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BUFFS BASH BULLDOGS

Ceres’ nine-game win streak snapped

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BUFFS BASH BULLDOGS

Manteca's Trey Roberts celebrates with teammates near home plate after driving in the final run of the Buffaloes' 12-2 rout of visiting Ceres in the bottom of the sixth inning Friday.

HIME ROMEOR/The Bulletin


POSTED May 1, 2010 2:54 a.m.
Manteca High pitcher and leadoff hitter Matt Barber made good on only half of his promise to coach Gene Ballardo Friday.

Barber overcame a rough start, but he and the Buffaloes finished strong in their 12-2, six-inning win to split the season series and secure an “if necessary” tiebreaker over Ceres in what has culminated into a heated race for the Valley Oak League title and three Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV playoff berths.

“I talked to (Barber) earlier today and he said, ‘Coach, I promise you I’m going to get a win for us and two hits today,’” Ballardo said. “I don’t know what he got (offensively), but he got the win for us. All year he’s been doing a great job.”

Barber was 0 for 3 from the plate but did score two runs, including one in the bottom of the sixth when Manteca (9-3, 14-7-1 overall) erupted for a five-run, two-out rally that enforced the 10-run mercy rule. No. 9 hitter Trey Roberts belted a base hit to left to score Gabe Rellamas for the final run.

The hot-hitting Bulldogs (7-5, 13-9-1), came in averaging nine runs per game in their previous five contests while winning nine straight, including Thursday’s 13-10 barnburner against Manteca in the series opener.

They quickly put the pressure on Manteca Friday but were aided by two errors. Tyler Cummings drove in Ceres’ only runs with a double to right.

“I just had to keep my team in it and stop the bleeding,” Barber said. “I had to give the guys more chances to make plays and they did.”

Barber cooled off Ceres for the remainder of the game and was in cruise control, finishing with just 64 pitches while giving up five hits, no earned runs, no walks and no strikeouts. He forced three straight grounders to the left side of the infield on Ceres’ final trip to the plate, throwing just six pitches in the process.

“Matt is very effective,” Ballardo said. “He keeps the ball down and doesn’t throw as hard as some other pitchers, but he’s gotten the job done for us all year.”

Manteca jumped ahead in the third inning when Daniel Miramontes drove in its first run with a sacrifice fly and Matt Burrows crushed a two-RBI double to left center.

Gabe Rellamas did much of the damage in the fifth and sixth, driving in two runs with a base hit in each inning and finishing 3 for 4.

Robbie Wise was 2 for 3 with two runs, and reserve first baseman C.J. Rivas was 2 for 2 with two runs and an RBI.

“We finished strong,” Ballardo said. “We had to take care of business today. I put a little pressure on them and said this was a must-win.

“We don’t want to fall too far behind. If they would have swept us today we would have been in bad shape, and we still have to play Oakdale and Weston Ranch.”

Manteca remains a half game behind second-place Sonora, which wraps up its series with East Union today, and two games behind three-time defending champion Oakdale.

The Buffaloes open their two-game set with the league leader Tuesday in Oakdale.
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