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MHS, Sierra open D-IV semifinals

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POSTED May 17, 2014 1:16 a.m.

Manteca and Sierra’s baseball squads both won opening round games of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV tournament Thursday.

Manteca and Sierra – which played against each other with the Valley Oak League title on the line to close the regular season – will open up a best-of-three semifinal series that could potentially send each team to the section championship game at Lodi’s Zupo Field May 26.

This is the fifth straight year Manteca (22-3) is in the postseason. The Buffaloes advanced to the section championship game one time in four tries.

Last year, the Buffaloes lost 6-5 against Central Catholic in the deciding third game of the semifinals. In 2012, Manteca was eliminated in the first round and in 2011 lost 14-4 to Oakdale in the section final. In 2010, the Buffaloes were bounced by El Dorado in two straight games in the second round.

This year, however, has been historic for the Buffaloes under first-year head coach Neil MacDannald.

Manteca captured its first VOL championship since 1985 over cross-town rival Sierra and rode a stellar season under two above-average pitchers.

Oregon-bound senior Jake Corn led the Buffaloes to a 6-0 win over El Dorado Thursday and undefeated Lucas Vaughn is expected to get the ball today at noon against Cosumnes Oaks.

Manteca will face the Wolf Pack of Elk Grove again on Monday at 4 p.m. and the “if-necessary” game is scheduled for Wednesday.

Cosumnes Oaks (21-8) finished second in the Sierra Valley Conference behind league champion Vista del Lago, which will be the opposition of Sierra (21-4) today at 3 p.m.

The Timberwolves will be making their second straight playoff appearance after a seven-year absence. Before losing 9-0 in the first round last year against Central Catholic – which went on to defeat Manteca in three games in the semifinals before losing to Oakdale in the title game – Sierra’s last tournament ball  game was in 2005 when it lost 5-0 against Vanden as the VOL’s No. 3 seed in Division III.

Sierra has been playing solid and will face the SVC champion Vista del Lago of Folsom, which is 24-4 overall this year.

The T’Wolves knocked off Ceres 9-6 Thursday and Vista del Lago eliminated the four-time defending section champion Oakdale, 7-6.

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