Monache beats Porterville 12-2 for series sweep 

Monache High School softball is coming into next week’s playoffs on a high note.

The Marauders (10-12, 7-3 EYL) closed the East Yosemite League season with a 12-2 five-inning win over the Panthers of Porterville (5-15, 1-9 ESL) for Senior Night at home Thursday.

“Always a good win,” MHS head coach Dave Koontz said. “When you beat your crosstown rival, that’s a good win. When you’re doing it before the playoffs, that’s a good win.”

Coming off a close 9-7 loss to EYL champion Tulare Western (17-9, 8-2 EYL) on Tuesday, the Marauders bounced back with the win and now wait to be seeded in the CIF Central Section Division II playoffs that begin Tuesday, May 7.

“Momentum wise, we played such a good game against Tulare Western, it could’ve gone either way,” Koontz said. “I think we peaked at about as good a time as we can and we’re ready for the playoffs. We’re not going to get a good seed, I’m sure. We’re going to travel but we can hit the ball against anybody. And if [Ariana Rivas] pitches like she did today, and we play defense like we did today, we can beat people.”

After giving up runs to Porterville’s Cienna Enriquez and Madison Johnson, the Marauders scored 11 in the bottom of the first inning to go ahead 11-2. They scored their final run in the third inning. 

From the top of the lineup to the bottom, Monache hits the ball well. As a team, they’re hitting .375 through 21 games with a .464 slugging percentage and an on-base percentage of .466. Against the Panthers, the Marauders racked up 10 hits between eight players. Kailyn Castle, Kiyah Ramirez and Jaleen Villareal all going 1-for-1 with Castle drawing three walks and scoring two runs while Ramirez had one run scored and two walks. Vilareal had a double, two walks and a run scored. Also for Monache, Sarah Rodriguez went 2-for-3.

But despite just about everyone getting a hit, the team still has some things to work on when facing a slower pitcher.

“We never really adjusted to [Johnson],” Koontz said. “We’ve obviously hit faster pitchers better but it’s just a whole different [situation]. And then when we were up 10-2, 11-2, it’s tough to keep that momentum. They came into the game prepped, they came into the game ready to play. But when you get up 10 and 12-2, it’s just really, really difficult to keep that momentum going and I’ve been there myself so I understand that. They played hard, they played good defense. We hit the ball.”

The usually stoic Rivas cracked a couple of smiles on the mound after pitching one of her best outings for the win. Rivas allowed two runs — one earned — on two hits, no walks and three strikeouts. Johnson got both the hits for the Panthers and one was a double.

Taking the loss on the mound for Porterville was starter Jennilu Martinez, who allowed nine runs on two hits, six walks and one strikeout through 1/3 inning. Johnson relieved her and pitched 4 2/3 innings. She allowed three runs on eight hits and five walks.

“If we play like we did today, we can make trouble in the playoffs,” Koontz said. “We can surprise people. And we’re going because I think we can win. We’re not going just for show. We’re not going just because, ‘Oh, I want the experience.’ I think we can win. If I didn’t think we can win — I’ve not gone to the playoffs before. But I think this team is capable of surprising people.” 

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