OAKDALE - The stage is set.
Field issues at Lathrop High forced the Manteca Buffaloes to host their final Valley Oak league meeting with the Spartans and hitting first had no ill effects on the Buffaloes, as they remained unblemished after their first league series with a 12-1 win Wednesday.
RIPON – The Trans Valley League season could have opened with better results, nonetheless, the Ripon Indians are going to have to rebound after a disheartening 7-1 loss to the Hughson Huskies Thursday.
East Union High's sophomore baseball team had a combined three-hit shutout from three pitchers who helped the Squires snap a three-game losing streak and roll into the Valley Oak League season behind am 8-0 win over Stagg Thursday.
Getting the Valley Oak League season underway must have been on the minds of the Sierra High track athletes, after dismantling the Ceres Bulldogs on both levels of completion Wednesday in the VOL opener.
When your No. 1 singles player takes two-out-of-three matches from an opponent that's part of an established program you're probably going to have a good day.
RIPON - Little time had elapsed when the Hughson Huskies struck gold after a throw-in led to a breakaway goal, giving a glimpse of things to come in Ripon Christian's 6-0 loss to Hughson in Trans Valley League play Wednesday.
The Sierra Timberwolves had an opportunity to take a stride forward on the Valley Oak League golf scene, but Oakdale High had other intentions during Sierra's 210-221 loss to the Mustangs Wednesday at Manteca Golf Course.
STOCKTON – The Weston Ranch baseball squad found themselves down 5-0 after three innings, but the deficit was just the first hurdle in the Cougars' come-from-behind win over Monterey Trail in the Claudia Lewis Tournament at McNair High.
After one inning of play, the Lathrop Spartans looked as if competing in its Valley Oak League debut would not be a problem, but two huge innings and 14 runs later Manteca High showed that would not be the case in a 15-0 shellacking Tuesday.
SONORA - The first marquee soccer matchup in the Valley Oak League came on opening day Tuesday, and it was a chance for East Union to stake its claim as one of the conference's teams to beat.
MODESTO – Sierra High's defense only committed two errors, but they proved costly in the Timberwolves' 6-1 loss to Johansen High Tuesday.
East Union's tennis team met its first test in Valley Oak League play Tuesday against defending singles champion Luis Ochoa and the Ceres Bulldogs.
LATHROP - Ripon played near perfect softball save for poor execution on the base paths on a few plays, but head coach Robert Vernon gave kudos to first-year varsity Lathrop's defensive effort.
Competing without some of its best players is nothing new to Ripon High's girls soccer team.
Weston Ranch is heading to the championship game in one of the Central Section's most prestigious tournaments.
Cody Norman is back with his alma mater, coaching the Laguna Creek girls basketball team in Elk Grove.
Livingston buried three 3-pointers to lead 9-0 at the start of its nonleague game at Manteca High's Winter Gymnasium Friday night.
RIPON - Ripon Christian may no longer be in the Southern League for basketball, but its growing rivalry with Mariposa lives on.
TRACY - Ryan Tarr had seen enough.
TRACY - With four reserves checking in at the scorer's table, Lathrop coach Nathan McGrath left them with one simple message:
Unhappy with his team's defensive effort in its last outing, Manteca coach Brett Lewis challenged the Buffaloes tighten things up for their first-round contest with Merced in the Running with the Pack Tournament held at Cosumnes Oaks of Elk Grove on Thursday.
East Union withstood a tremendous rally by visiting Ripon in the final minute, but the Indians couldn't take advantage of the extra chances created by five rebounds.
FRESNO – Jaelen Ragsdale scored 25 points to lead four players in double figures as the Weston Ranch boys basketball team cruised to victory in the opening round of the Holiday Invitational Tournament.
East Union blew out its first four opponents by 20 or more points, including a 53-25 shelling of Ripon Christian in a Foundation Game.
In time, the Manteca High basketball team may compete with the big boys of the Sac-Joaquin Section.
Devin Nunez knows how to slam a door.
They may be young, but the Manteca Buffaloes are proving to be fast learners.
STOCKTON - The fall from grace has been sudden and swift for the Lathrop boys basketball team, but coach Nate McGrath can see the potential in all the losses.
LATHROP - Gurveen Bal hit a 3-pointer in the middle of a 14-0 second-quarter run to give the Lathrop girls basketball team the lead for good in a 34-31 win over Chavez-Stockton on Monday.