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.
Not even a disastrous start to her second nine could derail Brooke Riley's round Monday morning.
RIPON - When you're cousins, so close in age and interests you may as well be brothers, you develop certain advantages in the athletic arena.
Good news first: Ripon and Ripon Christian's volleyball teams each get to host a match for the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV playoffs.
Valley Oak League champion Iris Carrilo and Sierra's Haley Silva placed first and second in Division III girls, while the Manteca boys and Ripon Christian girls teams earned top-three finishes during the Sac-Joaquin Section Subsection Meet held at Frogtown this past Saturday.
The Sac-Joaquin Section indicated at the start of the season that more emphasis would be placed on strength of schedule in seeding playoff brackets.
RIPON - Linden got its revenge Thursday night.
RIPON – Travis Vander Molen buried his head in his hands after misfiring on a point-blank header.
There's a special bond that exists between quarterback and coach, which makes this Friday's rivalry tilt between Manteca and East Union, well...
STOCKTON - Weston Ranch managed a goal 12 minutes into the second half and kept visiting Woodland out of the net to escape the quarterfinals of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV playoffs with a 1-0 win Thursday night.
Kole Gonzales racked up six goals, as the Ripon boys water polo team routed Ceres 22-3 Thursday in the first round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II playoffs held at Woodcreek High of Roseville.
It was a brand new experience for Weston Ranch, a bright-eyed team of underclassmen and few seniors that had lifted the program to new heights by qualifying for the postseason.
CERES - The last time the East Union and Central Valley boys soccer programs met in the playoffs their semifinal escalated into a shootout.
No need to speculate on who is in and who is out of the Sac-Joaquin Section playoff hunt for Manteca-area teams.
To be the champion Manteca would had to beat league champions in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III team playoffs.
The East Union volleyball team knows how to celebrate senior night.