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Madera wins two, falls in semis

Benny Munoz/The Madera Tribune

Madera’s David Ramirez throws a pitch in Sunday’s loss to Bakersfield Northwest. Ramirez tossed 4 1/3 innings and allowed on unearned run before leaving with the lead.


The Madera Babe Ruth 14-year-old All-Star team was looking for a day off Monday after three straight games in the Central California Babe Ruth 14-year-old All-Star State Tournament in Madera.

However, mistakes led the way in a 5-4, 11-inning loss to Bakersfield Northwest on Sunday, forcing Madera into an elimination game Monday against Santa Maria. The winner faced Bakersfield Northwest on Tuesday for a chance to head to Babe Ruth Regionals in Utah.

Madera committed six errors in Sunday’s loss and Bakersfield’s first two runs were unearned. Madera opened the tournament with a dominating 14-0 victory over Lompoc on Friday. They followed that with a spirited 8-2 win against Reedley on Saturday for a trip into the semifinals. Madera 14, Lompoc 0

Sparked by the pitching performance of Murf Gray, Madera banged out 13 hits — all singles — in a five-inning, mercy-rule victory over Lompoc.

Gray allowed three hits over four innings. He struck out 10 and didn’t issue a walk. He also went 3-for-4 at the plate with a run scored and two RBIs.

Every player in the starting line-up had at least a hit, scored a run or drove in a run. Isaiah Monge, Michael Monreal, Ivin Ponce and Evan Candelaria each scored two runs. Candelaria also had two hits and drove in a pair. David Ramirez drove in two runs.

Lead-off batter David Zavala, who reached base three times all by an error, led off the bottom of the first by reaching second on an error. He scored on a Gray single for a 1-0 lead.

Candelaria drew a one-out walk in the second. After a strikeout, J.R. Garcia and Brian Monges singled to load the bases. Zavala reached on an error to drive in Candelaria. Ramirez followed with a single to drive in Garcia and Monges.

In the third, Monge led off with a walk. Monreal and Ponce were hit by pitches to load the bases. Candelaria singled home Monge and Isaac Flores was hit by another pitch to force in Monreal. After a strikeout and a fly out, Zavala reached on an error and Ponce scored for a 7-0 lead.

Madera put the game away in the fourth with seven runs, sending 13 batters to the plate. Gray led off the inning with a double and scored on a double from Monge. Monreal singled and Ponce singled home Monge. Candelaria singled home Monreal for a 10-0 lead.

After a strikeout, Matthew DeFranco singled home Ponce. After Anthony Gamiz drew a walk and a strikeout, Ramirez reached on an error to score Candelaria. Gray singled home DeFranco and Marcus DeFranco singled home Gamiz for a 14-0 lead.

Flores came in to relieve Gray in the fifth. He allowed a lead-off walk, but got a double play ball and a pop out to end the game with the win. Madera 8, Reedley 2

In a gutsy game pitched by Candelaria, the Madera bats came to life with 16 hits to score eight runs.

Candelaria pitched to his limit of 95 pitches and went 5 2/3 innings. He allowed one hit and an unearned run. He could have gone the distance, but he walked seven batters and struck out two. Matthew DeFranco finished out the game and allowed an unearned run in 1 1/3 innings.

Monges led the Madera offense from the bottom spot in the order with three hits and two runs scored. Lead off batter Zavala also scored two runs. Monge, Ponce and Flores each hit doubles. Ramirez and Monge drove in three runs each.

The game was scoreless through the first two innings before the bottom part of the Madera order got to the Reedley pitcher.

Flores led off the inning with a single to left. After a strikeout, Monges reached on an infield single. Zavala singled to right-center to drive in Flores and send Monges to third. Ramirez flew out to center, but Monges came in to score for a 2-0 lead.

Gray singled Zavala to third and stole second. Monge followed with a two-run single to right for a 4-0 lead.

Madera had three hits in the fourth inning, but couldn’t push over a run.

