Stallions humbled by Lions to fall from unbeaten
Tyler Takeda/The Madera Tribune
Madera South second baseman Jair Alvarez places the tag on Kerman’s Julian Zapata, who was trying to steal second in the first inning of Saturday’s game.
The Madera South Stallions baseball team has made a living all year long of getting that key hit in the key moment.
However, the key hit didn’t appear too much in Saturday’s ballgame against the Kerman Lions. The Stallions went 2-for-8 with runners in scoring position and left nine runners on base in a 5-4 loss to drop Madera South from the unbeaten ranks.
“We didn’t play today the way we should,” head coach Alan Sandoval said. “We left too many runners on base. Even with the way we hit, we win that ball game.”
Brian Monges allowed five runs in the first three innings. However, the Stallions, as they have all season, battled to the end, but it wasn’t enough.
Murf Gray didn’t allow a hit over the final three innings and recorded five strikeouts to keep the Stallions in the game.
Gray also got the team started with a solo home run in the first inning. He went 2-for-3 with two RBI’s and a run scored.
Monges went 2-for-4 at the plate with two runs scored. Jasir Alvarez also went 3-for-3 with an RBI and a double. Elijah Tang added a triple.
“We didn’t have the intensity,” Sandoval said. “They weren’t ready to go from the get go. We just got humbled. Baseball will do that to you.”
Madera South plays only one game this week when they travel to Firebaugh on Wednesday. The Stallions needed a walk-off wild pitch to defeat the Eagles earlier this season.
“We have to regroup and forget about it,” Sandoval said. “No team in the section is going to go undefeated. We lost. It’s better to do it now. We’ll learn from it.”
Gray got the scoring started by hitting the second pitch he saw to the opposite field. The ball sailed over the right field fence for his second home run in as many games.
Kerman tied the score in the top of the second. Kerman doubled to lead-off the inning. After a walk, the next batter tried to bunt, but Monges threw out the runner heading to third.
Monges recorded a strikeout, but a single up the middle drove in the tying run.
Madera South had a chance to add to the lead in the second. After Alvarez drew a walk, Gilbert Moisa forced Alvarez at second, Jair Alvarez singled. He was forced out by Jonathan Spraggins to put runners at first and third.
Anthony Gamiz walked to load the bases, but a strikeout ended the inning.
The Lions took control of the game in the top of the third. With one out, the Lions got a double and a pair of walks to load the bases. The next batter hit into a force out, but a run came in to score. An error to try to get the double play allowed another run to score.
The next three batters recorded hits to drive in two more runs for a 5-1 lead.
However, the Lions got just one hit after the third inning while Jojo Cosio and Gray kept the Stallions close.
Madera South cut into the lead in the fifth. Monges led off with a single. After a popout, Tang reached on an error. After a strikeout, Jasir Alvarez doubled down the left field line to drive in Monges.
Pinch-hitter A.J. Rocha was intentionally walked and the next batter struck out to end the inning with the bases loaded.
Madera South used late inning heroics to cut the lead down to one with two more runs in the sixth with a two-out, nobody on rally.
Monges started the rally with a single up the middle. After a wild pitch, Gray singled and Monges came around to score.
Tang hit a line drive that split the right-centerfield gap. As he headed to third for a stand-up triple, pinch-runner Aiden Sua slid into home to cut the lead down to one. The next batter struck out to strand Tang at third.
Jasir Alvarez led off the seventh with a single to left. However, he was thrown out trying to take second after getting caught in between the bases after a failed bunt attempt. Two groundouts ended Madera South’s chances and sent the Stallions out of the land of the unbeaten.