Stallions drop a pair at home in CMAC
Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera South ace Murf Gray throws a pitch during Thursday’s loss to the Edison Tigers at Eddie Chapa Field.
After playing one of the top teams in the Central Section tough to open the County/Metro Athletic Conference, the Madera South Stallions baseball team dropped a pair at home to finish the first week.
The Stallions dropped a tough 5-2 decision to Bullard-Fresno on Tuesday. With ace Murf Gray on the mound, the Stallions couldn’t find enough offense in a 3-0 loss to Edison-Fresno on Thursday at Eddie Chapa Field.
Madera South followed that with a 3-1 loss Saturday against the Sanger Apaches.
“We weren’t fighting and weren’t competing,” head coach Alan Sandoval said. “We didn’t have competitive at bats and struck out too much or popped up. We just couldn’t get it done, again. We played so well against Bullard, but we didn’t play well the past two games.”
The Stallions went a combined 3-for-19 with runners in scoring position. They didn’t record an RBI in the two games and left 19 runners on base.
“That’s been our M.O. the past two years,” Sandoval said. “We get runners on, we hit for a high average, but our average with runners in scoring position is bad.”
Edison 3, Madera South 0
Madera South had, basically, the one bad inning against the Tigers.
Expectations were high entering the game with AM 1430 broadcasting the game on the radio and Gray on the mound.
The game lived up to the billing with a pitcher’s dual for most of the game.
Gray allowed three runs, two earned, and allowed just three hits with eight strikeouts. However, both of his walks scored.
Edison pitcher Alejandro Aguirre was up to the task of battling Gray. He scattered six hits and struck out eight. He stranded six Madera South runners.
The Stallions put the pressure on Aguirre in every inning, but one. They put runners in scoring position in four of the seven innings.
Gilbert Moisa had the best shot in the first inning. He singled to right, advanced to second on a bunt by Brian Monges. He advanced to third on a wild pitch, but was stranded by a strikeout.
Aguirre got double plays in the second and seventh innings to help him out.
Xavier Cantu reached on a one-out single in the fourth and advanced to second on a groundout, but was left stranded.
Meanwhile, Gray was perfect through the first four innings. He struck out four batters and got six groundouts to Moisa at short.
However, Gray walked the first two batters to open the fifth inning, the second on four pitches. The next batter hit a fly ball that was lost in the lights for a single to load the bases.
Edison then got a single up the middle to drive in two runs. Gray settled down and retired the next three batters in order.
Madera had its best chance to score in the bottom of the sixth. Moisa led off with a single.
Monges hit a grounder to third, but Edison threw the ball away to try to force Moisa at second.
Gray hit a screaming liner down the third base line that was snagged for the first out of the inning. Cantu reached on a bad hop single to load the bases.
However, the Aguirre got a popout and a strikeout to end the threat.
The Tigers added an insurance run in the seventh with an error, groundout and a single for the 3-0 lead.
Johnathan Spraggins led off the seventh with a walk, but was erased on a double play and a strikeout ended the game.
Sanger 3, Madera South 1
The Stallions wasted another quality pitching outing in a loss Saturday afternoon to the Apaches.
Brian Monges allowed three runs on seven hits. He walked two and struck out four.
“Monges did so well. I can’t say anything about how well he played today,” Sandoval said.
However, Sanger’s pair of pitchers were better and held the Stallions to an unearned runs to go with 11 strikeouts.
Monges helped himself with a pair of hits. Anthony Gamiz also had two hits. Jair Alvarez, Xavier Cantu, Gray and Elijah Tang each had singles.
Sanger got on the scoreboard with an unearned run in the second. Monges hit the lead off batter. The next batter hit a grounder to short that was bobbled and the throw to second was dropped.
The Apaches put down a sacrifice bunt to advance the runners 90 feet. The next batter hit a fly ball to short center, but it was deep enough to score the first run of the game.
Monges allowed two singles in the fourth, but ended the inning by picking off a runner at first.
Sanger added two more runs in the fifth with a one-out single, a hit batter and another single to load the bases. A walk on the 10th pitch of the at-bat drove in a run and a safety squeeze added another for a 3-0 lead.
Madera South had its chances, but went 2-for-12 with runners in scoring position and left 13 runners on base.
Moisa was stranded at third in the first. Gamiz and Tang singled to open the second. After a strikeout, Aiden Sua drew a walk to load the bases. However, a strikeout and a flyout ended the inning.
With one out in the third, Monges walked and Cantu singled. However, a popout and a lineout ended the inning.
In the fifth, Monges hit a one-out single, Cantu was hit by a pitch and Gamiz singled sharply to right to load the bases. Sanger struck out the next two batters to leave the bases loaded.
Madera South had its best chance in the sixth. With one out, Jair Alvarez singled up the middle. After a strikeout, Gray drew a walk.
Monges followed with a single to left that would have loaded the bases. The leftfielder had the ball roll under his glove and Alvarez came in to score the Stallions’ run and put runners at second and third.
Then, the controversy hit. On a 1-2 pitch, Cantu tried to call time out before the pitch was throw. It appeared the umpire granted Cantu time out, but the pitch was thrown and Cantu swung and missed. The time out wasn’t granted and the strike out stood with the tying run in scoring position.
After allowing two runs in the fifth, Monges closed the game by retiring final eight batters to keep his team in the game.
Madera South got a one-out walk by Tang in the seventh, but a popout and a groundout ended the game and keep the Stallions winless to open the CMAC.