Rustiness shows in loss to Cougars


Tyler Takeda/The Madera Tribune

Madera catcher Nevaeh Montes gets ready to put the tag on Clovis’ Kaylynn Munoz during Saturday’s loss.

The Madera Coyotes softball team may be playing behind the eight ball all season.


After their 12-0 season was derailed last season, the Coyotes are looking for players with just 12 games of varsity experience or less under their belts to battle some of the top teams in the Central Section.


Because of effects from the pandemic, the Coyotes were forced to adjust scheduling this season and will face four of the five Clovis schools in the Clovis Easter Classic.


The Coyotes opened the classic on Saturday with a 10-0 mercy-rule loss to the Clovis Cougars. They lost to Buchanan on Monday, Clovis West on Tuesday and will play Clovis East on Wednesday.


“We have to work to play Coyote softball,” head coach Judy Shaubach said. “We aren’t doing that yet and it’s showing.”


The Cougars limited the Coyotes to just five hits Saturday afternoon to go with 10 strikeouts.


Meanwhile, Madera had its problems putting the ball in play and playing solid defense. They committed five errors against the Cougars. In just four games this year, the Coyotes have committed 13 errors, the same number Madera committed in 12 games last year.


Against the Cougars, Lealani Ricks led the team with two hits. Arissa Arias, Kailea Ricks and Sarah Walter each had hits.


Of the Coyotes’ starting nine, five received significant playing time in 12 games last year and only two played significant innings two years ago. In addition, a number of players hadn’t picked up a ball in almost a year and are catching up to the season.


The Cougars scored three runs in the first with only one hit. A walk and two errors led to two unearned runs.


Clovis added five runs in the second, highlighted by a three-run opposite-field home run.


The Cougars added two more runs in the third on back-to-back doubles and back-to-back errors for the 10-0 victory.

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