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Buffaloes hand Sonora its first two losses in VOL play

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Manteca's Trey Roberts, right, congratulates teammate Robert Wise after scoring during the second game of the Buffs' doubleheader with Sonora on Saturday.

HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin

POSTED April 25, 2010 1:22 a.m.
Over the past two months, the Sonora Wildcats have only been beaten twice, but one trip to Manteca and now the Wildcats have lost their grasp on the Valley Oak League’s top spot after being swept by the Manteca Buffaloes 5-4 and 13-1 Saturday.

Manteca (8-2 VOL, 13-6-1) used another sterling pitching effort from starter Matt Burrows and a clutch Michael Timmins base hit in the bottom of the seventh to land the game one victory. The Buffaloes followed it up by tying their second highest run total of the season accompanied by a complete game victory from Matt Barber.

Sonora (8-2, 13-4) walked onto the Buffaloes’ field riding an 11-game win streak, but saw it end after right fielder Wyatt Johnson came in two steps on a Barber line drive and paid the price when the ball sailed over his head. Timmins finalized the victory when he lined reliever Dan Molieri’s second pitch into leftfield.

“In our previous games Michael had been struggling a little bit,” Manteca head coach Gene Ballardo said. “We worked on keeping his weight back and getting his hands through with a lot of tee work.

“It paid off today with him staying back and driving that ball pretty well to win the game.”

Timmins’ game winning RBI was the perfect ending to an inspired effort from Burrows. The junior right-hander only found himself in trouble in two innings, when Manteca errors led to a pair of Sonora runs in the third and fourth innings.

Burrows struck out 13, giving the Buffaloes a shot at the win by striking out the side in his final inning of work.

“That first game was very important because we knew that they had only lost two games all year,” Burrows said. “We wanted to come out and get the first one so we’d have confidence to carry over into the second game, and that is exactly what happened.”

Manteca scored first in the opener after Timmins got things going with a perfect base-hit-bunt, and later came around to score on a Burrows bloop-single to right. Sonora posted two in the top of the third and Manteca responded, getting a leadoff single from Barber which would lead to Manteca tying things up with a Daniel Miramontes RBI double.

Everything that needed to go right for the Buffaloes in the nightcap clearly did, as Manteca jumped out to an early 8-1 lead by the third inning.

“What we do here is play the first game,” Ballardo said. “And if we win that first game, then we go for the sweep. If we lose the first game then we’re looking for the split. Going into a series, I never think ‘Let’s split and we’ll be ok. That’s not my mentality and that’s not the mentality of our ball club.

“We’re trying to beat anybody and everybody when we step on the field.”

Barber led the offense in the first game, going 3 for 4 with the huge triple to open the seventh. Timmins finished the game 2 for 5, while teammate Miramontes was 2 for 3 with a double. Kevin Peck and Trey Roberts both collected hits as well.

In game two, Manteca erased an early 1-0 deficit when C.J. Rivas unloaded on Sonora starter Garrett Everhart’s first pitch of the second inning, depositing it deep over the leftfield fence. Hits from Robert Wise, Gabe Rellamas and Roberts gave Manteca a lead it would not surrender. Wise finished 3 for 3 with a double and a sacrifice fly, while Rellamas was 2 for 3 with a walk, a RBI and a run scored.

The Buffaloes will try to keep it rolling when they meet up with the Ceres Bulldogs Tuesday at home.

“Ceres is a hot team,” Ballardo said. “They’ve won six straight in league and they’re doing some good things. We know going in that we have our work cut out for us. This really is nothing.

“We’ve won two games, big deal; we have to turn around and win next week.”
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