Stallions get revenge to advance
Courtesy of Christopher Cross
Madera South’s Anthony Gamiz slides in safely to third base during the third inning of Tuesday’s first round playoff victory over Golden West.
Last year, the Madera South Stallions baseball team was the top seed in the Div. IV playoffs and faced No. 16 Golden West-Visalia in the first round. The Trail Blazers pulled off the upset victory to oust the Stallions.
This year, the Stallions were given the fifth seed and, as fate would have it, the Trail Blazers were the opponents, again, this time as the No. 12 seed.
Also, this year, the Stallions made sure not to leave anything to chance by scoring 12 runs in the first three innings to cruise to a 12-1 victory Tuesday in the first round of the Div. IV Central Section playoffs at Eddie Chapa Field.
“It was great to get the revenge win,” head coach Alan Sandoval said. “It was nice to score 12 runs and get the win. They are a good team. They had some really good wins. We just took it to them and beat a good team.”
The 12 runs in the first three innings allowed Sandoval to rest some players and make sure everyone was ready to go for Thursday’s quarterfinal match-up against No. 13 Mission Prep-San Luis Obispo, who was a 7-5 winner against No. 4 Hanford West.
“We have everyone available for Thursday, including Murf Gray,” Sandoval said. “We have decisions to make. We probably won’t start Murf, but he will be available for two or three innings.”
Gray got the call to open the playoffs despite not being able to pitch for about three weeks and missing last week’s games against Madera due to illness.
He allowed one hit over three innings of work to pick up the win. He struck out six and walked two. Jorge Gutierrez, Bryan Malagon and Joseph Cosio rounded out Tuesday’s pitching staff.
“It was great to get the win,” Gray said. “Before the game, my mental preparation was through the roof. On Saturday, we thought we were playing Immanuel. Then, I get a text saying I’m on the mound against Golden West. That brought a smile to my face knowing I had to get revenge.”
Gray didn’t show any rust on the mound or in the batter’s box. He was 3-for-4 with two runs scored, a double and an RBI. Jorge Gutierrez hit a pair of triples and drove in three runs while scoring a pair.
“There was a little rust,” Gray said. “My bat showed up today. That week off helped me mentally prepare and rest my body. I feel like we have some really good energy.”
Xavier Cantu had two hits and drove in four runs. Aide Sua and Gilbert Moisa also had two hits each and Brian Monges hit a double.
Madera South got on the scoreboard in the top of the first inning when Moisa and Gray singled. After a pair of flyouts, Anthony Gamiz hit a grounder to second. However, Golden West’s throw to get the force at second went wide and it allowed Moisa to score the first run o the game.
The Stallions started a one out rally in the second. Sua started it with a line drive to left field. Gutierrez then split the right-centerfield gap. Sua raced around the bases to score for a 2-0 lead while Gutierrez cruised into third with a triple.
After Moisa drew a walk, Gray doubled down the left field line to drive in Gutierrez.
Cantu followed with a single to left to drive in Gray and Moisa. Monges hit an opposite-field fly ball that caught the wind and bounced over the right field fence for a ground rule double to drive in cantu for the fifth run of the inning for a 6-0 lead.
Jasir Alvarez opened the third inning by reaching on an error. After he advanced to second on a wild pitch, Sua doubled to left to drive him in.
Gutierrez, again, split the right centerfield gap for his second triple of the game while Sua scored his second run of the game.
Moisa singled up the middle to drive in Gutierrez. Gray hit a fly ball to left that was dropped for an error. Both runners moved up 90 feet on a wild pitch.
Cantu singled up the middle to drive in Moisa and Gray. Monges forced Cantu at second, but Anthony Gamiz kept the rally going with a line drive single to right to advance pinch-runner Johnathan Spraggins to third.
A wild pitch to Elijah Tang scored Spraggins and Gamiz took second for a 12-0 lead.
From there, the Stallions cruised to the finish line. Golden West retired 11 of the next 12 batters to close the game without another run to score.
The Trail Blazers scored their lone run in the fourth with a one-out single and stolen base. A hit batter and another single loaded the bases.
Malagon allowed a sacrifice fly to score a run. The next batter reached on an error to load the bases, but Malagon got a forceout to end the inning.
Cosio got a popout and two flyouts in the top of the seventh to close out the 12-1 victory.