Coyotes working to find previous success
Wendy Alexander/The madera Tribune
Madera’s Lealani Ricks tries to put down a bunt during Wednesday’s loss to Clovis East. The lead-off hitter leads the team in batting average and hits this season.
Last season, the Madera Coyotes softball team was riding high after winning its first 12 games, including the last four in Sacramento, and was returning for the home opener.
However, that’s when the season was canceled by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Now, because of effects of the pandemic, the Coyotes are finding tough sledding early in the season. Madera has lost its first six games of the season and has only led for three innings.
In addition, the Coyotes have allowed 53 runs this year in six games compared to 23 in 12 games last year.
Other effects from the pandemic include players not being able to get work in during the offseason and not being able to schedule like teams. After getting pounded by Clovis and Buchanan, the Coyotes found similar teams with Clovis West and Clovis East pm Tuesday and Wednesday in the Buchanan Easter Classic, but lost one-run games.
Head coach Judy Shaubach is hoping that the rest of this week and all of next week off will help her team find the winning formula.
Clovis West 3, Madera 2
Getting handcuffed all game long against the Clovis West Golden Eagles, the Coyotes showed some fight in the top of the seventh inning, trailing 3-0.
Before the seventh, Madera had just three hits against the Golden Eagles’ soft-throwing pitcher.
Alexis Galvan allowed three runs in a complete game. She struck out five and issued a walk.
The Golden Eagles scored a run in the first, fourth and fifth inning for a 3-0 lead before the Coyotes staged a last inning comeback.
With one out, Kailea Ricks singled up the middle. Brianah Hamilton forced Ricks at second.
Kaylee Patlan singled down the left field line to move Hamilton to third while Patlan took second on a throw.
Eliza Nunez blooped a ball to right field that fell off the tip of the right fielder’s glove for a base hit. The right fielder kicked the ball back to the infield and Nunez took second. In the mean time, Hamilton and Patlan scored to cut the Golden Eagles’ lead to one.
Unfortunately, the next batter grounded out to end the game.
Clovis East 9, Madera 8 (9 innings)
The Coyotes used four pitching changes to set up the Clovis East Timberwolves, but a ninth inning rally with a pair of sacrifice bunts gave the Timberwolves the victory Wednesday.
The Coyotes made four pitching changes between Natasha Griffin and Galvan with moderate success.
Although the Timberwolves scored nine runs, Galvan kept them scoreless for three innings heading into the ninth, which started with a lead-off walk.
Madera took a 5-4 lead in the third inning after a five-run inning. They also scored two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to force extra innings, but couldn’t score the game-winner.
Aislynn Jordan and Eliza Nunez each had two hits and each also added a double. Lealani Ricks went 2-for-4 with two RBIs.
The two teams had runners on base all game long. They combined for 23 hits, 12 walks and 18 runners left on base. Clovis East pitchers walked seven Coyotes. Makayla Johnson held the Coyotes to just one hit over 2 /13 innings, but allowed four runs to go with four walks.
Madera took the lead with a five-run third inning sending 10 batters to the plate.
Galvan led off the inning by getting hit by a pitch. Sarah Walter drew a walk. Lealani Ricks grounded out to move the runners to second and third.
Arissa Arias drew another walk to load the bases. Kailea Ricks singled to left to drive in pinch-runner Kaylee Brunolli and keep the bases loaded.
After a pitching change, Hamilton drew a walk to force in Walter. Nunez singled to right field to drive in Arias and Ricks, while Hamilton scored on an error. Nunez advanced to second. Patlan drew a walk and a passed ball moved the runners to second and third. However, a popout and a strikeout ended the threat.
Clovis East scored a pair of runs in the fourth and fifth innings for an 8-5 lead
Madera came back with a run in the sixth. Jordan led off with a double to left-center. Galvan was hit by a pitch again and Walter drew a walk to load the bases.
Lealani Ricks singled up the middle to drive in pinch-runner Brunolli. However, a strikeout, a force out and a flyout ended Madera’s threat.
Madera came back to tie the game in the bottom of the seventh by starting a two out, nobody on rally. Jordan started the rally with a single to left. She advanced to second on Galvan’s single to right with pinch-runner Natasha Griffin advancing to third.
Walter reached on a bunt single to drive in Griffin. Ricks followed with a single up the middle to drive in Galvan. However, Walter was thrown out trying to take third, but the Coyotes tied the score.
Clovis East’s game-winning rally began with a lead-off walk. The next batter put down a sacrifice bunt and caught the Coyotes off guard with the runner advancing to third.
The next batter put down a bunt and the throw to the plate was missed to allow the go-ahead run to score. A pop-out and a groundout ended the inning, but the damage was done.
Madera got a one-out single from Patlan to try to start a ninth-inning rally. The rally was snuffed out by a 6-4-3 double play.
The Coyotes will take a week off to improve and play Clovis East, again, on April 13 for Senior Day.