Coyotes score late to advance to semifinals
Tyler Takeda/The Madera Tribune
Madera’s Kailea Ricks (3) hits home plate and gets ready to run through a tunnel of Coyote softball players after hitting her first home run of the season to give the Coyotes an early 1-0 lead in Friday’s 3-1 victory over St. Joseph’s in Santa Maria.
SANTA MARIA — The Madera Coyotes softball team scored two runs in the sixth inning to secure its spot into the Div. II semifinals.
Locked in a 1-1 game with No. 4 St. Joseph’s in Santa Maria, the fifth seeded Coyotes rallied in the top of the sixth inning to defeat the Knights, 3-1, in the Div. II quarterfinals on Friday.
Pitcher Alexis Galvan allowed two runs, one earned, to pick up the victory and give Madera head coach Judy Shaubach her 707th career victory and her 22nd 20-win season.
Kailea Ricks hit her first home run of the season and Erika Perez doubled in the go-ahead run in the sixth.
Galvan struck out eight batters and walked two. She closed the game by retiring six of St. Josephs’ final seven batters.
Madera got on the scoreboard in the top of the second inning. Ricks hit the third pitch of the inning over the left-centerfield fence for a home run and an early 1-0 lead.
St. Josephs came back with two runs in the second. After a lead-off, four-pitch walk, St. Josephs tried to sacrifice the runner to second, but third baseman Perez got the lead runner at second.
After a strikeout, the Knights singled to put runners at first and second. The next batter singled to right-center to drive in the game-tying run. The Knights’ No. 9 batter hit a grounder up the middle that was misplayed and it allowed the go-ahead run to score.
From there, Galvan kept the Knights at bay. She allowed just one runner to reach second base and she was thrown out trying to advance on a grounder.
The St. Joseph’s pitcher kept the Coyotes off balance and retired 10 batters in a row before a Jocelyn Mendez single in the fifth. However, she was erased on a double play.
The Coyotes broke through in the sixth. Leilani Moreno reached on a throwing error. Sadie Gonzalez put down a bunt and reached for a single. A wild throw allowed Moreno to advance to third.
After Gonzalez was thrown out trying to steal second, Perez stepped up and drilled a ball over the centerfielder for a double to drive in Moreno with the tying run.
Nevaeh Galvan singled off the pitcher’s glove to put runners at first and third. Brianah Hamilton hit a shot, but it went right to the second baseman. The ball ate up the second baseman and went into right field for an error.
Perez scored the go-ahead run and Galvan advanced to third. St. Joseph’s intentionally walked Ricks to load the bases.
Nastasha Griffin hit a bouncer up the middle. The ball tipped off the diving shortstop, but went to the second baseman, who dove to touch second base before Ricks could get there for the forceout. But, Galvan scored an insurance run for a 3-1 lead.
Alexis Galvan responded by striking out the side in the bottom of the sixth inning. She struck out the first batter of the sixth before a line drive single to left. Galvan then got a lazy fly ball to Hamilton in centerfield and struck out the next batter on a high change-up to send the Coyotes to the semifinals.
Madera plays at top-seed Hanford on Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. with a berth at the Div. II finals at stake.