Coyotes win in final at-bat, again
Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
The Madera Coyotes softball team surrounds Kaylee Patlan after she had the game-winning hit.
With three runs in their final at-bat in two games last week, the Madera Coyotes softball did something they hadn’t done since 2011 — sweep the Bullard-Fresno Knights in County/Metro Athletic Conference play.
The Coyotes got a walk and two singles to score two runs in the top of the seventh on May 11 for a 9-8 victory.
On Thursday, the Coyotes got a walk-off double from Kaylee Patlan to score Arissa Arias for a 3-2 win at Zimmerman Field.
“That’s a huge win,” head coach Judy Shaubach said. “That puts us in the driver’s seat for league. We have to do our business ourselves. It also helps for playoffs. By winning that second game, that secures a playoff berth.”
The Coyotes are now 4-0 in the CMAC with six games left to play and are in charge of their own path in the CMAC.
“We have to improve our game heading into playoffs,” Shaubach said.
Last Tuesday, the Coyotes jumped out to a 6-0 second inning lead over the Knights. However, mental and physical mistakes led to an eight-run outburst in the bottom of the third.
Except for the third inning, Madera pitcher Alexis Galvan shut out the Knights. She retired the last seven batters she faced and didn’t allow a hit over the final four innings.
The Coyotes cut into the lead in the fifth when Sara Walter drew a one-out walk and scored on a double from Erika Perez.
In the seventh, Brianah Hamilton drew a lead-off walk. Eliza Nunez sacrificed her to second. Arias singled Hamilton home and advanced to second on the throw.
Galvan came up and singled while Arias raced around the bases to scored the go-ahead run.
Galvan retired the side in order for the 9-8 victory.
“It’s never over,” Shaubach said. “We have to keep fighting. In the first game, we played well for every inning except one. We got on, got good bunts and got some clutch hitting.”
The Coyotes banged out eight hits against Bullard with five doubles on Friday. Perez kept up her hot hitting by going 2-for-3 with a double. She was 3-for-3 with two runs scored and two doubles last Tuesday.
In the past five games since getting moved to the lead-off spot in the line-up, Perez is hitting .600 with three doubles and six runs scored.
Kailea Ricks is just as hot with a double against Bullard. She is hitting .538 with 11 RBIs and six doubles in her last five games.
“We were too anxious at the plate,” Shaubach said about the second game. “They didn’t throw strikes until they had to. We encouraged the girls to be a little more patient at the plate. We made those adjustments in the last couple of innings.”
Galvan continued her excellent pitching. She scattered nine hits and allowed just one earned run against Bullard with seven strikeouts. Over the last five games, she has a 2.60 ERA with 31 strikeouts in 35 innings and allowed just nine walks.
It looked like the Coyotes had all the momentum to open Thursday’s game with the Knights.
“The last one, it was one of those cases, you knew whichever team got the clutch hit was going to decide the game,” Shaubach said.
Bullard got three hits in the first inning and loaded the bases with one out. Galvan got a force out at the plate and a strikeout to get out of the inning unscathed.
Perez led off the bottom of the first with an infield single. Lealani Ricks reached on a bunt single and the throw to try to get her at first went into right field to allow Perez to advanced to third, but she was later tagged out for the second out of the inning.
Ricks advanced to second on a wild pitch. After a groundout didn’t allow Ricks to advance, Hamilton drew a walk and then stole second.
Nunez blooped a full count pitch to right field that went off the diving right fielder’s glove. Nunez raced to second for a double while Ricks and Hamilton scored for a 2-0 lead.
However, the Coyotes were stymied until the fifth. They got doubles from Perez and Kailea Ricks and a single from Lealani Ricks, but couldn’t take advantage until the seventh inning.
Meanwhile, Galvan was doing what she could to keep the Coyotes in the lead. She allowed two hits after the first until Bullard scored two runs in the fifth to tie the game.
Bullard’s No. 9 batter reached on a high chopper up the middle. The next batter doubled over Hamilton’s head in deep center to put runners at second and third.
Two pitches later, Bullard singled up the middle to drive home two runs to tie the game.
The next batter popped up on a hit-and-run play. Perez caught the pop up and threw to first to double off the runner for a double play. Galvan got a grounder to first to end the inning.
Galvan allowed one hit over the next two innings and that batter was erased by Nunez trying to steal second.
That set the stage for the bottom of the seventh inning. Before the inning, Patlan was getting ready to leave the game to get ready be part of the Homecoming ceremonies later that night. However, Shaubach told her she was going to hit in the seventh and come through in the clutch.
“I told Kaylee that Arissa was going to get on,” Shaubach said. “Patlan had been out for a couple of days. I told her she’s going to have the game-winning hit. It’s nice when things work out.”
Arias hit the first pitch she saw to the left-centerfield gap for a double.
On the next pitch, Aislynn Jordan put down a sacrifice bunt to move Arias to third.
Patlan came to the plate to pinch-hit for Galvan. She swung and missed at the first two pitches.
After taking ball 1, Patlan hit a high fly ball to deep centerfield that carried over the centerfielder’s head. Arias, who was late going back to tag up, reversed course and jogged home for the game-winning run while Patlan raced to second to get a double and start a walk-off celebration for the Coyotes.
“Three seniors (Patlan, Arias and Jordan) contributed to the win,” Shaubach said. “Get on, move over and score them. After the struggles this class had in losing the junior year, it was kind of nice to enjoy the win.”
Madera played at San Joaquin Memorial-Fresno on Tuesday before returning home Thursday for a 3:30 p.m. game.