Stallions put away Eagles
Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera South’s Xavier Cantu appears to have slid in ahead of the Immanuel tag at the plate in the fourth inning of Wednesday's 7-1 victory. However, he was called out for the second out of the inning.
The Madera South Stallions scored runs in the final four innings for a 7-1 victory over the Immanuel-Reedley Eagles at Eddie Chapa Field to earn a berth in the Central Valley Diamond Classic Championship game today.
The Stallions will face the Lemoore Tigers in the CVDC championship game in Firebaugh at 11 a.m. after Wednesday’s victory.
The Stallions banged out 11 hits and broke the game open with a four-run fifth inning.
Bryan Malagon got the win with four innings of three-hit ball. He walked three and didn’t strike out a batter.
Murf Gray came in relief of Malagon in the fifth with two runners on base. He walked the next one to load the bases, but struck out three batters in a row to get out of the situation.
‘There’s never any worry with Murf on the mound,” head coach Alan Sandoval said. “I know he will get out of any situation he is put in. I have total confidence in Murf. We got Bob back. Bryan is now pitching like he used to. He had a year off last year with injuries and COVID, but he’s back.”
It took three innings for the Stallions’ offense to get started. The top four hitters in the Stallions’ line-up each had doubles. No. 9 hitter Elijah Tang was the sparkplug with a pair of hits and a pair of RBIs.
“We started out a little flat tonight,” Sandoval said. “We kept grinding at-bats and I knew our offense would eventually get going.”
Tang started the scoring rally in the third inning with a one-out single to right center. He stole second and scored on Anthony Gamiz’s single to right-center. The Stallions loaded the bases with a Gray intentional walk and a Jasir Alvarez hit by pitch, but a groundout ended the inning.
Madera South added a run in the fourth inning. Xavier Cantu led off with a sharp single to left. He advanced to second when Jair Alvarez’s hit up the middle went off the pitcher’s leg.
Pinch-hitter Johnathan Spraggins forced Alvarez at second, but later stole second. Tang hit a grounder to third. Cantu broke for the plate and appeared to have slid in safely well before the catcher’s tag. However, the umpire ruled otherwise and Cantu was called out for the second out of the inning.
Moisa followed with a bloop double down the right field line that fell in between three Immanuel defenders to drive in Spraggins for a 2-0 lead.
Gray opened the fifth inning with a single to center, then stole second and advanced to third when the Immanuel infielders couldn’t handle the catcher’s throw. Off a drawn in infield, Monges hit a grounder off the shortstop’s glove to drive in Gray.
Monges stole second and Cantu drew a walk. Jair Alvarez hit a deep fly ball to left that looked to have the distance, but it was corralled on the warning track. Aiden Sua drew a four-pitch walk to load the bases.
A passed ball allowed Monges to score for a 4-0 lead and advance the runners 90 feet. Tang singled on the next pitch to drive in Cantu and Sua for a 6-0 lead.
The Stallions added another run in the sixth. Gamiz started the rally with a double down the right field line. Gray hit a scorcher to third, but the Immanuel third baseman made a diving grab and threw Gray out at first while Gamiz advanced to third.
Jasir Alvarez followed with a double to right-center to easily score Gamiz for a 7-0 lead.
The Eagles had just two baserunners advance to third base in the first six innings before pushing over a run in the seventh.
Jojo Cosio got a flyout to left that was caught on a dive by Tang in foul territory. Cosio walked the next batter and retired the next one. However, the next batter hit a popup in the infield that fell between four Madera South infielders and that allowed Firebaugh’s lone run to score. Cosio got a groundout to second to complete the 7-1 victory.