Stallions prove too much for Hawks
Tyler Takeda/The Madera Tribune
Madera South ace Murf Gray throws a pitch during Tuesday’s semifinal victory over the Liberty Hawks. Gray scattered six hits across six innings without allowing a run. He struck out eight and didn’t walk a batter.
The right arm of ace Murf Gay and the collective hitting of the Madera South offense proved too much for the Liberty Hawks in the Div. IV semifinals.
The Stallions banged out 13 hits in a 7-0 victory over the Hawks in Tuesday’s semifinals. Gray tossed six innings of six-hit ball. He didn’t walk a batter and struck out eight.
“This is the right time for us,” Madera South head coach Alan Sandoval said. “High school baseball is all about when you get hot. We struggled throughout the year. I knew we were due and we picked the right time.
“Murf was great. He didn’t have his best stuff. He went out there and competed and got it done. That might be the last time he pitches in a Madera South uniform and he left it all out there.”
Gilbert Moisa, Xavier Cantu, Brian Monges, Jasir Alvarez and Jair Alvarez each had two hits for the Stallions. Cantu, Monges, Jasir Alvarez and Jorge Gutierrez each hit doubles.
The Stallions outscored their three playoff opponents by a combined 30-2. The were 6-of-12 with runners in scoring position Tuesday. In the three wins, Madera South is hitting .487 (19-for-39) with runners in scoring position.
“Throughout the season, we weren’t driving runners in,” Sandoval said. “Now it seems like if we get a runner in scoring position, he is scoring.”
Xavier Gordon led the Hawks with two hits. McGuire Smith hit a double while Jakson Bucher, Nate Medina and Hudson Groh each had hits.
Madera South got on the scoreboard in the top of the first inning. Moisa hit the second pitch into centerfield for a single. Gray grounded out, but Moisa advanced to second.
Cantu hit a deep fly ball to center for a double to drive in Moisa for a 1-0 lead.
Liberty pitcher Dylan Whiteman kept the Stallions off the bases over the next two innings by retiring nine batters in a row before Monges hit a one out double in the fourth to begin a three-run rally.
Anthony Gamiz sacrificed Monges to third. Elijah Tang drew a walk. Jasir Alvarez hit a double down the right field line to drive in both Monges and Tang for a 3-1 lead.
Jair Alvarez singled to left on the next pitch to drive in pinch-runner Bryce Johnson for a 4-0 lead.
Madera South kept the pressure on in the fifth with a pair of two out hits, but a forceout ended the threat.
However, Madera South got to Whiteman in the top of the sixth inning with the bottom of its order.
Tang led off with a single to right. He stole second, but the next batter struck out. Jair Alvarez singled to left to drive in Tang for a 5-0 lead.
A wild pitch advanced Alvarez to second and Gutierrez doubled to left-center to drive in Alvarez.
Gutierrez came around to score on Moisa’s single to right for a 7-0 lead, which was plenty of support for Gray.
Gray stepped up for his team and seemed to get better with runners on base. In six innings, Gray allowed a runner in five.
Nate Medina led off the second with a single. Gray struck out the next batter, but Gordon singled to put two on. Gray settled down to strike out the next two batters to end the threat.
Smith hit a one-out double to left center in third inning. Gray got a flyout to Gamiz in right for the second out. Gray hit Max Vestal to put runners on first and third. Gray got Medina to fly out to center to end the inning.
Groh led off the fourth with a single up the middle. Gray struck out the next two batters and got a flyout to right.
Bucher hit a two-out single in the fifth and then stole second. Gray got a groundout to end the inning.
Gordon hit a two-out single in the sixth, but couldn’t advance.
Monges came in relief of Gray for the seventh. He got a flyout to Gamiz in right and a flyout to Tang in left for the second out. Monges hit Smith on a 3-1 pitch, but got another flyout to Tang to end the game.