Madera National wins another epic for District 10 championship
Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
The Madera National Little League 11-12-year-old All-Star team celebrates an 8-7, nine-inning victory over Madera American to win the District 10 championship Wednesday night.
It’s a good thing Madera National Little League 11-12-year-old All-Star manager Ernesto Rios doesn’t have to play a Madera American Little League team anymore. His heart may not take it again.
Rios has a 3-1 record against Madera American, but a total run differential of plus-one run. Rios’ McDonald’s team lost to Madera American’s Holiday Muffler in the City Championship Game. However, his McDonald’s team got a little bit of payback to defeat Holiday Muffler in walk-off fashion, 12-11 to win the District 10 Tournament of Champions.
Then, Rios’ Madera National team walked off a 7-6, 10-inning win over Madera American in the District 10 All-Star semifinals. They had to wait eight days and who was their opponent for the District 10 championship — Madera American.
“It was another classic,” Rios said. “It’s a great game with Madera teams. I’m glad it stayed locally. It’s good to see both Madera teams successful.
Again, the game went extra innings, and again, the game was an epic affair. Madera National scored six runs in the top of the sixth inning and seemed to be able to cruise to the finish line, but Madera American didn’t go away. They put the eventual tying run at third and the potential winning run at first, but a double play ended the game and Rios and his Madera National team was able to lift the Bob Berry District 10 Championship trophy and raise the District 10 All-Star banner again.
“I was relieved after scoring six runs,” Rios said. “I told the players to not worry about the runners. They can get the first runner in and we can worry about getting three outs. Whoops. They got to 8-6 and that’s when I made the switch. It was tough to lose the lead.”
Jayce Rios picked up the win in relief, tossing 1 2/3 innings. However, the key was Aiden Juarez, who went the max on his pitch count. He went 6 2/3 innings and allow one run on two hits with 11 strikeouts and no walks. Estevan Gonzalez got a double play to end the game to pick up the save.
“Jayce threw well,” Ernesto said of his son. “Stuff happened and we had a few errors that made me go to the bullpen to get Estevan. They are different in velocity.”
Jake Guerra matched Rios into the sixth inning. He allowed an unearned run over 5 1/3 innings on three hits with eight srikeouts. Roman Aguilar tossed an inning and struck out two. Benton Ellington suffered the loss over the final 2 2/3 innings. He allowed seven runs, but none were earned.
“They had great pitching. We couldn’t get the key hit. That’s how baseball is,” Rios said.
Madera National banged out eight hits, but left 14 runners on base. Jordan Aguilar and Juarez led the offense with two hits each. Rios and Juarez scored two runs and Aguilar drove in a pair of runs.
The Madera National pitchers held Madera American to just four hits, including a two-run, sixth-inning home run by Jake Guerra.
The key for both teams were the errors. Madera National committed four errors that led to five unearned runs. Madera American had six errors that led to all eight runs unearned.
Madera National also left 14 runners on base and were a combined 3-for-20 with runners in scoring position. Madera American didn’t fare too much better. They went 2-for-12 with runners in scoring position.
With the way Juarez and Guerra were pitching, it was going to be an instant classic.
Madera National got on the scoreboard in the top of the third with a single from Aguilar. He advanced to second on a wild pitch and Guerra hit Rios with a pitch. Caden Warden drew a walk to load the bases.
Guerra got a strikeout for the first out and got a force out at the plate for the second out. Guerra got Juarez to hit a grounder to third that was misplayed for an error that allowed Rios to score for a 1-0 lead.
Madera American came right back in the only inning of the first six that Juarez allowed a baserunner.
With one out, No. 8 hitter Zach Granados reached on an infield single. He advanced to second on a wild pitch and went to third on No. 9 batter A.J. Resendez’s single to left. After Resendez stole second, Kevin Osuna hit a shallow fly ball to left. Rios went into shallow left to catch the ball, but hesitated when he caught it. It was enough time for Granados to race home with the tying run.
From there, both pitchers kept the game tied until they were relieved. Guerra had traffic in three of his first five innings. Meanwhile, Juarez cruised into the seventh inning and was relieved after striking out the first two batters of the seventh.
Madera National took the first lead in extra innings. with one out, Edward Sablan singled to the right-center gap that allowed Juarez to score from second base in the international tiebreaker for a 2-1 lead.
Madera American was down to its last out, but came through for the tying run. After two strikeouts, international tie break runner Benton Elliington took third on a wild pitch. Osuna hit a grounder to short that was misplayed and Ellington scored the tying run.
Madera National exploded in the top of the ninth by scoring six runs with 11 batters coming to the plate. With Rios at second for the tiebreak, Warden reached on an error. Estevan Gonzalez reached on a throwing error that allowed by Rios and Warden to score while Gonzalez took third.
Carlos Gomez singled to right-center to drive in Gonzalez. Juarez followed with another single. After a strikeout, Madera American caught Juarez too far off of first to cause a rundown. However, Juarez forced Gomez to leave second. Madera American tagged out Gomez with Juarez taking second for the second out.
Sablan drew a walk and Edward Perez reached on an error to load the bases.
Aguilar singled by the shortstop to drive in Juarez and Sablan. Perez came in to score on a throwing error for an 8-2 lead. Rios followed with a rocket shot off the centerfield fence for a double, but the next batter struck out to end the inning with a six-run Madera National lead.
Juan Gil led off the top of the ninth by reaching on an error that allowed international tiebreak runner Raymond Espinoza to score from second. After a strikeout, Guerra hit the first pitch he saw over the left-centerfield fence for at two-run home run.
After Guerra touched home plate, he didn’t celebrate and pushed his teammates to keep the rally going knowing there was more work to do.
Roman Aguilar followed by reaching on an error. Elliington doubled over the centerfielder’s head. Granados hit a fly ball to right-center that was dropped for an error and allowed Aguilar to score for an 8-6 lead.
Madera National manager Ernesto Rios came in to bring in Gonzalez to close out the game. Freddy Flores hit a full-count pitch to second. Madera National tried to get Ellington at the plate, but he beat the throw to cut the lead to 8-7.
Granados, who represented the tying run, advanced to third and pinch-runner Resendez represented the game-winning run that would have forced a second game. On the second pitch to the next batter, Gonzaleainvoked a grounder back to him. He turned around and fired a bullet to Rios at second for the first out. Rios got the throw and threw to Sablan at first to complete the game-ending double play to win the District 10 Championship.