Liberty-Madera Ranchos claims back-to-back Central Section Division V championship
Liberty-Madera Ranchos High senior catcher Colton Cardoza couldn’t have asked his pitcher Nate Samarin for a better birthday present.
Samarin pitched a four-hitter as the No. 2-seed Hawks defeated No. 1 Minarets 2-1 in the Central Section Division V baseball championship game Friday at Beiden Field.
It’s back-to-back titles for Liberty. Last season, the Hawks defeated Arvin 4-2 after beating Minarets 17-0 in the semifinals.
“I told my teammates, I don’t want anything else for my birthday but a ring,” said Cardoza,, who scored one of the Hawks’ runs. “Never get to play the game again, but the last one is the best.”
Samarin delivered for his batterymate.
“I felt good and had a good week of practice,” Samarin said. “Just pretty much have a good rhythm and a good pace was the main thing that worked out for me and the arm was fresh.”
Liberty coach Mario Cosma credited his pitcher for giving his team a chance to win the game.
“I’m just so happy for our seniors,” Cosma said. “They worked so hard this year. To repeat is a big deal, and I just got to give them credit. Nate Samarin threw a heck of a ball game.”
It was another tough ending for Minarets, which has built a remarkable record in its short time. The school started varsity baseball in 2011 and has seven straight winning seasons, going 136-64-1 in that span with three section runner-up finishes and two more semifinal appearances.
Minarets left-hander Aaron Hall pitched a three-hitter, giving up runs in the second and third innings.
Anthony Galaviz: 559-441-6042, agalaviz_TheBee