Madera added to its lead in the fifth with a two out, nobody on rally. Monge started the rally with an infield single. Monreal was hit by a pitch and Ponce singled home Monge. Candelaria singled to left to load the bases, but a groundout ended the inning with a 5-0 lead.

Candelaria had problems with control in the first three innings. He didn’t allow a hit, but walked five. However, he got out of trouble each time with Reedley getting a runner into scoring position with less than one out.

Madera put the game away in the top of the sixth. Garcia led off the inning with a single to left. He went to second on a Monges single to left. Zavala forced Garcia at third, but Ramirez tripled to the left-centerfield fence to drive in Monges and Zavala.

After Gray drew a walk, Monge flew out to left to drive in Ramirez for an 8-0 lead.

With one out in the sixth, Reedley reached on an error, advanced to second on an error and scored on a groundout.

Reedley added another run in the seventh against DeFranco. After getting a pair of groundouts, he allowed a double to right center. The next batter reached on an error and the run scored for the 8-2 final. Bakersfield NW 5, Madera 4, 11 innings

For most of the game, it looked like Madera was in control. They took a 2-0 lead, then a 4-1 lead and led by two heading into the seventh inning.

Bakersfield battled back with two runs in the bottom of the seventh to force extra innings and pushed over a run in the bottom of the 11th to walk-off into the semifinals.

David Ramirez got the start and held Bakersfield in check through 4 1/3 innings. He allowed an unearned run, struck out five and walked two on four hits. Michael Monreal allowed two runs, one unearned in 1 2/3 innings while battling an inconsistent plate umpire. Gray tossed four innings and allowed a run in the seventh.

Zavala, Ramirez and Ponce each had two hits for Madera. Gray and Ponce each drove in two runs. Madera left eight runners on base while Bakersfield had its chances, but left 12 runners on base.

Both starters were cruising until the fourth inning. With two outs, Madera started a two out, nobody on rally. Monreal led off the inning with a single. Candelaria drew a walk to chase starter Blake Edgmon.

A wild pitch sent pinch-runner Anthony Gamiz to third and Candelaria to second. Ponce greeted Bakersfield’s Holden Garcia with a single up the middle to drive in Gamiz and Candelaria.

Ponce stole second and Flores walked, but the next batter forced Flores at second and Madera led 2-0.

In the bottom of the fourth, Bakersfield led off with a single and a wild pitch to second. A single put runners at second and third. An infield single to third loaded the bases.

The next batter hit a grounder to Monreal at first. He threw a strike to Monge at the plate for an apparent forceout. The plate umpire ruled Monge off the plate with the catch and called the runner safe to cut Madera’s lead in half.

Madera battled back in the fifth inning. Zavala led off the inning with a single to right. Ramirez singled to left. Gray followed with a double to deep left field to drive in Zavala and Ramirez. However, Gray was tagged out trying to stretch his double into a triple, but Madera led 4-1.

With one out in the fifth and two balls on the batter, Ramirez was lifted for Monreal on the mound. He walked the batter. The next batter reached on an error. Monreal struck out the next batter, but another error allowed a run to score to cut the lead in half, again.

Madera put two runners on base in the sixth and another in the seventh, but couldn’t get a run to score.

Bakersfield put together a rally in the bottom of the seventh inning. Monreal walked the lead off batter to open the seventh. Gray came in relief and got a popout.

Bakersfield singled twice to drive in a run. Bakersfield executed a first-and-third stolen base to steal home with the game-tying run.

Gray got a flyout and a popout to end the inning. He allowed three baserunners in the next three innings. Two of those runners were erased by a pickoff and a caught stealing.

Over the final four innings, Madera reached base three times, but all three times the lead-off runner was forced out.

In the bottom of the seventh, Bakersfield greeted Flores with a single to left. A wild pick-off throw sent the game-winning run to second. The next batter hit a grounder to short. Zavala tried to get the runner going to third, but threw too high and the runner was safe.

Flores got a flyout to left on a Bakersfield hit-and-run. The Bakersfield runner at first didn’t get back to first and Madera doubled him off first for the second out.

The next batter hit a soft liner up the middle for the game-winning hit and send Madera to the loser’s bracket.

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