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All-Stars battle back to quarters

Courtesy of Matthew Borges

The Madera Babe Ruth 13-year-old All-Star team competes in the Pacific Southwest Regionals in Vernal, Utah, this week. Madera won its opening game, but dropped the second. However, Madera rebounded with a 10-4 victory over Tucson on Thursday morning.


After suffering its first loss in the Pacific Southwest Regionals, the Madera Babe Ruth 13-year-old All-Star team bounced back to advance to the quarterfinals.

Madera, winners of the California NorCal State championship, opened the series with a 10-1 victory over North Sanpete, representing Utah. Starting pitcher Murf Gray was named the team’s MVP for the game.

With the win, Madera received a day off, but lost to Tri-Counties, 10-2, before bouncing back Thursday with a 10-4 victory over Tucson. David Zavala earned the team’s MVP nod against Tri-Counties while Josh Castro earned the MVP honors against Tucson.

Madera advanced to the quarterfinals and played elimination games Friday for a chance at a regional championship. Saturday’s championship game begins at 9 a.m.

Madera 10, Sanpete 1

In the opening game of the tournament, Madera got an outstanding pitching performance by Gray, who didn’t pitch much in the Norcal State Championships in Bakersfield.

He allowed just one run on two hits in 6 2/3 innings. He walked one, struck out 10 on 95 pitches. Isaiah Monge finished up the game by getting the final out on a comebacker to the mound.

Gray, David Ramirez and Charlie Monterrosa each scored two runs to lead the offense. Monge drove in four runs with a double and two singles and Monterrosa also drove in a pair.

Madera got on the board in the first inning and didn’t stop until the North Sanpete was in its wake. Zavala led off the top of the first by reaching on an error. Ivin Ponce singled Zavala to third and Gray drove Zavala in with a sacrifice fly.

In the third, J.R. Garcia led off with a walk. Ponce singled, followed by walks to Gray and Ramirez to drive in Garcia. Monterrosa singled to center to drive in Ponce.

Isaiah Monge followed with a two-run double, driving in Gray and Ramirez for a 5-0 lead.

Madera added another run in the fifth when Monterrosa drew a walk and Monge drove him in with a single.

Madera put the game away in the sixth with a two out, none on rally. Gray singled to start the rally. Ramirez followed with another single. Monterrosa and Monge hit RBI singles to drive in Gray and Ramirez. Monterrosa and Monge came in to score on wild pitches for the 10-1 victory.

Sanpete’s lone run occurred in the sixth. Gray walked his only batter and he came in to score on an RBI single.

Tri-Counties 10, Madera 2

Tri-Counties got to Madera starter Ramirez early and often in Madera’s second game of the tournament.

Tri-Counties jumped all over Ramirez with six runs in the first two innings. Many of Tri-Counties’ hits came on Ramirez’s first pitch to the plate.

Tri-Counties scored three runs in the first and added two more runs in the third for a 5-0 lead.

Left fielder Logan Wattenbarger helped keep Madera in the game in the fourth inning by throwing out a runner at the plate with a perfect throw to catcher Isaiah Monge.

Madera added a run in the fifth when Michael Monreal singled and scored on an error. Gray scored a run in the third after a single to left. Ramirez and Monterrosa were each hit by a pitch and Monge grounded out to drive in Gray.

However, Tri-Counties closed the game with four runs in the top of the seventh inning for the victory.

Madera 10, Tucson 4

Madera scored five runs in the first and jumped out to a 7-2 lead to roll to a 10-4 victory to eliminate the Nevada state champions.

Castro struck out five batters through 5 1/3 innings. He allowed three runs, but retired nine straight before he left the game in the sixth.

Gray allowed a run in the seventh, but got a ground ball to Ivin Ponce at second to end the ball game and send Madera to the quarterfinals Friday.

Zavala led off the game with a double, but he was tagged out on a ground ball from Gray. However, Gray came around to score on a Ramirez single for the early 1-0 lead.

Monge started the second with a double and Evan Candelaria doubled him home. Monreal was hit by a pitch. After a strikeout, Ponce singled to right to drive in Candelaria. Monreal came in to score on a wild pitch. Zavala walked and stole second and Gray walked to load the bases. Ramirez drove in Ponce and Zavala with a double for a 6-0 lead.

Tucson scored a run in the bottom of the inning on a lead-off solo home run.

Madera answered with a run in the top of the third. Candelaria led off the inning with a single and came around to score for a 7-1 lead.

Tucson added two runs in the third on back-to-back singles followed by a walk, a hit batter to drive in a run and a groundout to drive in another run.

After going scoreless in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings despite getting runners on base in all three innings, Madera added insurance runs in the seventh.

Ramirez reached base with a single and Monterrosa singled. Monge reached on a walk to load the bases. Candelaria forced out Monterrosa at third, but Ramirez came in to score.

Monreal put down a squeeze bunt, but Monge didn’t break to the plate. Wattenbarger struck out, but a wild throw to third scored Monge and Candelaria for a 10-3 lead heading into the bottom of the seventh inning.

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