Monache loses 8-4 to Tulare Western

Just three hits in the final five innings of Thursday’s East Yosemite League game sank Monache High School baseball’s chances of a comeback in the team's 8-4 loss to Tulare Western. 

The comeback became necessary in the fifth inning after Monache (15-10, 7-6 EYL), who were up 4-0 heading into the inning, gave up four runs and put Tulare Western (13-13, 10-3 EYL) right back in the game.

“I think really the difference in the game was Tulare Western did an outstanding job in the fifth, sixth and seventh inning, of putting the ball in play,” MHS head coach A.J. Watts said. “They did a better job than we did with that. And really that was the difference in the game. Our strikeout total started to rack up [in the] fifth, sixth, seventh. That’s credit to the Levi Faucett kid. He did a nice job, he was pitching off of two pitches all day. But we, if we’re going to be successful next week and in the playoffs, we need to do a better job with that.”

Monache scored first in the bottom of the first inning, with Daniel Andrade coming in on a sacrifice fly from Tori Powell but they followed that up with their best offensive outing the next inning. 

In the bottom of the second, the Marauders’ Alexza Sandoval moved Troy Nieto over to third on a double then the two baserunners scored on consecutive at-bats after Ricky Alba and Moses Caraveo hit back-to-back RBI singles, respectively. Monache tacked on what would be their final run of the game on a sacrifice fly from Matthew Floyd before the end of the inning.

However in the following innings, not only did the Marauders manage to get just three hits, but they also struck out eight times.

“It’s a different one for me because we’ve been very good all year with two strike hitting,” Watts said. “So you hope it’s just kind of a fluke. You hope it’s credit to the opposing pitcher. I do have confidence that we’re going to be fine with that but if you’re asking me what the difference in the game was, it was that. They did a good job of putting the ball in play in the later innings and we didn’t match it.”

The Mustangs scored four runs in both the fifth and seventh inning for the win, with the winning run scoring on an outfield error in the seventh. 

For Monache, Alba and Carabay went 2-for-3 with Alba also getting a RBI and scoring a run to lead the team offensively. 

Carabay got the start on the mound and went four innings. He gave up three runs on five hits, one walk and had four strikeouts.

“I will not extend a kid out much further than the way we’ve kind of been,” Watts said about taking Carabay out in the fifth. “We’ve got a couple of kids that pitched into the 90s, we’ve got one kid that threw 101 pitches over spring break, but I’m not going to do it. Anthony has had some quality, quality innings for us this year but he’s not a guy that we’re going to take past 85.”

Andrade relieved Carabay in the fifth and pitched 2 1/3 innings, where he gave up five runs on five hits, one walk and two hit batters. Cloyd closed the game and hit one batter. 

On Tuesday the Marauders also lost to the Mustangs on the road. The two losses move Monache out of the running for the EYL title while the race one again remains between Tulare Western and Porterville (18-5, 9-3 EYL). The Marauders close the season with two games against the rival Panthers next week before turning their attention to the CIF Central Section Division IV playoffs.

“We look at it as two seven inning games,” Watts said. “The kids really enjoy it. I think their side enjoys it. It was a very competitive game a month ago. They’re playing good baseball right now. I still contend that we’re playing good baseball right now. So it should be a fun week and it’s really a week that seniors will never forget.” 

Watts added, “But I will continue to preach to our kids that we’re going to be as competitive as we can be both games and we’re going to make darn sure that we are healthy going into the playoffs.” 

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