El Diamante finishes their season one game shy of a Valley title game appearance after loss to Madera
VISALIA – One bad inning can cost a team their season, which was the case last week for El Diamante. After putting together one of their best seasons in recent years, the Miners fell just one game short of the Division II Valley title game after losing to Madera, the eventual Valley Champions.
The Miners got on the board first early in the game, but things started going south in the fifth inning. A multitude of errors led to two scored runs which put them down 2-1. It could have been worse but senior pitcher Rider Hartman was able to get them out of the inning despite the bases being loaded. Head coach Dillon Kelley considered it an uncharacteristic inning for his team.
“We pressed a little bit…ball didn’t roll in our favor. Balls hit off our glove and we didn’t make good throws to first,” Kelley said. “I think that these guys earned another seven innings, but they aren’t getting it.”
Fielding was a problem all game for El Diamante as errors led to Madera’s third and final run in the sixth inning.
Despite a heartbreaking loss, it was a successful first full season as head coach for Kelley. He gives credit to the leadership on the squad as eight of nine starters were seniors.
“I think that they set the tone for this program and I couldn’t get luckier as a first full year coach to get these guys,” he said. “[Losing them] will be detrimental but I think the younger guys coming into the program will be ready when its their time.”
Four of those seniors will be moving on to play in this year’s East/West All-Star game at Lion Stadium in Exeter on Saturday: Cole Yoshida, Austin Beno, Rider Hartman and Colton Montgomery.