Freshman Destiny Ricks worked 4.2 scoreless innings of relief to lead second-seeded Madera High to a 4-2 victory over No. 1 Redwood on Thursday for the Central Section Division II softball championship.
The Coyotes trailed 2-1 when Ricks entered the game in place of starter Emily Martinez and she would allow only four hits and no walks while striking out three the rest of the way.
Offensively, Aaliya Cuevas knocked in two runs for Madera, while Raven DeLeon had a single and an RBI and Daisha Ricks went 2 for 3 and scored twice.
Redwood was last season’s D-III champion before getting promoted under the section’s competitive equity system.
In other section finals:
Division III: Corie Evans’ RBI single in the bottom of the third inning was all Taft pitcher Arizona Pilgrim would need as the top-seeded Wildcats beat No. 2 Liberty-Madera Ranchos in a section final for the third straight season, 1-0.
Taft and Liberty were in Division IV the previous two seasons.
Pilgrim closed her four-year career with 103 wins.
Division IV: Mariah Mazon pitched a one-hitter and struck out 10 in No. 4 Mission Oak’s 2-0 upset on the road of No. 2 Wasco.
Division V: Sierra Ipsen earned the win, Mikayla Maggini went 4 for 4 with a home run, double and five RBIs and Serena Torres added a double, two singles and three RBIs as top-seeded Riverdale closed a 29-6 season with a 14-4 win over No. 7 Sierra Pacific.
A 14-hit attack also featured a home run from Lorena Cerna and two singles each from Lisette Gonzalez and Destinee Leonardo.
Kianna Molina, a former Bee All-Star, went 3 for 4 to lead Sierra Pacific.
Buchanan is top-seeded and the prohibitive favorite to repeat its section title at home at 6:30 p.m. Friday against No. 2 Clovis North in an all-TRAC final.
The Bears, 29-6 and ranked 13th in the state after finishing third nationally a year ago, has won nine straight and is 3-0 against the Broncos this season.
Buchanan, seeking its ninth section championship, has two players headed to the major college level in Ryan Smith (Stanford) and Patrick Gasman (Hawaii). And Bears junior setter Taj Sangha delivered 40 assists in a 3-0 semifinal win over fourth-seeded Clovis.
Clovis North (31-10), never a section titlist in boys volleyball, escaped 3-2 over No. 3 Sanger in the semis behind senior captain Bobby Ying (30 assists, 20 digs, six kills, five blocks). Senior Josh Ferraro had 21 kills in the five-setter, increasing his season total to 459.