair of singles scored the next two runs before time ran out ending the game in a 9-9 tie.