Bears hard-nosed approach wins against Madera

Buchanan pitcher Chris Lenocker (pictured) threw five shutout innings in the Bears 7-0 victory over Madera Feb. 20. Michael Ford/Clovis Roundup

If there’s one word that would best describe the Buchanan Bears baseball team, it would probably have to be “aggressive”.

On the mound, in the batter’s box and on the basepaths, the Bears put that hard-nosed philosophy to work in the team’s 7-0 victory at home over Madera Thursday afternoon.

Taking the mound for Buchanan was Chris Lenocker, and he typified the aggressive nature of the team in his outing against the Coyotes.

From the first pitch on, Lenocker attacked the Madera hitters with fastballs on the inside part of the plate, and even off of it.

Lenocker, although he only allowed one hit, plunked four batters through his five innings of work.

“We like to go inside a lot on the hitters,” Lenocker said. “We had a lot of called inside strikes, so I try to live there.”

Even when the hit batters made their way on base– one in each of the first four innings– Lenocker continued to make the pitches he needed to get back into the dugout unscathed, and only two runners made it as far as third base.

Uplifting the right-handers effort was the ultra-aggressive Bears offense.

Buchanan got the scoring started in the first inning when Nick Marchini and Sky Collins reached base with two outs in the inning, setting up Drew Smith for an RBI single to drive in Marchini and send Collins to third.

The wheels really started to turn when Smith and Collins flawlessly executed a double steal to grab a run without another hit.

“We went to a little more of a pressure game when we got on base, not waiting for things to happen but to press it a little bit and force the action,” Bears coach Brad Fontes said.

The Bears also were able to use that aggressive approach to take advantage of Coyotes mistakes.

Buchanan picked up runs on errors in the fourth and six innings with aggressive baserunning, and Max Bernal made Madera pitcher Oscar Mendez pay with a vicious hack on a fastball that he sent over the right field wall to put to bed any thoughts of a Coyotes miracle comeback.

Through five games, the Bears have a 4-1 record, but it’s not just that they’re winning; it’s how much their winning by. Buchanan boasts a plus-38 run differential thus far, winning by an average of 7.6 runs per game.

“We’ve been fortunate enough early, although we haven’t executed very well consistently,” Fontes said. “We have been fortunate enough to string some hits together, and if you can string hits together in an inning, big innings start to happen.”

 

Michael Ford
Michael graduated from Fresno State in May 2019 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in print journalism. During his time at the university, he served as sports and managing editor for The Collegian, Fresno State’s student-run newspaper. In addition to the Clovis Roundup, Michael has written for The Fresno Bee, the Kingsburg Recorder and Selma Enterprise. He has a passion for sports and can be found on the sidelines at local games, bringing the citizens of Clovis the athletics news they deserve.