Coyotes get scrappy first win


Tyler Takeda/The Madera Tribune

Madera’s David Zavala reaches out for one of his two hits Saturday night against the Chowchilla Tribe.

The Madera Coyotes baseball team played its first game in 13 months, after getting just eight games in 2020, and came away with a 6-2 victory over Chowchilla in the first game of the Fresno Easter Classic in Mel Parker Field.


The Coyotes led from the first inning and used a run in the fourth and three more in the sixth to close out the victory Saturday night.


“The guys are playing tight,” head coach Andy Underwood said. “A lot of this is new for a lot of them. We only got eight games last year. We missed the summer, missed the fall, missed the winter. I’m playing guys who played eight freshman baseball games and they are playing varsity baseball. It’s a big jump. They were tight because they want to do well. They need to learn to relax and enjoy the game and enjoy the moment.”


Starter Nathaniel Martinez allowed a hit in two innings to go with three strikeouts. Evan Candelaria allowed two runs, one earned, in his inning of work. Izaak Murillo earned the win. He tossed 2 2/3 innings with three hits and four strikeouts. Nathan Palacioz closed the door with two strikeouts and no hits over 1 1/3 innings to earn the save.


“Our pitching plan went out the window in the second inning,” Underwood said. “Nate had a sore arm. Candelaria threw a bullpen so he was a little tired. I thought Murillo did a great job and Palacioz shut everything down. Palacioz is the one guy on our pitching staff that has the go-getter attitude that doesn’t back down from anything and wants a challenge. He’s going to have to start for us. He’s got a good mentality for baseball.”


David Zavala was the only Coyote with more than one hit. Isaac Flores, from the No. 9 spot in the order, had the big hit with a two-run triple in the sixth.


“He’s got a lot of pop in his bat,” Underwood said. “The only reason why he’s batting ninth is he’s been struggling a little bit. He’s been pulling off the ball in the scrimmage games. He’s can get one out of here. He’s a good nine-hole hitter. That was a big hit.”


Madera got on the board in the first inning. Logan Wattenbarger singled to lead off the inning. He advanced to second on a wild pitch. Murillo reached on a bunt single and Wattenbarger scored when the throw to get Murillo sailed to the outfield.


Murillo advanced to second on a passed ball. After two strikeouts, Zavala reached on an infield single to third. Murillo came in to score on a wild throw to first for a 2-0 lead.


The Tribe tied the score in the third. Candelaria was greeted with a single to open the inning. The runner stole second and went to third on a wild pitch. After a strikeout, a single drove in the Tribe’s first run.


After a flyout, the Tribe singled to put runners at first and third. An error allowed the tying run to score. With runners at first and second, Candelaria got a strikeout to get out of the inning.


Madera reclaimed the lead in the fourth. Zavala singled up the middle and went to second on Candelaria’s bunt single. Marcus DeFranco sacrificed the runners 90 feet. Tyler Zamora blooped a single to right to drive in Zavala. However, two batters later, Candelaria was thrown out at the plate trying to score on a wild pitch, but Madera led 3-2.


The Coyotes added to the lead in the sixth. With one out, Candelaria drew a walk. DeFranco singled to left to put runners on first and second. After a popout, Flores hit a fly ball down the right field line for a triple to drive in Candelaria and DeFranco for two insurance runs.


Flores scored on a wild pitch to Wattenbarger for a 6-2 lead.


Palacioz closed out the game with a nine-pitch seventh on a groundout, strikeout and popout.


Madera continued in the Easter Classic on Monday at Central. They host Fresno Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. and close out the tournament at Buchanan at 11 a.m.

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