Hawks open league with dominant win
Wendy Alexander/the Madera Tribune
Liberty’s Nate Medina throws a pitch to the Yosemite Badgers on Friday He allowed just three hits over six innings during a 12-0 victory at Liberty.
With their ace on the mound, the Liberty Hawks baseball team easily dispatched the Yosemite-Oakhurst Badgers in the North Sequoia League opener at Liberty.
Nate Medina tossed six innings of three-hit ball. He struck out nine and walked two in a dominant performance.
“Nate has grown up in a year,” head coach Derrick Kuhn said. “He pounded the zone today and he’s going to have a good year.
The Liberty offense also exploded for five runs in the second and five more in the fifth for a 12-0 victory Friday afternoon.
Lead-off hitter Jakson Bucher led the offense with two hits, including a double. He scored three runs and drove in three. Max Vestal and Medina also hit doubles.
Vestal, Xavier Gordon and Max Nulick also had multi-hit games. Nulick, Cody Gomes and Daniel Sandante, the bottom three batters in the Liberty batting order, each scored two runs.
“It’s an experienced bunch,” Kuhn said. “One through nine, we compete. I’m excited for this group. They are going to some special things, especially on offense.”
After going down in order in the first inning, the Hawks struck for a five-run, two-out rally in the second.
Medina started the rally with a double to deep left-center. Gordon grounded out and Medina took third. Matthew Prado grounded out to drive in Medina.
Gomes started a nobody on, two-out rally with a walk. Nulick singled and Sandante was hit by a pitch to load the bases.
Bucher singled to left field to drive in Gomes and Nulick. Vestal followed with a single to right center to drive in Sandante and move Bucher to third. Vestal faked a steal and caused the Yosemite pitcher to halt his wind-up, resulting in a balk and Bucher scored for a 5-0 lead.
“They had a great pitcher,” Kuhn said. “After seeing him for an inning, we settled in. We had some gritty at-bats and scored four runs on him with two outs. We got to a good pitcher early, which is awesome for our offense.”
After allowing a lead-off single, Medina settled down and retired 15 of the next 18 batters. He got help from his defense with a double play in the first and a caught stealing in the third. He allowed just one baserunner to reach second base.
Liberty seemed to be in control the entire game, but couldn’t get the runs on the board.
They left the bases loaded in the third and scratched over a run in the fourth. Bucher led off with a walk and stole second He went to third on a McGuire Smith groundout. After a walk to Medina, Gordon singled to right-center to drive in Bucher.
The Hawks put the game in the way with a five-run fifth that sent 10 batters to the plate. Gomes led off with his third walk of the game. Nulick singled to left. Sandante reached on a single and an errant throw allowed Gomes and Nulick to score while Sandante took second.
Bucher doubled down the left field line to drive in Sandante. Vestal reached on a fielder’s choice when Yosemite tried to get Bucher at third. Smith singled to right to drive in Vestal and Medina hit a fly ball to center to drive in Vestal for an 11-0 lead.
The Hawks added another run in the sixth. Hudson Groh was hit by a pitch and came in to score two batters later on Vestal’s double over the left fielder’s head for the 12-0 victory.