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Sierra downs EU with Walljasper’s impressive homer

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Walljasper follows through on her monster shot over the left-field fence that decided Friday’s pivotal Valley Oak League contest.


POSTED May 3, 2014 12:32 a.m.

One mighty swing was all it took.

Certainly a few clutch pitches and some big defensive plays helped, but Northgate Softball Complex was still buzzing over Allie Wallasper’s game-deciding, tape-measure shot in Sierra’s 1-0 win over host East Union on Friday.

 “She literally hit it a mile,” East Union coach Brian Goulart said.

Hyperbole, yes, but it was a big home run for several different reasons.

With one game left, Sierra (9-4 VOL, 13-5 overall) remains a game ahead of Kimball (8-5, 13-8) in the race for the third and final available Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV spot berth allotted to the Valley Oak League. It also keeps East Union (11-2, 20-2) from claiming an outright share of the VOL crown with Kimball upsetting Oakdale (11-2, 18-5-1) on Friday.

“That was huge for us,” Sierra coach Nick Olmo said. “We knew that Oakdale had lost to Kimball earlier and this was a must-win game. The girls performed great. They did everything that they were supposed to do, they made the plays, they kept things simple and they came out with a good win.”

Back to the bomb heard ‘round the San Joaquin Valley.

Walljasper has carried much of the offensive load for the Timberwolves to go with her usual duties that come with being their ace pitcher, so teams have understandably shied away from giving her anything to hit. She came into the contest riding a streak of six straight walks and drew another on the first at-bat of Friday’s contest.

Alexis Erich, East Union’s own blossoming ace, made her only mistake on a 1-0 offering to Sierra’s established standout, who cleared the left-center field fence and then some.

“It was a riseball,” Walljasper said. “I saw my hands go into it and I just knew I had to do something to get a run it. I knew it was going to be a really close game.”

She was right.

Erich otherwise pitched masterfully and actually produced better numbers than her LSU-bound counterpart: 12 strikeouts, one walk, four hits. Walljasper fanned eight, walked two and yielded five hits.

“It all comes down to the home run,” Goulart said. “It was a mistake and that’s my fault. I take the blame for it because I should have made it crystal clear to my pitcher to throw four balls into the screen.”

Goulart was more critical of his team’s lack of clutch hitting.

The Lancers left eight runners on base including five in the final two innings. Their best opportunity came in the sixth when they had two runners in scoring position and no out.

“Our defense has been doing really well lately and I knew the defense was going to back me up no matter what,” Walljasper said. “I just needed to get the ball to someone to make the play and get us out of the inning.”

East Union threatened again in the bottom of the seventh and had two on with two down. Jordan Vinson’s short dribbler in front of the plate was well played by catcher Lexus Barnes, whose throw to first beat the runner by a half step and clinched the win.

“Stranded runners were the name of the game tonight,” Goulart said. “We had a bad approach at the plate and took too many standing strikes. We had plenty (of opportunities) to win the game. Our at-bats in crucial situations were very poor.”

The good news for East Union is that it can still claim a title share next Tuesday with a win at Weston Ranch. Sierra can clinch a playoff spot and have a chance at defending its 2013 section championship by beating Manteca.

“We can’t rest,” Olmo said. “We have another game to go and really we don’t care who we are playing, we’re going to be ready for it. At this point we’re looking to get into the playoffs and we want to do well, we don’t want to just make it there.”

Manteca 19, Lathrop 1

The Buffaloes (7-6, 12-8) rallied for 11 runs in the top of the first and pounded out 18 total hits against the Spartans (2-11, 3-18).

Morgan Miramontes, Celina Cooper and Aryanna Martinez each had three hits and combined for nine RBIs. Peyton Rose, who threw a one-hitter, finished with five strikeouts and no walks. Rose (2 for 3, three runs, RBI) was also one of the Buffaloes with two hits, along with Tawny Deerinck (2 for 3, two runs, two RBIs). Sierra Martinez plated four runs.

Weston Ranch 16, Sonora 1

The Cougars (4-9, 11-12) exploded for 15 runs in two innings during a VOL road victory over the Wildcats (0-13, 1-20).

Christina Washington had a two-run home run during Weston Ranch’s 10-run second inning. Vanessa Contreras went 2 for 4 with two doubles and three RBIs and pitched for an inning. Jessica Fotheringham was 2 for 2 with two RBIs and Elysia Hernandez finished 2 for 5 with a double and an RBI.

Arianna Hernandez pitched three innings and her younger sister Elysia also put in an inning of work from the circle.

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