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Walljasper’s 2-run hit catapults Sierra over game Manteca

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Manteca’s Tawny Deerinck goes for the tag on Sierra’s Gianna Lenoci at second base.

HIME ROMERO/ The Bulletin/

POSTED April 5, 2014 12:42 a.m.

Manteca settled for a split with the two finalists of last year’s Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV playoffs.

A week after upsetting Kimball, the Buffaloes had defending Valley Oak League and section champion Sierra on the ropes before falling 4-2 on Friday.

“It proves that we can play with anybody, it’s what I truly feel and I think the girls believe that,” Manteca coach Corey Navarro said. “We just made two critical mistakes that really cost us.”

Nursing a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the fifth, the visiting Buffaloes (3-3 VOL, 6-5 overall) had a chance to escape a jam with runners in scoring position and two out.

Allie Walljasper, Sierra’s LSU-bound star, swung on the first offering from Peyton Rose and tagged a hard grounder up the middle to drive in the tying and go-ahead runs. Kiara Balika, courtesy running for Walljasper, later scored on a throwing error following Mariah Jurado’s single.

“We did not intend to pitch to Allie there,” Navarro said. “That was a missed pitch, and when you miss against somebody of her stature she’s going to make it happen. Peyton did a great job all game, but that’s softball. If you miss one time that could be all it takes. Good players take advantage of mistakes.”

The other miscue came in the top of the seventh as Manteca threatened to close the gap with runners on first and second and one out. The lead runner was called out for leaving the second-base bag too early, and the game ended on the next pitch with a routine grounder to shortstop Gianna Lenoci.

Walljasper atoned for her own mistake with the two-run single.

She had a perfect game brewing through 3 2/3 innings but issued a full-pitch walk to Celina Cooper. On the next pitch, cleanup hitter Annissa Gonzalez walloped a two-run homer to left center to give Manteca its 2-1 advantage.

Walljasper sought to make up for it on her next at-bat and did. Also on her mind was Wednesday’s disappointing 2-1 loss to East Union, Sierra’s other in-city rival.

“I was just trying to come through for the team to get this win,” Walljasper said. “I didn’t want to take another loss. We hadn’t been using our bats very well but this time I think our bats came around pretty well.”

Walljasper fanned eight of the first nine batters she faced and finished with 14 strikeouts, two walks and two hits. Both hits were registered by Gonzalez.

Rose scattered six hits, walked two and struck out two and settled nicely after a rough start.

Sierra (4-2, 8-3) plated the first run in the opening frame, as Devi Coglio led off with a double to right and was driven in on Lenoci’s single. After walking Walljasper, Rose retired 12 of the next 13 batters.

Sierra finally broke through with its three-run fifth. Coach Nick Olmo is hoping it’s a sign of things to come for a club that has struggled to string together hits against solid pitching all season.

“We didn’t want to sit there and look at as many pitches as we’ve been looking at, that was the game plan,” Olmo said. “They’re all looking for that perfect pitch and we’re trying to tell them nobody is going to give that to them unless it’s a mistake.

“It’s been a slow process this season. We don’t have the travel ball players that we used to have; we have a greener squad this year. But we’re working with them and I see improvement.”

One player showing improvement is Kikuno Tsahaka, a foreign-exchange student from Japan. She got the start at third base Friday and sparked the Timberwolves’ deciding rally with a leadoff single to right.

“We’re trying to give her as many reps out there as we can and she did well,” Olmo said, noting that she will start in Sierra’s rematch with first-place Oakdale next week with his normal third baseman out. “She put the ball in play twice and handled herself well at third. She’s been a pleasant surprise.”

East Union 10,
 Weston Ranch 0 (6)

Lancer freshman Alexis Erich pitched a two-hit shutout, and Taylor Ward went 2 for 2 with a bases-clearing triple to help East Union (5-1, 11-1) knock off the Cougars (3-3, 7-6).

Cherish Burks (triple) and Valerie Ramos (double, RBI) were both 2 for 3. East Union scored four in the first inning, two more in the fourth and four in the sixth.

Arianna Hernandez and Mia Thurman belted Weston Ranch’s only hits.

Both teams will play make-up games this Monday, as East Union hosts Sonora while Weston Ranch heads to Manteca.


East Union 11, Weston Ranch 0

Delaney Pamplin and Christina Mojica combined for a no-hitter for the Lancers (6-1, 10-1).

Pamplin also did damage from the dish and went 2 for 2 with three RBIs. Melissa Hansen went 2 for 3 with four RBIs and a home run. Gaby Sandoval also homered, and Vanessa Martinez drove in three runs.

East Union 17, Sierra 5

Alley Graham and Janika Gomes both went 3 for 4 and Gomes tossed a complete game Wednesday.

Lacquel Daigel went 4 for 4 and Kinsey Ackerman finished 3 for 4 and the Lancers improved 3-0 in league and 9-0 overall.

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