Coyotes win second straight CMAC title
Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Members of the Madera Coyotes softball team congratulate Brianah Hamilton (helmet) after she hit her school-record breaking eighth home run of the season in Friday’s win.
After an up-and-down start to the season, the Madera Coyotes softball team closed the season with 10 straight wins in the County/Metro Athletic Conference, culminating after a 5-3 win over Bullard-Fresno, to win its second straight league championship.
In fact, Madera’s win over Bullard gave them 24 consecutive CMAC victories, going back to 2019 (there was no league season in 2020).
“I thought we made adjustments,” head coach Judy Shaubach said. “After the first two or three innings, our hitters got a lot more patient and were taking better pitches. We were so excited to play this game, we were swinging at pitches we don’t want to swing out.
“It never gets old. I’m really proud of the kids. They really responded in practice.”
The Coyotes got a record-breaking performance from Brianah Hamilton and another solid outing from pitcher Alexis Galvan for the victory. Nevaeh Galvan had a clutch triple to lead to the win.
“Neveah’s hit was huge,” Shaubach said. “We’ve been working in practice on situational hitting and we had a couple of times we came up clutch. I was extremely proud of Bri. She has been antsy and wanting to help the team. She had a slow start, but the last three games, she has the hot bat. Erika Perez has the hot bat. It’s a good time to be peaking and doing the things we are doing.”
Madera finished the season with an 18-10 record and earned the No. 5 seed in the Div. II playoffs. They host No. 12 seed Independence-Bakersfield on Wednesday at 4:30 p.m.
Hamilton hit her school-record breaking eighth home run of the season. She broke her own record of seven she set last year and extended her career home run record to 15. She torched CMAC pitching. She hit seven of her eight homers in the CMAC and drove in 19 of her team-high 24 runs.
Erika Perez continued to light up CMAC pitching. She had two hits and scored a run to finish with a .581 batting average in the CMAC. She had four homers and 17 RBIs while scoring 16 runs. She came close to equaling last year’s .500 batting average by hitting .489 before the playoffs begin this week.
Alexis Galvan also keeps writing her name in the Madera Coyotes’ record book. She struck out nine batters to become just the third Coyote pitcher to strike out more than 200 batters in a season. She already set the school record for most career strikeouts.
Bullard took the first lead of the game with a run in the fourth inning. A single, passed ball and a two out single drove in the first run of the game.
The Coyotes responded with two runs in the bottom of the fourth. Hamilton led off with a single up the middle. She went to second on a sacrifice by Kailea Ricks, although Ricks reached on an error.
Nastasha Griffin reached on a bunt fielder’s choice after Bullard tried to get Hamilton on first, but beat the throw to load the bases.
Jocelyn Mendez followed with a single up the middle to drive in Hamilton. However, Ricks was caught in a rundown and was tagged out.
After a popout and runners at first and second, Leilani Moreno singled up the middle to drive home Griffin. However, pinch-runner Meah Avila was thrown out trying to advance to third to end the inning.
Madera added to its lead in the fifth. With one out, Perez reached on a bunt single.
Three pitches later, Nevaeh Galvan lined a ball to the right-centerfeild gap. Perez easily scored and Galvan slid in safely at third for a triple.
Three more pitches later, Hamilton turned on a high and inside pitch and hit a high fly ball down the left field line. The ball carried over the fence and inside the foul pole for a two-run home run to give the Coyotes a 5-1 lead.
Bullard added an unearned run in the sixth after a two-out triple and a dropped fly ball.
The Knights put a little pressure on the Coyotes in the top of the seventh when their lead-off batter doubled to the centerfield fence. Alexis Galvan got a strikeout, but the Knights singled up the middle to score a run.
Galvan got a fly ball to right field for the second out. And just like the first time Madera beat Bullard earlier this season, third baseman Perez gobbled up a grounder and threw to first to end the game for the CMAC title.