Walk off keeps MNLL 8-10s alive for finals
Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera National’s Aiden Moles runs under Reedley catcher Jonah Thomas to score the game-tying run in the bottom of the fifth inning. It was the first of three comebacks for Madera National in a 6-5, nine-inning win Thursday.
After getting sent to the loser’s bracket of the District 10 8-10-year-old All-Star Tournament, Madera National Little League had to come back twice to win a nine-inning elimination game to stay alive.
Madera National then went on to defeat Selma the next night and faced Chowchilla Monday in the District 10 title game. Madera National had to beat Chowchilla twice so they hope to be playing on Tuesday, as well.
However, to get to the title game, Madera National had to overcome two extra inning deficits for a 6-5 victory Thursday over Reedley with Joshua Sandoval scoring the winning run on a wild pitch.
“This is great and amazing to come back from that loss,” head coach Richard Palacioz said. “I couldn’t be prouder of the kids to come back from the loss the previous night. They took the tough loss and played well tonight.”
Madera National was sent to the loser’s bracket of the double elimination tournament with a 10-1 loss to River Park.
Then, Madera National defeated Selma, 12-6, on Friday to advance to the championship game Monday. Madera National scored five runs in the first and five more in fourth to seal the victory.
“I told the kids to never give up the fight.” Palacioz said. “You play until the last out. I preached that through the whole game. As long as we’re fighting, we have a chance.”
Although limited to just five hits, Ryan Atherton led Madera Naitonal with two hits and an RBI. Josh Contreras had the biggest hit with an RBI triple in the eighth inning to tie the score.
Carlos Gomez got the win in relief. He tossed the final five innings with two strikeouts and two hits. He allowed three runs, all unearned. Jace Rios tossed the first four inning and allowed two runs, one earned, on two hits with eight strikeouts.
Madera National got on the scoreboard in the first inning. With one out, Jaydon Roman reached on an error. He stole second after a strikeout and scored on a single by Atherton for a 1-0 lead.
Reedley tied the score in the next half inning on a single and three wild pitches.
Reedley then scored a run in the fourth on a hit batter, a sacrifice bunt with an error and a passed ball for a 2-1 lead.
Madera National put the pressure on in the fifth inning. Anthony Bursey led off by reaching on an error. He was forced at second by Roman and Sandoval forced Roman at second.
Sandoval went to second on a single to left by Athelrton. Aiden Juarez reached on a fielder’s choice when the Reedley shortstop missed second base trying to force Atherton and pinch-runner Aiden Moles kept running around the bases to tie the score.
Madera National had a chance at a walk off in the sixth with two outs. Bursey started the rally with a double into the left-center gap and Roman drew a walk. Sandoval hit a short fly ball to left, but the Reedley left fielder made a diving catch to end the inning and send the game to extra innings.
Meanwhile, Gomez stranded a baserunner in scoring position in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings to keep the game tied.
In the eighth, with a runner at second because of the international tiebreaker, Gomez got a popout for the first out. The next batter put down a bunt, but a wild throw allowed the go-ahead run to score and the hitter to advance to third. Two batters later, a passed ball allowed Reedley to take a 4-2 lead.
With one out in the eighth, Contreras lined an opposite field hit down the right field line that got past the right fielder. Josiah Mejia scored and Contreras stopped at third with a triple.
“That gave us the momentum and got us through that inning,” Palacioz said. “We had a gameplan. We talked about the game, but we have to get guys on base. Once we get guys on base, we got the top of the lineup coming to knock them in.”
Bursey hit a fly ball to center and Contreras scored on the sacrifice fly to tie the score at four.
In the ninth, a sacrifice and a two-out wild pitches allowed Reedley to score the go-ahead run.
In the ninth, Roman started the rally by stealing third. Sandoval drew a walk.
With Atherton at the plate, Roman scored on a wild pitch and Sandoval advanced to second. Sandoval then went to third on another wild pitch. Reedley threw another wild pitch and Sandoval scored without a slide for the walk-off victory.