Coyotes ready for CMAC after win
Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Liberty catcher Max Vestal tries to place the tag on Madera’s Nathan Palacioz after Palacioz tried to score on an infield hit in the third inning of Friday’s Coyotes’ victory.
After facing the gauntlet of Tri-River Athletic Conference teams, Madera Coyotes baseball coach Andy Underwood needed a little break.
While not taking the Liberty Hawks for granted, the Coyotes picked up a 6-1 victory in Mel Parker Field in preparation for the upcoming County/Metro Athletic Conference schedule.
The Coyotes took Liberty a little too easy in their last meeting in 2019 where Liberty picked up a 4-0 victory.
Friday was a different story when the Coyotes scored a run in the first, two more in the third and added three more runs in the final three innings for the win.
Meanwhile, Liberty, who started North Sequoia League play a couple of weeks ago, closed out its non-conference schedule against the Coyotes. This year, the Hawks, a Div. IV team, has played Div. I Clovis, Div. I Clovis West, Div. II Fresno, Div. III Selma, Div. I Clovis East and now Div. II Madera.
The Hawks won just one of those games, but battled within a couple of runs against Clovis, Madera South and Clovis East.
Madera got on the scoreboard in the first inning. With one out, Evan Candelaria drew a four-pitch walk. Isaac Flores hit a drive to right-center for a double to drive in Candelaria.
Liberty starter Nathen Medina was having trouble finding the strike zone. In the first three innings, he walked two and hit a batter. He threw 63 pitches, but 28 were balls.
Madera added two more runs in the third. Nathan Palacioz led off with a double down the left field line. Isaiah Monge beat out a sacrifice bunt for a single.
Logan Wattenbarger hit a short chopper and Palacioz tried to score, but he was tagged out at the plate.
Adam Arias followed with a double to the left-centerfield gap to drive in Monge and Wattenbarger for a 3-0 lead.
Liberty broke the shutout bid in the fourth. Freshman McGuire Smith led off the rally with a single to left and advanced to second on an error.
After a popout, Medina singled up the middle to put runners at first and third.
Dylan Whitman, on a full count pitch, singled to right to drive in Smith and advanced Medina to third. The inning ended in a double play, but the Hawks got on the scoreboard.
Madera added three runs over the final three innings to close out non-conference play with a 6-1 victory.