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Lancers get even

Morten’s two home runs power East Union to split with Manteca

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Lancers get even

Ryan Knisely scores Manteca's lone run.

HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin/

POSTED March 20, 2009 5:03 a.m.
Wade Morten led off the bottom half of the third after visiting Manteca evened up the score at 1 against his East Union Lancers Thursday, and his intention was to give clean-up hitter Garrett Fisher a base runner to work with.

“All I was thinking about was getting on base,” he said. “You can’t score without base runners on.”

Base runners? Who needs base runners?

Morten and Fisher went back to back for home runs to give the Lancers the lead for good in an 11-1 drubbing of their crosstown rivals, avenging Tuesday’s Valley Oak League-opening defeat.

Morten wasn’t done yet, though, as he crushed a two-run homer to straightaway center in the fifth to finish 2 for 3 with three RBIs.

After a two-out error in the outfield to extend the inning, Johnathan Shepherd drove in Fisher (2 for 2, three runs) to cap a six-run rally and enforce the mercy rule.

“Going back to back like that kind of put them in a daze,” Morten said. “I think that just got in their heads down, and we just kept getting after it.”

And that, said first-year Manteca head coach Gene Ballardo, was the difference between winning Tuesday’s 4-3 thriller against his alma mater and losing big Thursday.

“They basically wanted it more than us and it showed,” Ballardo said. “My kids were not ready to play today. When they first showed up they just looked lackadaisical.

“When you don’t come to play against a quality team, the result of this game is what you’ll see.”

Steven Weddington was 2 for 4 from the top of the Lancers’ order, contributing a two-RBI double and a run in the fifth. John Ott and Joe Modesto (RBI) plated both of East Union’s runs in the fourth after roping doubles to right center.

Manteca (1-1, 7-6-1 overall) tested East Union ace Marshall Swift, putting runners in scoring position in every inning but the fourth.

But Swift was able to strand nine runners with clutch pitching and defense.

With runners on first and second in the fifth, he worked a full count and caught Matt Burrows waving at a risky curveball. Swift then got out of the threat with his fifth and final strikeout. He gave up five hits and four walks.

“That’s the thing about him, he just does not give in that easily,” East Union coach Dan Triglia said. “He doesn’t get flustered or lose his composure; he just does what he does. He did a very good job on the mound, he just kept battling.”

Kevin Allen’s sacrifice fly to shallow right plated Ryan Knisely for Manteca’s only run. Ricky Acosta was 2 for 3 with a double.

East Union (1-1, 6-3) will begin its home-and-home series against defending VOL champion Oakdale Tuesday at Agostini Field. It will be a rematch of last year’s Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV championship game won by Oakdale, 4-0.

Manteca heads to Central Valley in Ceres.
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