Coyotes find tough sledding against Clovis
Tyler Takeda/The Madera Tribune
Madera’s Marcus DeFranco watches his base hit fall to drive in the first run of Saturday’s game. DeFranco drove in two of Madera’s three runs in a 9-3 loss to Clovis.
CLOVIS — Despite taking an early lead, the Madera Coyotes couldn’t keep the Clovis Cougars at bay for very long in a 9-3 loss at Clovis’ Lloyd Merriman Stadium.
The Coyotes led 1-0 in the third inning of Saturday’s game, but the Cougars scored four in the third, two in the fourth and three more in the sixth for the victory.
“We didn’t get ahead of enough hitters,” head coach Andy Underwood said. “The walks cost us. We didn’t have Isaiah Monge because he hurt his hip in basketball. That puts a stress on defensively. It took guys out of their normal positions and try to ask guys to do something extra. The pressure got to them and it was hard to make plays.”
Nathan Palacioz suffered the loss and allowed four runs on four hits, but walked two in three innings. Evan Candelaria tossed the final three innings. He allowed five runs, four earned with three walks and two strikeouts.
The Coyotes banged out five hits and added two runs late, but it wasn’t enough to beat the Cougars.
“Offensively, I think we hit really well,” Underwood said. “We didn’t have the results we wanted. We did a lot of things right offensively. We hit a couple of line drives into some double plays. We played well and had fun today. We’re just banged up. It’s tough. We’re providing an opportunity for these guys to play.”
Candelaria had the big hit with an RBI double and Marcus DeFranco drove in two runs for the Coyotes.
Both pitchers seemed on their game in the first few innings. Madera got to the Clovis starter by scratching over a run in the second inning.
David Zavala led off with a single to left. Candelaria sacrificed him to second. After a groundout, Zavala stole third and scored on DeFranco’s single to center for the 1-0 lead.
However, Madera only had two baserunners for the next four innings.
Lead-off batter Izaak Murillo found some tough luck in his first two at-bats. He led off the game with a single down the first base line. However, Isaac Flores lined into an out at first and Murillo was doubled off. In the third, Murillo reached on an error. On a hit-and-run, Flores hit a fly ball to right that was caught on the run for the out. Murillo couldn’t get back to the bag and was doubled off to end the inning.
Clovis got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the third. A lead-off single followed by a bunt single put runners at first and second. Palacioz got the next two batters to fly out to center.
However, he walked the next batter to load the bases. A wild pitch scored a run to tie the game. Another walk re-loaded the bases. The next batter split the left-centerfield gap for a double to clear the bases for a 4-1 lead.
In the fourth, Candelaria allowed a single and a double to put runners at second and third with nobody out. A safety squeeze followed by an error allowed the Cougars to take a 6-1 lead.
Clovis sent nine batters to the plate in the sixth to score three runs that was helped by a pair of walks and a hit batter to extend the lead to 9-1.
Madera pushed over a pair of runs in the seventh. Adam Arias came into the game and singled to center. Candelaria doubled Arias home.
After a strikeout, Candelaria stole third and scored on DeFranco’s sacrifice fly to right for the 9-3 final.
Madera played Golden Valley at home on Thursday at 3:30 p.m. and then hosts Buchanan on Saturday at 6:30 p.m.