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Running, fielding mistakes end season

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Manteca Babe Ruth infielder Danny Gouvea chases down Lodi's Robby Peckham for the first out of Tuesday's District 1 Tournament game in Modesto.


POSTED July 8, 2009 2:44 a.m.
MODESTO — Nine errors on top of several base-running mishaps aren’t supposed to win ball games.

 Lodi Babe Ruth’s 14-year-old all-stars did anyway.

Manteca had its share of mistakes on defense and the base paths Tuesday at Grace Davis Park, where it was eliminated in the consolation-bracket semifinal of the District 1 Tournament by way of a heart-breaking 8-7 loss in eight innings.

Manteca scratched across two runs in the sixth thanks to four throwing errors by Lodi’s infield, ultimately forcing the extra frame.

But a fielding error on Edwin Pacheco’s sacrifice bunt in the top of the eighth allowed leadoff batter Kyle Rivers, who walked, to advance to third uncontested, setting up Grant Hennecky’s deciding RBI single to right.

Manteca mounted its final threat in the bottom half after John Olague walked and Lane Gore reached on an error with two outs. Winning pitcher Robby Peckham sealed it with a strikeout.

“This whole tournament we made a lot of mistakes,” Manteca manager Don Mount said. “We took ourselves out of bases while in scoring position — base-running errors just hurt us.

“We also made a few errors on the field, but we played good enough ball to compete. Every time we made errors they capitalized on them.”

Manteca had a chance to plate the go-ahead run during its sloppy sixth-inning rally, but the threat was abated after a base runner was caught in a rundown between third and home.

It was a painful end to the season after a great start had Manteca ahead 3-0 after one.

With a few clutch sequences — including a rundown for the first out, a strikeout with runners in scoring position for the second and a diving stop of a line-drive shot by shortstop Danny Gouvea for the third — starting pitcher John Huizal and his defense kept Lodi scoreless on its first turn at the plate despite three runners reaching base.

Manteca quickly broke it open offensively with four straight hits from Tyler Plumb, Gouvea, Olague and Gore for its first three runs, and Huizal tripled and later scored in the second to make it 4-1.

It was a big turnaround from Sunday’s opener against Lodi, which prevailed 5-3 behind a strong pitching performance from Will Lyon. Lyon struggled on Tuesday, however, and was relieved by the hard-throwing and side winding Hennecky.

Hennecky was nails in his three-inning stint, giving up just one hit while striking out two.

“We put ourselves in a great position,” Mount said. “We struggled against that same pitcher that started but hit him hard today, and the pitcher we struggled with today we roped on Sunday. I don’t know what it is.”

Lodi made its big comeback charge in the third, taking advantage of two errors to jump ahead, 6-4. Pinch-hitter Tyler Porterfield capped the onslaught with a two-run single.

Lodi will face San Benito in the championship round today at 5:30 p.m. but will have to win twice to advance to the state tournament.

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