Mistakes key MALL loss Section 7 title game
Tyler Takeda/The Madera Tribune
Madera American’s Gabriel Santiago watches a pitch go by while earning a walk in the first inning Sunday. He came around to score the first run of the game.
LEMOORE — After a solid victory to open the Section 7 championships against the Porterville All-Stars, the Madera American Little League 10-11-year-old All-Stars only needed one more win to secure a championship and head to the state tournament.
Unfortunately, that win eluded Madera American at Lemoore Little League.
Porterville took the second game with a six-run eighth inning for a 12-8 win on Saturday and won the clincher Sunday with a 13-3 mercy-rule victory.
Madera American kept making mistakes that they haven’t seen during their District 10 championship run. In the two losses, Madera American gave up 19 unearned runs, including nine on Sunday.
Cayden Padilla suffered the loss in 2 1/3 innings. He allowed 10 runs, but just seven were earned. He walked four and struck out three. Reliever Victor Medrano also didn’t get help from the defense. He allowed three runs in two innings, but just one was earned.
Meanwhile, Madera American could only manage two hits — singles by Alejandro Barajas and Jorge Gonzalez — and left eight runners on base. They couldn’t take advantage of seven Porterville walks.
Madera American took the upper hand early with a run in the top of the first inning. With one out, Gabriel Santiago drew a walk. He advanced to second on a passed ball. Alejandro Barajas reached on an error.
After a fly out, Santiago and Barajas advanced 60 feet on a wild pitch. Gonzalez reached on a swinging bunt single to drive in Santiago for a 1-0 lead.
After Gonzalez stole second, the next batter grounded out.
Madera American put the pressure on in the second with a pair of walks from Jocelyn Castaneda and Gianni Salas at the bottom of the order to set up the top. However, the next two batters were retired to end the inning.
Porterville took advantage of Padilla’s inability to find the plate with three walks to score three runs in the second while sending nine batters to the plate.
Padilla got the first two outs with a flyout and a groundout. The next two Porterville batters singled and a wild pitch scored the tying run.
A pair of walks loaded the bases. A single drove in one run and another walk forced in a run before Padilla got a strikeout to end the second trailing 3-1.
Then, the floodgates opened in the third. Madera American committed three errors which allowed Porterville to send 13 batters to the plate and score eight runs on five hits. Seven of the eight runs were unearned.
The backbreaker was a two-run home run ruled by the umpires on a ball that hit the yellow fence covering in right field. The ball hit the covering and bounced back to the infield for a double. However, the umpires ruled the ball a home run to give Porterville two more runs and an 11-1 lead.
Madera American was now fighting for their lives. First, they had to score runs to keep the mercy-rule from getting called and then they had to fight back to get back in the game.
Mercado led off the top of the fourth with a walk. Nick Hagopian drew another walk. Ethan Catano forced Hagopian at second, but Sammy Molina was hit by a pitch to load the bases.
After a strikeout, Barajas singled up the middle to drive home Mercado and Catano. However, Barajas was forced at second by the next batter.
Mercado allowed a pair of baserunners in the bottom of the fourth, but kept them from scoring.
In the fifth, Madera American had a one-out walk, but left the runner stranded.
Porterville flew out to center for the first out of the fifth. A single and double put runners at second and third.
The next batter hit a grounder to second that was mishandled for an error. The throw to first went into the Porterville dugout for another error that allowed the game-ending run to score for a 13-3 win.