Several programs rare to the winner’s circle in the Fresno Easter Baseball Classic are making an aggressive push to alter history.
Madera and Reedley, who have won one Classic each, and Memorial and Franklin-Elk Grove, who’ve never struck gold in the 47-year tournament, are among seven teams with 3-0 records entering Wednesday’s close of the regular phase.
Madera, following the Monday lead of Johnny Medrina, who blanked Kerman 2-0, then scored 5-1 and 10-1 wins over Foothill-Palo Cedro and Bradshaw Christian-Sacramento at Edison High Tuesday behind the pitching of Charles Gray (seven-hitter) and Anthony Velasquez (four innings pitched, seven strikeouts).
The Fresno Bee’s fourth-ranked Coyotes (10-1-1), who captured the 1995 Classic title behind tournament Most Valuable Player Chris Moe, will have the opportunity to earn a championship game ticket Wednesday at home at 11 a.m. against Franklin.
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Teams with the best records will play in Wednesday’s 7 p.m. final at Clovis West’s Stan Bledsoe Field.
Fewest runs allowed is the No. 1 tiebreaker and a common one in the 38-team tournament that drew 11 teams from the Sac-Joaquin Section, such as Franklin.
Madera stands firm with only two runs given up. Following are Edison (four), Reedley (five), Memorial (five), Clovis (seven), Buchanan (eight) and Franklin (eight).
Reedley, which won its only Classic title in 1973 behind tournament MVP Richard Rucobo and Outstanding Pitcher Randy Vogt, won 3-1 and 4-3 Monday against Golden Valley-Merced and Red Bluff behind complete games from J.T. Gomez and Josh Garcia. Then Diego Morales followed with another in a Tuesday matinee at Edison, a four-hitter with 10 strikeouts in a 7-1 victory over Foothill-Palo Cedro.
Reedley will play Oakmont-Roseville Wednesday at 1 p.m. at Bullard.
Memorial, runner-up to Clovis in last year’s Classic championship, defeated Woodlane 5-0 behind Charles Zarasua and Fresno 5-1 behind Mike Alvarez’s seven-hitter and 10 strikeouts. Casey Padgett took over this season for 18-year Panthers coach Pete Dalena, honored with the Classic’s annual Golden Bat Award on Sunday.
Memorial will play Buhach Colony-Atwater Wednesday at 1 p.m. at Clovis West.
Buchanan, top-ranked by The Bee and No. 6 nationally by MaxPreps, improved to 13-0 with a 12-6 win over Sheldon Oak-Grove. The Bears, winners of six Classic titles since 2000, will remain home Wednesday to oppose Hanford at 10 a.m.
And Clovis, No. 2 by The Bee and No. 7 nationally by Max Preps, moved to 14-0 with a 6-5 conquest of Oakmont as junior outfielder Connor Jorgensen went 3-for-5, including a walk-off single.
The Cougars, winners of the past two Classic titles and eight overall,also received two hits each from Tyson Fraser and eight strikeouts in three innings of relief from Sidney Lacy. They will remain home to play Tehachapi at 10 a.m.