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Pitching anchors Manteca majors

Three hurlers combine for three-hitter

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Pitching anchors Manteca majors

Brandon Landwehr connects for a leadoff triple in the first inning of Manteca Little League's District 67 Tournament of Champions contest with the Lathrop Giants Tuesday at Neil Hafley School.


POSTED June 17, 2009 3:43 a.m.
Pitching depth is essential for teams to make it out of the consolation bracket, and Manteca Little League’s major division A’s proved on Tuesday that they have no shortage of arms in their 6-1 victory over the Lathrop Giants at Neil Hafley School.

The A’s, who dropped a 5-3 heartbreaker to Weston Ranch in the District 67 Tournament of Champions opener Sunday, will tangle with crosstown rival Spreckels Park Thursday at 6 p.m.

“Pitching is carrying us, and hopefully that’s a sign of good things to come because we’re in the loser’s bracket,” A’s assistant coach Rob Vasquez said. “We have to have pitching depth or we’re done.

“Right now we’re in good shape with our pitching. We go about five or six deep, so hopefully that helps us.”

Manteca had three pitchers combine for 13 strikeouts to just three walks, while giving up only three hits. Ryan Vasquez was outstanding in his 3 1/3-inning start. The lefty established his fastball early and recorded seven strikeouts before Tanner Peterson took over. Vasquez was on a pitch count to make himself available for Friday’s game should the A’s get past Spreckels.

After allowing a run-scoring infield single to Lathrop’s Robert Esparza and a walk in the fourth, Peterson retired the next four batters he faced in order. Brandon Landwehr pitched a scoreless sixth to close it out.

Save for a mistake-laden second inning in which Manteca plated two runs, Lathrop battled valiantly from wire to wire. After going 15-0 in league play, the Giants had the misfortune of starting their TOC run against potential contenders.

 On Sunday, Tracy American’s Cameron Hoff struck out eight in five innings to lead his club’s 7-0 shutout of the Giants.

“We played very, very strong teams,” Lathrop manager Jason Holzer said. “It just shows how much Little League has improved with the emergence of travel ball. You’re finding that these 12-year-old kids can throw the ball very hard now.”

The game could have gotten out of hand early.

Manteca’s Brandon Landwehr led off the bottom of the first with a triple to left. Peterson worked a full count and was robbed of a base hit by Giants right fielder Diego Chavez, who dove toward the infield to make the catch.

The sacrifice fly did score the first run, but pitcher Jake Campbell kept the Giants in it with a strikeout and another popup to Chavez.

“That’s a good ball team,” coach Vasquez said of Lathrop. “We put the ball in play and they made the plays. They didn’t give us too much.”

Chuck Good helped Manteca lead more comfortably in the fourth inning with a two-RBI double to deep left for the final runs.

Carlos Estrada broke up Manteca’s no-hit bid with a two-out single to left in the third, and Jared Holzer plated the Giants’ lone run after a leadoff triple to left an inning later.

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