Stallions, Coyotes split first two
Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera South’s Murf Gray throws a pitch during a complete gam victory Wednesday over Madera. He struck out eight and scattered seven hits in a 4-2 win.
After the Madera Coyotes baseball team made a first inning run stand up in the first game of a three-game in three-day series, the Madera South Stallions scored a run in the final four innings to force a rubber game in the final match-up.
On Tuesday, the Coyotes scored a run in the first inning and a combination of Izaak Murillo, Francisco Espejo and Nathaniel Martinez made it hold up in a 1-0 victory at Eddie Chapa Field.
Madera South scored a run in the final four innings to back ace Murf Gray on Wednesday. Gray allowed two runs and struck out eight in a complete-game 4-2 victory at Mel Parker Field.
“It’s huge for our confidence,” Madera South head coach Alan Sandoval said. “We lost four in a row. We needed today to get back on track for ourselves and for the playoffs.”
The Stallions put runners on base to put plenty of runs on the board, however, they left nine runners on base Tuesday and 10 runners on Wednesday.
“We still have to figure out how to hit with runners on base,” Sandoval said. “We have to learn how to drive in runners early. It was encouraging the last half of the game. We needed that.”
The Stallions and Coyotes closed out their series on Thursday at Eddie Chapa Field and will find out over the weekend where the playoff road will lead them.
Madera 1, Madera South 0
The Coyotes scored a run in the top of the first inning and three pitchers made the run stand up despite plenty of traffic on the bases.
Madera South put runners on base in every inning, including loading the bases in the bottom of the seventh inning.
However, two double plays helped the Coyotes get out of trouble.
Izaak Murillo picked up the win tossing the first four innings. He walked three and allowed two hits, but didn’t allow a run. Francisco Espejo allowed two hits in his two innings, but struck out three.
Nathaniel Martinez picked up the save, but had to get out of a bases loaded jam to earn it.
Jair Alvarez was the tough-luck loser for the Stallions. In his best outing of the season, Alvarez tossed a complete game. He allowed three hits and struck out four while walking just one batter.
David Zavala led off the game for the Coyotes with a single up the middle. He stole second and went to third on Murillo’s sacrifice bunt. After a strikeout, Nathan Palacioz hit a ball to the right-center gap for a double to drive in Zavala. Palacioz was thrown out trying to stretch the double into a triple to end the inning.
From there, Alvarez was in control. He retired the next 11 batters in a row before a fifth inning single. After the first, Alvarez only allowed two baserunners and neither advanced past first base.
Madera South put runners on base in every inning. However, it took until the fifth before the runner advanced past first.
Jorge Gutierrez led off the fifth with a walk and went to second on a Gilbert Moisa single. After a strikeout, Brian Monges flew out to right, but Gutierrez advanced to third. However, the next batter flied out to end the inning.
Madera South came close to tying up the game in the seventh. Jair Alvarez led off the inning by drawing a walk. Moisa sacrificed him to second.
Anthony Gamiz and Monges drew walks from Martinez. Martinez got Murf Gray to hit a grounder back to him. Martinez thew out Alvarez at the plate for the force, but Gray beat the throw to first.
Martinez got a popout to Nate Palacioz at first to end the game in just one hour, 53 minutes.
Madera South 4, Madera 2
The Madera Coyotes took the early lead, but the Stallions overcame it to score a run in the final four innings for the win.
Gray scattered seven hits in a complete game win. He struck out eight and walked one in the victory.
Nathaniel Martinez allowed two unearned runs in five innings. He struck out seven and walked two.
Evan Candelaria suffered the loss on the mound. He allowed two runs over the final two innings.
Gray also led the Stallions with two hits, including a double and drove in a run. Xavier Cantu had three hits, scored a run and drove in another. Jasir Alvarez also had a pair of hits.
Isaac Flores was the only Coyotes’ batter with a multi-hit game. He score one of Madera’s two runs.
Madera got on the scoreboard in the first inning. Monge hit a two-out double down the right field line. After Palacioz drew a walk, Candelaria lined a single to right-center to drive in Monge for a 1-0 lead.
The Coyotes held the lead until the fourth inning. Cantu reached on a error to lead off the top of the fourth. Gutierrez tried to bunt Cantu to second, but Cantu was forced out.
After a strikeout, Joseph Cosio drew a walk. With two outs, Anthony Gamiz lined a single to left to drive in Gutierrez with the game-tying run.
Madera South took the lead with another unearned run in the fifth. With one out, Elijah Tang reached on an error. A.J. Rocha grounded out and Tang advanced to second. Cantu followed with a single to left to drive in Tang for the go-ahead run. Jasir Alvarez singled, but the next batter grounded out to end the inning.
Madera battled back to tie the game in the bottom of the fifth. Flores led off with a single to right. Matthew DeFranco sacrificed Flores to second.
Zavala reached on an infield single with a line drive off of Gray to put runners at first and third. Before the next pitch was thrown, Zavala was picked off first. He got caught in a rundown. While Zavala was eluding the tag, Flores broke for the plate. He beat the throw for the tying run while Zavala advanced to second.
Murillo reached on a bunt single to put runners at first and third, again. Monge hit a high chopper to first. Rocha gathered the ball in for the Stallions and touched first for the second out. Zavala made a break for the plate. Rocha threw to catcher Cantu, who placed the tag on Zavala, to end the inning and secure a tie game.
Madera South rode the momentum in the sixth inning. Jair Alvarez led off the inning with a four-pitch walk. After a popout and a strikeout, Gray hit a ball off the batter’s eye in deep centerfield for a double. Pinch-runner Joseph Cosio raced around the bases to score for a 3-1 lead.
The Stallions added to their lead in the seventh. With one out, Cantu singled up the middle. Jasir Alvarez singled to right-center while Cantu advanced to third.
Moisa hit a grounder to first. First baseman Palacioz threw to second for the force, but the throw was dropped while trying to get Alvarez. The out was eventually made on Alvarez, but Cantu came in to score for a 4-2 Stallions’ lead.
Gray struck out the first batter in the seventh. After a Flores single, Gray struck out the next batter and ended the game with a groundout to short for the 4-2 victory.