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Manteca loses ground in playoff race

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POSTED May 1, 2014 12:04 a.m.

Manteca isn’t completely eliminated from playoff contention yet, but its chances did take a hit after Wednesday’s 10-4 Valley Oak League loss against Kimball.

The Buffaloes (6-6 VOL, 11-8 overall) played well against the Jaguars and their sophomore ace Samantha Sarmiento. Three Manteca errors down the stretch resulted in Kimball (7-5, 12-8) closing by registering seven unanswered runs despite the Buffaloes leading 4-3 after three frames.

“It was a good game and it was back and forth,” Manteca head coach Corey Navarro said. “We made a crucial error and they started moving girls around. We made some errors in the last couple of innings that ended up costing us.”

Manteca’s Celina Cooper went 3 for 4, including a two-run home run in the third inning that put the Buffaloes ahead by one for the first and last time.

Kimball tied the game in the fourth and took a 5-4 lead after the top of the fifth as it tallied up 16 hits against Manteca pitcher Peyton Rose (eight earned runs, three walks, one strikeout).

Sarmiento not only notched the win for Kimball, but she also hit a two-out, two-run home run in the top of the seventh frame to make up the final score. The Jaguars scored all three of their runs in the seventh with two outs.

Manteca tallied 10 hits, including a double from Morgan Miramontes (1 for 4). Tawny Deerinck went 2 for 4 and Aryanna Martinez finished 2 for 3. Sarmiento’s four runs surrendered were all unearned and she also threw two walks and seven strikeouts.

Manteca will visit Lathrop on Friday and will close the season at home against Sierra Tuesday. Sierra defeated Weston Ranch Wednesday, improving to 8-4 VOL, 12-5 overall with East Union and Manteca remaining on the schedule.

“If Sierra loses to East Union (Friday) and then loses to us on (Tuesday), then it’s a three-way tie with us two and Kimball,” Navarro concluded.

Sierra 8, Weston Ranch 0

Allie Walljasper registered 17 strikeouts in her no-hit shutout of visiting Weston Ranch (3-9, 10-12).

Sierra (8-4, 12-5) got two RBIs apiece from Mariah Jurado (two hits), Devi Coglio and Legaci Barnes. Walljasper was walked four times.

“I’ve said it in the past that Weston Ranch is a team that battles and fights until the last out and nothing changed today,” Sierra coach Nick Olmo said. “They were going up there and taking their hacks, but our girls played well today. We need to take this momentum to East Union on Friday.”

The defending VOL and Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV champions have a tough finish to the regular season with the third and final playoff spot still up for grabs. After facing co-leading East Union on Friday, the Timberwolves take on Manteca next week.

Lathrop 13, Sonora 3

The Spartans (2-10, 3-17) were led by Kassidee Diaz, Regina Juarez and Desiree Mendola’s two RBIs apiece during their five-inning victory. Samantha Fonseca went all five innings and didn’t walk any. She also tossed five strikeouts against Sonora (0-12, 1-19). Lathrop will conclude its season against Manteca on Friday and will be on the road against Kimball Tuesday.

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