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Upstart Sierra rallies to 7th straight win

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Upstart Sierra rallies to 7th straight win

Weston Ranch catcher Cody Simerley gets the throw and is waiting to tag out Manteca’s Alex Jorgensen at the plate. Host Manteca won the Valley Oak League contest, 12-2

HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin/

POSTED March 28, 2014 12:14 a.m.

One streak has ended while another continues for Sierra.

The Timberwolves opened Valley Oak League play against visiting Sonora on Thursday and won 5-2 behind another sterling pitching effort from lefty Leo Soto. They extended their win streak to seven but were held to less than 10 runs for the first time in that same stretch.

Soto stumbled out the gates, allowing four of Sonora’s first five batters to reach while the Wildcats (0-1 VOL, 6-4 overall) staked an early 2-0 lead. The junior retired 14 of the next 15 batters he faced and lasted five innings despite the rough start.  Ryan Vasquez pitched the final two innings for the save.

“The first two hits (Soto) gave up to start the game, neither of them were struck real well,” Sierra coach Jack Thomson said. “But what impressed me the most was that him being a junior starting his first (varsity) league game he showed a great deal of composure. He didn’t get rattled and settled down.

“I think our pitchers understand that we can play catch. As long as the ball is hit in front of (defenders) we have a chance. We’ve only had a handful of errors this year. We have infielders who can play catch and they’re really fun to watch.”

Sierra (1-0, 8-2) busted out in the third inning with a four-run rally that gave it the lead for good. Jake Pruitt roped a two-out, two run single and plated the go-ahead score on an infield error. Ty Moss capped the barrage with an RBI double.

Sierra had chances to blow it open throughout and left the bases loaded in the sixth.

“We struck out only two times and scored two-out runs, but the only thing disappointing about today was we had a couple of opportunities to really get some separation,” Thomson said. “We did a good job of getting guys on base but we weren’t getting some of the clutch hits we got in the last six or seven games. A couple more today and we could have scored 10 runs again.”

Sonora won’t get a chance to salvage a split until April 25. The rematch was originally going to take place this Saturday as part of a four-game showcase at Stockton’s Banner Island Ballpark. The event has been cancelled.

Kimball 15, Lathrop 3

In Lathrop, visiting Kimball (2-2, 3-6) capitalized on seven errors en route to completing the series sweep of the Spartans (0-2, 1-10).

“We need to do a better job of playing catch in order to play seven innings,” Lathrop coach Randy Baltazar said. “Santi (starting pitcher Santiago Kantun) did a great job of getting ground balls for outs but we booted the ball. Far too often we find ourselves giving runs to the other team with mental and physical mistakes. We are a better team than the past two weeks and the kids know that.”

Trevor Trew smashed a bases-clearing triple in the second inning for the Jaguars. He finished 3 for 4 with three runs and four RBIs and was also the winning pitcher. Nate Hendrichs plated three runs and went 2 for 3. Tyler Lawlis added a two-run triple in the fourth, when Kimball scored seven of its runs.

Lathrop’s Richard Chavez (2 for 3) drove in one run and plated another on Charles Garcia’s base hit. Andrew Tapken scored a run in the second.

Oakdale 11, East Union 1

Taylor Leach pitched a two-hitter and struck out eight for host Oakdale (4-0, 7-3).

Gabe Chavez plated the lone run for East Union (0-2, 1-10) on a wild pitch in the top of the third. Andrew Ruiz and Chavez accounted for the Lancers’ only hits. The club had opportunities to stay in the game early but left runners on the corners in the second and two in scoring position in the fifth.

Oakdale finished with a flurry, scoring six in the bottom of the fifth to enforce the mercy rule.

Manteca 12,
Weston Ranch 2

Weston Ranch (0-2, 2-10) went through four pitchers, two of them freshmen, in the loss at Manteca.

C.J. Drain doled out a pair of hits and scored one of the Cougars’ runs.

“We played well but struggled to throw strikes,” Weston Ranch coach David Hager said. “Otherwise we took care of the baseball and only had one error.”

Manteca improved to 2-0 in the VOL and 9-2 in league. Additional game information was not available as of press time.

Southern League

Ripon Christian 4,
Le Grand 2

Cole Brouwer drove in the eventual game-winning run with two outs in the top of the sixth inning Thursday in Le Grand.

David Henderson was 2 for 2 with two doubles and two RBIs. Cousins Travis and Danny Vander Molen contributed two hits apiece for the Knights (3-1 SL, 4-5 overall) while splitting pitching duties. Travis Vander Molen notched the win, while Danny secured the save.

“Offensively we’re a little overmatched so we’re going to have to pitch and play defense.” Ripon Christian coach John DeVisser said. “The guys are really stepping up and have executed a lot better since we got into league.”

Freshman softball

East Union 13, Pitman 4

Janika Gomes struck out eight and gave up three hits from the pitcher’s circle. Kinsey Ackerman and Monica Hansen (triple) each roped two hits, and Makayla Logue added one.

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