Coyotes fall just short in comeback attempt
Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera’s Kristian Gomez slides safely into home plate to score the Coyotes’ first run in a 7-5 quarterfinal playoff loss on May 8.
The Madera Coyotes baseball team couldn’t get away from the one bad inning and fell just short in a 7-5 Div. II first round Central Section playoff game against the Tulare Union Tribe.
The sixth-seeded Coyotes put the game-winning runs on base in the bottom of the seventh, but a grounded ended Madera’s inning and sent the 11th seeded Tribe to the quarterfinals against Fresno High School.
The Tribe scored five runs in the fifth inning to turn a one-run lead into a 7-1 lead it would desperately hang on to until the final out was recorded on May 7.
“They really took advantage of the inning,” head coach Andy Underwood said. “We walked the No. 8 hitter and we fudged up two bunts in a row to load the bases. Unfortunately for us, they capitalized and took advantage. It was a game of swings and momentum. Our kids fought real hard.”
The Coyotes responded with three runs in the bottom of the fifth and made the game close with a run in the seventh and the bases loaded with two outs before the final out was recorded.
“In the fifth, I thought we should have gotten a couple more,” Underwood said. “That would have given us a real legit chance at tying or winning it in the seventh. Even at that, we still gave it a good run. We kept pushing and came up a hit short.”
Seven different Coyotes had a hit in the game and Madera left 10 runners on base compared to two by the Tribe.
“We had some chances early in the game,” Underwood said. “(Tommy) Molina lined out to left. He hit the ball a little too hard and it hung up long enough for the left fielder to make a play. That was a big play. I thought if we could have gotten the first run, it would have been big.”
Both teams were scoreless through the first three innings before the Tribe put two runs on the board in the fourth inning.
After a groundout, the Tribe followed with three straight hits for a 2-0 lead to chase starting pitcher Alek Trukki.
Molina came in and shut the door to end the inning.
Madera came back to cut the lead in half. With one out, Kristian Gomez reached on an error. Nikayha Castro was hit by a pitch. After a flyout for the second out, Isaiah Monge singled up the middle to drive in Gomez for a 2-1 Tulare lead.
However, the Tribe got to Molina in the fifth. A lead off walk followed by two singles and another walk led to another run scored.
A sacrifice fly drove in another run, but Ben Pederson put the game out of reach with a three-run home run, his third hit of the game for a 7-1 lead.
Madera put up a threat in the fifth inning. Cole Brincefield and Shane Pursell opened the inning with singles. Molina followed with a single to drive in Brincefield. Jonathan Ramirez was hit by a pitch to load the bases and Kristian Gomez drew a walk to force in Pursell.
After a popout, Sam Hass grounded out to drive in Molina to cut the lead to 7-4.
After allowing the home run in the fifth, Castro settled down and retired next eight batters in a row, including four by strikeout.
With one out in the seventh, Ramirez started a rally with a double down the left field line. Gomez reached on a throwing error and Castro flied out to drive in Ramirez.
Hass reached on a wild pitch third strike and Monge drew a walk to load the bases with the tying run at second base.
Raymond Perez was summoned off the bench and hit a scorcher up the middle that was fielded by the Tulare shortstop, who touched second to end the game and the Coyotes’ season.