Error gives Stallions another walk-off win
Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera South’s Jasir Alvarez watches his hit in the second inning of Thursday’s victory. Alvarez reached on an error in the seventh inning to allow the winning run to score.
Seven games into the season and the Madera South Stallions baseball team has developed a reputation for a flair for the dramatic after a second straight walk-off victory at Eddie Chapa Field.
The Stallions rallied from a three-run seventh inning deficit to record a 7-6 walk-off victory when Jasir Alvarez reached on an error to allow Elijah Tang to score the game-winning run against Reedley on Thursday in the Central Valley Diamond Classic.
“They believe they can win,” head coach Alan Sandoval said. “It’s different this year. It’s a different feeling in the dugout. Even when we were down 6-2, we still felt we were going to pull this out. We got it going late. Now, we have to get it going from the beginning. It’s a different belief.”
The Stallions improved to 7-0 after a 12-2 beating of Minarets on Saturday. The best start in school history was highlighted by a Murf Gray grand slam and six innings of one-hit ball from Jair Alvarez.
The Stallions have either won big or close with nothing in between. Four of their wins have been by seven runs or more and the other three wins were by two runs or less, including two walk-off victories.
“We knew Reedley is a great team,” Sandoval said. “They compete. If we just score four or five of those runners, we win the game easily. We’ve got to get better at baserunning.”
Brian Monges delivered five tough innings on the mound in 104 pitches. He allowed five runs, two earned, on four hits. Although he struck out eight, he walked five batters. Jojo Cosio picked up the win with two innings in relief. He allowed a run and struck out a batter.
“He’s our centerfielder,” Sandoval said of Monges. “We used everybody against Firebaugh. We just needed him to come in and give us innings. This is the second time he’s done that. He competed and that’s all we can ask for.”
Murf Gray led five Madera South batters with two hits, both doubles. Monges, Tang and Gilbert Moisa each had two hits.
The Stallions left a season-high 16 runners on base. They outhit Reedley 11-5 and drew 10 walks, four intentional. Unfortunately for the Stallions, just one of those walks scored.
The Pirates scored three unearned runs in the second inning by taking advantage of Monges’ wildness on the mound. He walked a batter and an error allowed another batter to reach base. Both runners moved up 90 feet on a wild pitch and a stolen base. Monges struck out the next two batters and seemed to get out of the inning. However, he walked the No. 8 batter to load the bases. Another walk forced in a run.
With the bases still loaded, Monges tried to pick off the runner at first, but threw in the dirt. The ball got away and two runs scored for a 3-0 Reedley lead.
Madera South responded with a run in the bottom of the second. With one out, Alvarez singled to left and advanced to second on an Anthony Gamiz sacrifice. Monges reached on an error, which allowed Alvarez to score.
The Pirates scored a run in the third on two singles and a double steal for a 4-1 lead. Reedley added a run in the fourth on a lead-off double and a single to increase the lead to 5-1.
Madera South added a run in the fourth. Gray led off with a double and came in to score when the next three batters reached on walks with A.J. Rocha getting the RBI for a 5-2 Pirates’ lead.
Reedley increased its lead in the sixth on a walk and a two-out double.
The Stallions added a run in the sixth when Tang singled and Cantu singled. A groundout advanced the runners 90 feet. Moisa laid down a perfect drag bunt for a base hit to score Tang for a 6-3 Pirates’ lead to set the stage for the seventh.
With one out, No. 9 batter Gamiz started the rally with a single up the middle. Monges hit a line drive over the second baseman’s head for a single. A wild pitch advanced the runners 90 feet. Then, Gray was intentionally walked.
On a 1-1 pitch, Tang roped a single to right-center field to drive in Gamiz and Monges and advance Gray to third.
After Tang stole second, Cantu flew out to center to drive in Gray with the game-tying run. Tang advanced to third on the play.
Rocha and Moisa were both intentionally walked. Jasir Alvarez came to the plate and hit a tough grounder in the hole at short. The Reedley shortstop made a good play on the ball and threw to first. The ball short-hopped the first baseman and the catch wasn’t made as Alvarez hit the bag. Meanwhile, Tang scampered home to score the game-winning run for the victory.
Madera South played Immanuel on Tuesday evening and will next play Saturday to conclude the Central Valley Diamond Classic.