Madera cruises to playoff win
Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera’s Nate Martinez throws a pitch during a complete game victory over Tulare Union in the Div. II playoffs Wednesday, Martinez struck out 14 Tulare Union batters to lead the sixth-seeded Coyotes into Thursday’s quarterfinal game against third-seeded Fresno.
The Madera Coyotes baseball team didn’t face any problems in its first-round playoff matchup against Tulare Union at Mel Parker Field.
That was thanks in large part to senior Nate Martinez, who pitched a complete game and struck out 14 batters, leading the sixth-seeded Coyotes to a 5-1 win over 11th seeded Tulare Union.
“I was just trusting my defense, letting my pitches work,” Martinez said. “I needed to throw strikeouts, find the zone.”
The Coyotes took a 2-0 lead after the first inning and added to their tally in the second when Isaiah Monge drove in another run. Isaac Flores then took advantage of a wild throw and came home to add to the lead.
Martinez struck out two batters in the top of the third inning to keep Tulare scoreless. With the score still at 4-0 in the fourth, Tulare’s Jacob Prado drove in his team’s only run of the game. Martinez struck out two more batters in the same inning to spoil any more opportunities for the visitors.
“He commanded the zone,” head coach Andy Underwood said about his pitcher. “Quick tempo today. He pitched very quickly, worked efficiently. That was a lot of fun.”
After Monge drove in the Coyotes’ run in the bottom of the fourth, Martinez continued his stellar performance in the fifth inning, striking out three batters. The senior pitcher stayed hot in the sixth inning, taking down two more batters. Martinez then recorded the final strikeout in the seventh to clinch the victory.
As the Coyotes now advance to the next round, Underwood said the team will focus on some areas that need to be improved.
“We still need to improve a few things. Like not missing signs and taking advantage of our opportunities a little bit more,” he said.