MALL 11’s get dominant win
Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Members of the Madera American Little League 9-11-year-old All-Start team show off the rings they received after defeating River Park to win the District 10 championship Friday.
The Madera American Little League 9-11-year-old All-Star team had a simple run to the District 10 Championship game and faced a team they had faced three days before for the title.
After a 10-0 victory over River Park on July 5, the MALL All-Stars picked up where they left off with a 13-6 victory Friday to capture the District 10 Championship.
“I’m over the top, excited. It’s crazy. I can’t even process it,” said first-year manager Tommy Molina.
Madera American completed an undefeated run after a narrow one-run victory to open the tournament. They defeated Chowchilla and River Park twice for the title.
River Park advanced to the championship game after a come-from-behind victory over Madera National on Thursday.
Julian Ruiz was dominant for Madera American. He picked up the win by throwing five innings of four-hit ball. He allowed three runs, two earned, but struck out 12 and walked just one.
Cayden Padilla ran into a little trouble in the sixth. He walked three and allowed three runs, one earned, but Madera American had the game well in hand.
“I was worried in the last inning,” Molina said. “I didn’t think that would happen. I knew they had to score nine runs so I wasn’t too stressed. I was getting there, though.”
The middle of the Madera American line-up did its job. The combination of No. 3 hitter Ruiz, clean-up hitter Alejandro Barajas and No. 5 hitter Sammy Molina went 9-for-10 with three extra base hits, eight runs scored and four RBIs.
River Park didn’t help itself with nine errors in the game.
“When we won the coin toss, I wanted to be visitor to start off hot with the bats and get the lead,” Molina said.
Madera American started right away with three runs in the top of the first inning.
With one out, Jorge Gonzalez singled to right. Ruiz singled up the middle and Gonzalez scored on an error. Barajas tripled down the right field line to drive in Ruiz. Molina followed with a single to right to drive in Barajas for the quick lead.
“It was important to get the lead,” manager Molina said. “I knew we were going to get a win because we beat the same kid earlier. Our kids were confident and we’ve been hitting so much, they know what to do.”
Madera American added on in the second. Padilla reached on an error and advanced to second on another error.
Nick Hagopian and Victor Mercado drew walks to load the bases. Santiago forced out Mercado at second, but Padilla scored. Gonzalez forced Santiago at second and Hagopian scored for a 5-0 lead.
Madera American came close to ending the game early with the mercy rule with five more runs in the fifth inning for a 9-0 lead.
With one out, Ruiz was hit by a pitch. Barajas singled to left and the ball went off the left fielder for an error to allow Ruiz to score while Barajas advanced to third.
Molina followed with a double to left to drive in Barajas and another error allowed Molina to advance to third. After a popout, Padilla reached on an error to drive in Molina while Padilla advanced to second.
Ethan Catano singled to left to drive in Padilla and another outfield error allowed Catano to race to third. After Jocelyn Castaneda drew a walk, Santiago singled home Catano with the ninth run of the game. The next batter grounded out to end the inning.
River Park battled back in the bottom of the inning. Ruiz struck out the first two batters of the inning. He walked the next batter and allowed a single and a triple to drive in two runs. Ruiz settled down to strike out the next batter for a 9-2 lead.
Madera American added to its lead in the sixth. Ruiz led off with a single to left. Barajas singled up the middle. Molina drove in Ruiz with a double to right-center that hit off the fence. Barajas scored on a throw to try to get Molina at second. The throw to the plate to get Barajas allowed Molina to head to third.
Lorenzo Belmontes singled to left to drive in Molina and another outfield error gave Belmontes an extra base.
Padilla singled to put runners at the corners with nobody out. After two strikeouts, Santiago singled to left to load the bases, but the next batter popped out to end the inning.
Ruiz was nearing his maximum pitch count and got the first batter of the sixth to hit a weak ground box back to him. Ruiz had trouble handling the ball and the batter reached on an error.
Padilla came in relief and walked the next batter. Padillaa got a pop out for the first out of the inning. He walked his second batter to load the bases.
Padilla got a grounder to second, but it was misplayed for an error to allow two runs to score. Another walk loaded the bases, again.
Padilla got a strikeout for the second out, but back-to-back singles drove in two runs. However, catcher Molina caught the batter off of first base and fired a rocket to Belmontes at first for the tag for the final out of the game.
Madera American will get a few days off and face Porterville Little League in Lemoore for a best two out of three for the Section 7 Championship.