Stallions overcome nerves to open season
The Madera South Stallions softball team opened the season with three errors in the first inning, but soon righted the ship for a 7-2 victory over the Hoover-Fresno Patriots.
After Hoover scored a pair of unearned runs in the first, the Stallions scored four in the bottom of the first and cruised to a season-opening victory.
“We definitely we had first inning jitters,” head coach Peter Gallegos said. “I told them to welcome to varsity softball. They are pretty young and are learning. I was proud of the girls after they settled down.”
Taylor Valerio picked up the win. She allowed two unearned runs on two hits with four strikeouts. Freshman Mariah Williams earned a three inning save. She allowed an unearned run, struck out six, but walked four.
“They have completely different pitching styles,” Gallegos said. “One likes to go faster and the other likes to go slower. We made the change to change their rhythm.”
Trinity Chavez led the Stallions with two of the team’s five hits. Elena Garcia, Williams and Jessica Garcia each had hits.
Madera South drew four walks and were hit by a pitch six times in the win.
“For us, our team is simple,” Gallegos said. “There’s no No. 1 girl. It’s everyone doing their job. It’s a team mentality first. I love this group. They are very energetic. I have to calm them down.”
Three errors led to two unearned runs in the op of the first inning. Valerio settled down and allowed just two hits over the next three-plus innings. She retired nine of 10 batters until allowing a fourth inning double.
Valerio started the first inning rally with a leadoff, four-pitch walk. Jocelyn Mendez was hit by a pitch.
Elena Garcia hit the second pitch she saw to the right field fence to drive in Valerio and Mendez. A wild throw to the plate allowed Garcia to slide in with the go-ahead run.
Jocelyn Ochoa was hit by a pitch and Chavez reached on a bunt single and a wild pitch moved runners to second and third.
Two batters later, Mariah Williams reached on a fielder’s choice and Ochoa beat the throw to the plate for a 4-2 lead.
The Stallions added another run in the third. Chavez drew a walk and Emma Howe sacrificed her to second. Williams reached on an error. Alexis Ramirez and Gigi Rodriguez were hit by pitches to drive in Chavez for a 5-2 lead.
In the fifth, Williams singled to left with one out. After a wild pitch, Ramirez drew a walk. Williams was caught stealing third, but Ramirez stole second. Garcia hit an opposite field single to right to drive in Ramirez.
Madera South scored another run in the sixth. Mendez was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning. After a flyout, Ochoa was hit by a pitch. Chavez singled up the middle to load the bases.
Howe reached on a fielder’s choice, but Mendez was thrown out at the plate. Williams drew a bases loaded walk to drive in Ochoa and a forceout ended the inning.