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MNLL’s big inning leads to win

Tyler Takeda/The Madera Tribune

Madera American’s Gerardo Mendez beats the tag of Madera National pitcher Liam Messer to score a run in the first inning. However, Madera National scored seven unanswered runs for a 7-3 victory Wednesday in the District 10 tournament.


FRESNO — Trailing 3-1, the Madera National Little League 8-10-year-old All-Star team scored six times in the top of the fifth inning to defeat the Madera American Little League All-Stars, 7-3, in an elimination game in the District 10 All-Star Tournament.

Madera National sent nine batters to the plate in the pivotal fifth inning. They were helped by four errors and banged out a pair of hits Wednesday afternoon.

The MNLL All-Stars remained in the double-elimination tournament and will next play River Park, who defeated Reedley, 15-8, in another elimination game.

Brandon Dominguez helped the National All-Stars on the mound. He came in relief of starter Liam Messer, who allowed three runs on a hit and three walks in just 2/3 inning. Dominguez allowed just one hit over the next 5 1/3 innings. He didn’t allow a run, walked two and struck out seven.

Eli Guillen and Jason Gutknecht led the National All-Stars with two hits each. Caleb Garcia, Messer and Sam Hawkins each had hits.

Meanwhile, it seemed like American League pitcher Christian Castillo was cruising along. He allowed just one run over the first four innings while striking out seven and allowing four hits.

Things fell apart in the fifth when the first five batters reached base for Madera National.

The American All-Stars were limited to just two hits — singles from Gerardo Mendez and Mathias Vela.

Madera American got the scoring started in the bottom of the first inning. Rodrigo Osuna led off with a four-pitch walk. Gerardo Mendez singled to left. Castillo grounded out, but Osuna scored the first run of the game.

Mason Gibson walked and a passed ball to Vela allowed Mendez to score. Vela reached on a fielder’s choice as Gibson was tagged out trying to advance to third.

Vela advanced to second on a wild pitch and scored on a passed ball and another wild pitch for a three-run lead.

Dominguez came in and got a strikeout to end the inning.

From there, Dominguez allowed just three baserunners over the final five innings. He closed the game by retiring the final 10 batters in order with five strikeouts.

Castillo retired eight in a row before allowing a lead-off single to Gutknecht to open the fourth inning.

Gutknecht advanced to second on a passed ball and to third on a wild pitch. Garcia reached on an infield single to short. Garcia advanced to second on a wild pitch. Messer singled to left to drive in Gutknecht, but Garcia was thrown out at the plate for the first out of the inning. Castillo settled down to get a strikeout and a groundout to end the inning.

However, Madera National broke through for six in the fifth inning with the rally started by the bottom of the order.

Dylan Perez led off with a full-count walk and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Hawkins reached on an infield single and Perez advanced to third on a throwing error. Eli Guillen reached on an error to load the bases. Julian Rios reached on a fielder’s choice while Perez came in to score.

Gutknecht followed with a single up the middle to drive in Hawkins.

Garcia grounded out to first, but Guillen scored the go-ahead run. Solomon Reyes followed with a hit up the middle. However, the hit was ruled dead as Reyes was awarded first base on catcher’s interference and that allowed Rios to score an insurance run.

Reyes advanced to second on a stolen base. With Dominguez at the plate, Gutknecht tried to score on a wild pitch, but went back to third. The throw to third was wide and went into left field. Gutknecht scored while Reyes advanced to third. The left fielder backing up the throw misplayed the throw and the ball went by him and that allowed Reyes to score for a 7-3 lead.

With the lead, Dominguez struck out three of the next six batters to keep Madera National alive and eliminate the Madera American All-Stars.


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