Cougars open CIF playoffs with big win over Madera

Maddy Arnold holds Madera’s Neveah Montes close at first base during the Clovis High School’s 11-2 victory at home. PHOTO BY NUGESSE GHEBRENDRIAS/THE CLOVIS ROUNDUP

Despite the seeding, whether good or bad, the Madera Coyotes and the Clovis Cougars softball teams did all their talking on the field.

After a three-patient innings by the Cougars, sophomore Macey Grigsby jumpstarted the Clovis offense with a two-run double in the bottom of the fourth inning to energize the home team and ignite the offense for 11 runs in three innings.

Clovis took its newfound momentum and added three runs in the fourth, six runs in the fifth and two more runs in the sixth inning to advance into the next round of the CIF Division I Central Section playoffs.

“I thought we did really good. We started off a little slow I thought, and I thought we were sort of feeling things out,” Clovis softball head coach Mike Noel said. “We talked to them out about just going out there and playing hard and when we got around to doing that, I thought we were playing like a good ball club.”

The Cougars got the job done at the plate with 11 hits and 11 runs, but on the mound, Allie Puente pitched a complete game, only allowing two runs. Her ability to mix up her pitches and keep the Coyotes off balance, stymied the No. 13 team in the Division I playoffs for a confidence-building win.

Although Puente wasn’t her usual dominating self, but she executed and got the victory.

“She wasn’t as sharp as she normally is, and those things happen. It’s a tough thing to be out there by yourself battling, but I think she fine job fighting through some mechanical things and she’s been really good for us all year so, Allie will carry us through the playoffs and we feel good about that,” Noel said.

The action picked up in the bottom of the fourth inning. After a slow start, the Cougars began to pick up steam.

Back-to-back walks by Grace Henson and Puente put the Coyotes in a sticky situation. With the first two batters on, Madera’s Alexis Galvan had to get an out and she did. Kassie Puente grounded out, but that set up the Cougar’s first runs of the game.

Grigsby stepped up and plated two runs with a deep shot to center field. Grigsby waited patiently for her pitch, before turning on a fastball, scoring two. Brooke Brazill followed with a single after Grigsby’s double, keeping the inning alive for Taylor Johnson who drove Grigsby home with an RBI groundout.

Clovis held a 3-0 lead and never looked back.

Maddy Arnold and Caitlin Decanio opened the bottom of the fifth with singles, setting up a six-run inning.

Grace Henson stepped up to the plate and doubled home Arnold to take a 4-0 lead. Decanio joined her after Puente hit a sac fly, pushing their lead 5-0.

Kassie Puente followed her sister with a single, and Grigsby pushed it to 6-0 after a sac fly drove Henson home.

Johnson later tripled home two runs, giving the Cougars an 8-0 lead. Abigail McAvoy added a ninth run to complete the turnaround for the Cougars in the fifth inning.

Madera would add two runs, but the Cougars added three more runs to snuff out any chance at a comeback. The Clovis Cougars now turn their focus to the Bullard-Fresno Knights this Thursday in the next round of the CIF Division I Championships.

Nugesse Ghebrendrias
For the past three years, Nugesse has been a vital part of the Madera Tribune covering sports, news, entertainment and feature writing. Nugesse’s ability to interact with the community allows him to promote students, athletes and community members with fairness and objectivity. We are happy to have Nugesse join our team here at the Clovis Roundup.