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.
Lathrop couldn't overcome a lackluster start in a 61-44 loss to visiting Kimball on Friday.
Jim Agostini sauntered back into Winter Gymnasium alongside assistant coach Rick Marsh, and as the door closed behind them their East Union girls basketball team could be heard celebrating a much-needed 58-48 win over Manteca on Thursday.
RIPON - This night belonged to the Ripon High Indians.
Elisabeth Alexander found her stroke early and never lost it.
Sierra has a way of making ugly wins look good.
Rena Dragony emerged from a scrum beneath the basket with a smile and her pinkies pointed to the sky.
Sophomore guard Tre Simmons made five 3s and led all scorers with 23 points, as playoff-bound Weston Ranch rolled past visiting East Union 70-30 Wednesday.
With about six minutes left in the third quarter, Jim Agostini called a timeout and did something he rarely ever does.
STOCKTON - What a difference 10 minutes can make.
Riverbank worked its late-game magic yet again, and it helped the Bruins garner at least a share of the Trans-Valley League title Tuesday when they edged Ripon in overtime, 44-43.
RIPON - In a Trans-Valley League tilt between two guard-oriented teams, it was the two "bigs" who made all the difference for Ripon on Tuesday.
Tonight, Manteca High will play for much more than a share of first place in the Valley Oak League.
Lathrop High's Alex Garcia and Tristan Smith of Ripon are both rated No. 3 in their respective weight classes, according to The California Wrestler's Sac-Joaquin Section rankings.
Aysia Cortez of Venture/Excel Academy won the 126-pound championship Saturday in the Sac-Joaquin Section Girls Wrestling Regional Invitational at McNair High in a thrilling 13-11 overtime match with Miranda Lamela of Pacheco-Los Banos.
Ripon High defeated visiting Modesto High on Saturday 35-20 in non-league girls' basketball action.