Molina, Arias leads Perko’s in City Championship game
Tyler Takeda/The Madera Tribune Perko’s teammates surround Benji Molina, helmet without bat, after he hit his second home run of the City Championship game.
All Perko’s Café pitcher Adam Arias needed was two swings of the bat from Benji Molina and the Madera American Little League champions defeated Madera National Little League champions Drs. Stevinsons, 9-1, in the City Championship game.
Arias scattered four hits in a complete game victory. He struck out seven, didn’t walk a batter and allowed an unearned run.
“He did really well for us,” Perko’s manager Mike Molina said. “He just started pitching this year so he hasn’t pitched under pressure. He kind of loses it a bit. He didn’t lose it and hit all his spots, came through and let his defense make plays. It was good for him. He needed to step up and he did.”
Molina swung the bat three times. He hit a home run on the third pitch of the game and after swinging and missing, hit an 0-2 pitch way over the centerfield fence for a three-run home run.
“That was pretty good,” manager Molina said. “There’s been a lot of good players to play in a City Championship game, but I don’t think anyone had that good of game. It was fun to watch.”
For good measure, Perko’s added five insurance runs in the top of the sixth, taking advantage of the second of Molina’s intentional walks.
“The last three games, the kids from our team have been pumped up like I’ve never seen them before,” Molina said. “They were all fired up for this game.”
Timmy Nino suffered the loss after two innings of work. He struck out four and allowed three hits and four runs. Chris Diaz was solid in four innings of work. He struck out seven and the five sixth inning runs, all unearned.
Robbie Reynoso, Josh Alvarez and Elijah Tang also had two hits for Perko’s. Zachary Robbins had two hits for Drs. Stevinsons.
On a 1-1 pitch to open the game, Molina hit a no-doubter into the trees beyond the centerfield fence to get Perko’s on the board early.
Perko’s tried to add another run after Eli Martinez drew a walk. Reynoso forced Martinez at second. However, Reynoso went to second on a wild pitch and went to third on an error. After Josh Alvarez was walked, Reynoso was tagged out trying to steal home.
In the second, David Moles hit an 0-2 pitch up the middle for a single for Perko’s. After a strikeout for the second out of the inning, Mikey Flowers drew a full-count walk to put runners at first and second.
Molina looked at a strike and then swung and missed. He got a hittable 0-2 pitch and sent it into the night over the left-centerfield fence for a three-run home run and a 4-0 lead.
After Arias retired the first five in order, Ricky Palacioz broke the no-hit bid with a triple to right, but was stranded after a strikeout.
Although Garcia allowed baserunners in three innings, he kept Perko’s off the scoreboard until the ill-fated sixth inning.
Drs. Stevinsons got on the scoreboard in the third inning with a two-out, nobody-on rally. Diaz started the rally by reaching on an error. He came all the way around to score on a double to center from Robbins.
Arias settled down and retired the next eight batters in a row before allowing two singles in the sixth.
Perko’s started a two-out rally in the top of the sixth. Isaiah Pinto drew a walk, but Flowers forced him at second for the second out. Molina was intentionally walked and, this time, it hurt Drs. Stevinsons.
Arias drew a walk to load the bases. Two errors drove in Flowers and Molina. Reynoso split the right-center gap for a triple while Arias and Martinez scored.
Alvarez blooped a single behind first base to drive in Reynoso for the fifth run of the inning.
With two on in the sixth, Arias got a grounder back to him to close out the City Championship with a 9-1 victory.
The two teams played each other again on Tuesday to open the District 10 Tournament of Champions. The winners plays on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. against Chowchilla or Reedley.