DINUBA — When the Madera South baseball team was given the No. 13 seed — the lowest one in the Central Section Division III playoffs — by the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) committee in Porterville, Stallion head coach John Fernandez couldn’t help but think that decision was an insult to his players and staff.
“Getting the 13th seed was somewhat surprising but in the beginning, we didn’t know for sure if we were going to the playoffs,” Fernandez said. “We had established some benchmarks early in the season and didn’t meet them. We thought long and hard as a coaching staff if we should go, so we asked the boys why should they go and they came up with some very strong arguments.”
It appears the players made the right decision after the Stallions (11-18) picked up their second straight postseason upset victory in a 6-4 triumph at No. 12 Dinuba on Friday and advanced to the Div. III semifinals for the third time in the program’s history.
“It’s first time that we asked the players if they wanted to go to the playoffs,” Fernandez said. “The community was very supportive and expressed their opinions as well but in the end it came down to the kids. When we had the team meeting and talked about it that pretty much sealed the deal for me.” ...