Coyotes earn first win
Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera senior Lealani Ricks puts down a bunt for a base hit in the first inning of Tuesday’s victory over the Clovis East Timberwolves at Zimmerman Field.
After opening the season with six straight losses, the Madera Coyotes softball team picked up its first victory of the season against the Clovis East Timberwolves.
In a quirk of scheduling, the Timberwolves gave the Coyotes their most recent loss, but the Coyotes came back Tuesday for a 2-0 victory.
Less than 24 hours after celebrating Senior Night, the Coyotes were back on the field and suffered a 4-2 defeat to the Kingsburg Vikings.
However, head coach Judy Shaubach has seen quite an improvement since her team first took the field in March.
“We’re seeing growth and improvement,” she said. “Our bats are coming around. We’re putting balls in play. We have more balls hit on the ground and line drives. We’re seeing a lot less looking strikeouts and flyballs.”
Madera pitcher Alexis Galvan had her two best games of the season against the Timberwolves and Vikings. She tossed a five-hitter in a shutout of the Timberwolves with six strikeouts. She struck out five in scattering eight hits against Kingsburg.
“I’m starting to see the pitcher she is capable of being,” Shaubach said. “She’s competing and hitting her spots better. She’s coming around.”
Shaubach is still upset about the number of baserunners her team has left on base. Madera left eight in the win against Clovis East and nine in the loss to Kingsburg. Combined, the Coyotes were 1-for-20 with runners in scoring position and are batting just .227 (15-for-66) this season.
“This is a game of adjustments,” Shaubach said. “We’re getting and getting runners in scoring position. That is what has been hurting us all season, getting that timely hit. We need to come through in clutch situations and the game gets easier.
“I like the fight in our team. We’re not laying down like we did earlier. We’re battling back. We’re retaliating, but we need to start initiating. We need to find a way to push across those runs early.”
Madera 2, Clovis East 0
Erika Perez led Madera’s eight-hit attack with a pair of doubles that drove in both runs in the victory.
In addition, Kaylee Patlan also added two hits and Kailea Ricks scored both of the runs.
Galvan held tough against the Timberwolves. She allowed just four baserunners to reach scoring position in the shutout.
Clovis East had chances in the fifth and sixth innings before leaving a runner on third. A single, error and sacrifice put the potential game-tying run on third, but Galvan got a lineout to Kailea Ricks at short to end the inning.
In the sixth, a one-out single followed by a wild pitch and a groundout put another runner on third. Galvan struck out the next batter to get out of trouble.
Madera put runners on base in every inning. They left five runners in scoring position.
With two outs in the third, Ricks started a rally with a single up the middle. On a 1-2 pitch, Erika Perez lofted an opposite field fly ball that split left and center field for a double. Ricks raced around the bases to break the scoreless tie.
In the fifth, Ricks and Perez were at it again. Ricks drew a one-out walk. Two pitches later, Perez doubled over the head of the left field that allowed Ricks to score an insurance run.
In the top of the seventh, Galvan allowed a lead-off single. However, she got a fly out to center and a force out at second for two outs. A passed ball third strike put the game-tying run on base.
However, Galvan induced a lazy fly ball to left that Sarah Walter caught for the final out of Madera’s first victory.
Kingsburg 4, Madera 2
KINGSBURG — Eliza Nunez had the big hit for the Coyotes against the Vikings, but Kingsburg responded with three runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to turn a 2-1 deficit into a 4-2 victory Wednesday.
The Coyotes took advantage of three walks to put runners on every base in every inning except the second. However, they only scored in one of the innings and left a runner in scoring position five times.
Kingsburg got on the scoreboard in the first with a home run off the centerfield scoreboard.
Galvan kept the deficit at one by cruising through the next four innings with little trouble. She allowed three hits and only one runner to reach second base.
Madera left runners runners at first and second with one out in the first; a runner at third with two outs in the third; and a runner at second with one out in fourth before pushing through in the sixth.
With one out, Brianah Hamilton drew a walk. Arissa Arias tried to sacrifice her to second, but beat out the bunt for a base hit to put two runners on.
After a groundout advanced the runners to second and third, Nunez hit the right-centerfield gap for a double. Hamilton and Arias raced home to give the Coyotes a 2-1 lead.
Unfortunately, Kingsburg battled through in the sixth. Two singles opened the inning. A popout on a bunt attempt held the runners. The next batter singled to right to drive in the game-tying run.
Galvan hit the next batter on an 0-2 pitch to load the bases.
Kingsburg tried a squeeze bunt, but Galvan pounced on the ball and flipped to Nunez at the plate for the forceout.
The Kingsburg coaches argued Nunez didn’t touch the plate, but their arguments proved moot by the next batter, who singled to right to drive home two runs for a 4-2 Kingsburg lead.
The Coyotes threatened in the top of the seventh. Lealani Ricks led off by reaching on an error. Kailea Ricks singled to left. After a flyout, Lealani Ricks advanced to third on a popout. Kailea Ricks stole second to put the tying run in scoring position. However, the next batter grounded out to end the game.