Stallions swept, but battle against Knights
By the fourth inning of its match-up with the Bullard-Fresno Knights, the Madera South Stallions baseball team found itself in a huge hole.
However, these Stallions are of a different breed and tried to battle back. Although the deficit was too much to overcome, the Stallions outscored the Knights 10-8 over the final four innings of an 18-10 loss Saturday at Eddie Chapa Field.
Up to the fourth inning of Saturday’s game, the Stallions were outscored 42-0 in 18 innings against the Knights.
The Stallions showed some fortitude and gave head coach Alan Sandoval positive vibes going into this week’s three-game series with Edison-Fresno.
Madera South banged out nine hits in the loss, led by Murf Gray. The Fresno State recruit hit a double and a two-run home run and scored two runs. Elijah Tang and Xavier Cantu also had two hits and scored two runs.
Madera South’s pitching didn’t help Saturday afternoon. Four pitchers allowed 10 walks and 17 hits, including three doubles, a triple and a home run.
Jonathan Spraggins was the most effective of the four Stallions’ pitchers. He didn’t allow a run over the final three innings. He struck out two and gave up just one hit.
Trailing 14-0, the outcome of the game was pretty much decided. However, no one really told the Stallions.
They sent 10 batters to the plate in the fourth to score six runs. Brian Monges started the rally with a single. Tang singled and Gray was hit by a pitch to load the bases.
A.J. Rocha hit a fly ball to center to score Monges with the first run against the Knights in three games. Cantu followed with a single to left to drive in Tang. Jasir Alvarez singled to right center to drive in Gray.
Gilbert Moisa drew a walk to load the bases. Spraggins reached on an error while Cantu came in to score.
Joseph Cosio forced out Spraggins at second, but the throw to first was wild and it allowed Alvarez and Moisa to score to cut Bullard’s lead to 14-6.
Bullard battled back to score four runs in the top of the fifth. The first four batters reached base before Spraggins was brought in. He got two popouts and a flyout to get out of the inning with just an unearned run scoring.
Against a new Bullard pitcher, Tang led off the fifth with a single up the middle.
Five pitches later, Gray hit a no-doubter homer to center for an 18-8 Bullard lead.
Rocha continued the rally with a walk. Cantu and Alvarez each walked to load the bases, which prompted a pitching change.
Facing Bullard’s starter from their first meeting, Moisa grounded out to drive in Rocha. After a walk to Spraggins to re-load the bases, Anthony Gamiz reached on an infield single to drive in Cantu for Madera South’s 10th run of the game.
Although neither team scored in the final two innings, the Stallions took home some positives that will pay dividends down the road.
Stallions pounded by Knights in opener
With ace Murf Gray on the mound, the Madera South Stallions have the feeling they can play with any team in the Central Section.
Gray may have been affected in the first inning after a line drive off the bat of Bullard lead-off hitter Brady Zavorek that hit him in the calf. He allowed three runs on three hits and walked two batters in the first whle the first five batters reached base.
Gray allowed five runs on six hits with three walks and four strikeouts over the first three innings.
Bullard scored runs in six of the seven innings against four different Stallions’ pitchers.
Madera South was limited to just four hits — singles from Gray, Jasir Alvarez, Jorge Gutierrez and Anthony Gamiz from two Bullard pitchers. Madera South struck out 12 times.