Coyotes fight back in opening loss
Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera centerfielder Brianah Hamilton ranges back to track down a fly ball during Tuesday’s loss. Hamilton provided a Coyote highlight with her first home run of the season.
The Madera Coyotes softball team showed some fight in its first game at home in nearly two years.
However, the Merced Bears hit two home runs in a five-run seventh inning for a 10-4 victory to open the 2021 season at Zimmerman Field on Tuesday.
“We hurt ourselves more than anything else,” head coach Judy Shaubach said. “We threw too many good pitches on 0-2, 1-2 counts. We put too many runners on base. We didn’t do what we normally do. We didn’t put balls in play and make adjustments. Softball is a game of adjustments. It was kind of frustrating.”
First-time Coyote Brianah Hamilton had the highlight of the day with a solo home run in the sixth inning to help bring the Coyotes within one. Hamilton was the only Coyote with a multi-hit game.
“We came back in a game we were totally out of,” Shaubach said. “When we get back in it, you can’t get an out and walk the next person.”
Coyote starting pitcher Alexis Galvan allowed nine runs, but just five were earned, in 6 1/3 innings. She allowed eight hits and walked three with five strikeouts.
“We have to get better every time we go out,” Shaubach said.
Merced pitcher Trisha McCleskey controlled the Coyotes, for the most part, She allowed four runs, but just one was earned. She struck out 12 and allowed six hits.
Madera got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the second. Erika Perez reached on an error, advanced to second on Hamilton’s sacrifice bunt that turned into a hit. After a strikeout, Perez stole third and the throw to get her went into left field. Perez got up and scored the first run of the game.
Merced took advantage of a couple of miscues to score three runs in the third, all unearned for a 3-1 lead.
The Bears added another run on a hit batter, single, fielder’s choice and a sacrifice fly. Merced took a 5-1 lead after a single, double and groundout added another run.
Madera battled back in the bottom of the sixth.
Hamilton opened the inning with a high fly ball to center. With the wind blowing out, the ball carried over the fence for her first Coyote home run.
After back-to-back groundouts, Sarah Walter reached on a dropped third strike. Lealani Ricks reached on a bunt single. Then, Walter and Ricks executed a double steal.
Arissa Arias singled home Walter and Ricks scored on a wild pitch to cut the lead to one.
However, with one out in the seventh, Merced reached on a four-pitch walk. Another error in the outfield and a single drove in another run.
Then, the Bears hit a three-run home run to left center to break the game open and chase Galvan.
After Madera reliever Natasha Griffin got the second out of the inning, Merced hit an opposite field solo home run over the right field fence for the 10-4 lead.
Madera went down in order in the bottom of the seventh.
After playing in Merced on Thursday, Madera plays in the Clovis Easter Classic with games at 11 a.m. Saturday at Clovis, Monday at Zimmerman Field, Tuesday at Clovis West and Wednesday at Zimmerman Field.