Madera National stays alive in Dist. 10
Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera National’s Jason Gutknecht scores a run in front of the River Park throw during a 17-7 victory Tuesday.
With as many as three games in a span of four days, the Madera National Little League 8-10-year-old All-Stars had to balance their way through a mercy-rule victory over River Park.
Madera National scored 16 runs in a three inning stretch to put away River Park in five innings during an elimination game in the loser’s bracket of the double-elimination District 10 tournament for a 17-7 win.
Madera National limited River Park to just three hits and two earned runs to get the win. Meanwhile, River Park committed two costly errors that led to five unearned runs.
Madera National banged out eight hits and were led by Brandon Dominguez. He had two hits, including a triple, drove in five and scored two runs. He also struck out three in an inning pitched on the mound.
Eli Guillen and Caleb Garcia each scored three runs while Guillen, Julian Rios, Jason Gutknecht and Sam Hawkins drove in two each.
Gutknecht and Dominguez combined for 3 1/3 no-hit innings to begin the game. Gutknecht got the win with 2 1/3 innings. However, he walked six and also struck out six.
Madera National defeated Sunnyside, 10-9 on Wednesday to advance to the District 10 championship game at Chowchilla on Thursday.
Madera National got a run in the first inning when Guillen walked and stole second. He advanced to third on a Rios groundout and scored on a Gutknecht groundout.
However, River Park scored two runs in the first without the benefit of a hit. They scored a run on a wild pitch and a first-and-third stolen base for a 2-1 lead.
Madera National pounced on River Park in the third. Rios led off with a walk. Gutknecht was hit by a pitch. Garcia forced out Gutknecht at second. Liam Messer reached on a fielder’s choice when the River Park shortstop tried to throw to third, but Garcia held his ground. Meanwhile, Rios came in to score the tying run.
Solomon Reyes drew a walk to load the bases. Dylan Perez singled up the middle to drive in Garcia. Dominguez followed with a liner to right-center to drive in Reyes and Perez for a 5-2 lead.
Madera National sent 12 batters to the plate during an eight-run fouth inning. Guillen led off the inning with a walk. He advanced to second on a wild pitch and to third on a passed ball. Rios walked and stole second. Gutknecht reached on an error while Guillen scored. Garcia singled to left to drive in Rios.
After a strikeout, Manny Ayala walked and Hawkins reached on a fielder’s choice while Gutknecht scored. Dominguez reached on an error to drive in Garcia.
After a strikeout, Guillen singled off the shortstop’s glove to drive home Ayala and Hawkins. Rios followed with a blooper in front of the right fielder to drive in Dominguez and Guillen for a 12-2 lead.
River Park battled back with three unearned runs on a hit and three Madera National errors to stay within mercy-rule distance, 12-5.
Madera National kept adding to its lead in the fifth. Garcia led off with a walk and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Messer singled up the middle to advance Garcia to third. Messer took second on a throw. After a flyout, Hawkins singled to left to drive in Garcia.
Dominguez followed with a liner that split the right-centerfield gap for a triple that drove in Messer and Hawkins for a 17-5 lead.
In the bottom of the fifth, Guillen allowed a lead-off single, but got a groundout. He hit the next batter to put two on. Rios came in relief and walked the next batter to load the bases.
River Park reached on an infield single to drive in a run. River Park scored on a wild pitch with the other runners advancing. Rios walked his second batter to load the bases, again. However, River Park popped out to Rios and grounded out to Messer at first to invoke the mercy-rule and end the game with a 17-7 Madera National win.