Manteca got hot early Friday with a six-run second inning and then cooled off quickly, holding off a late rally by Vista del Lago of Folsom for a 6-2 non-conference baseball win.
After the big second inning, no players reached base for the Buffaloes (2-3-1).
“That probably happened for a couple of reasons,” Manteca coach Neil MacDannald said of his team’s later-game drought. “That guy was a good pitcher, and a lot of times good pitchers take an inning or two to find their groove and you had better get it while the getting is good, because once he has found his groove then it is a little tougher sledding.
“He was keeping the ball down, he was throwing off-speed real well, and so you have to tip your cap to him.”
Christian Cruz, Dylan Gross and Matthew Ender laced consecutive one-out singles to load the bases in the Buffaloes second. No. 9 hitter Dominic Rea then fell behind in the count 0-2 before arcing a bases-clearing double down the right-field line for a 3-0 lead.
“I got those two strikes,” Rea said. “I thought they were a little high but he called them so I had to choke up on the bat and get a hit for the team.
“It was close, so I had to protect.”
Alex Gouveia then singled in Rea. Ryan Ward was hit by a pitch, and Kyle Rachels walked to load the bases. Both advanced 90 feet when Ferrin Manuleleua grounded into a fielder’s choice at third, getting Gouveia at home.
With two out, Gino Campiotti came up and grounded a rainbow over the mound, and with Ward and Rachels moving on contact they both scored.
“I had just hit a ball down the right-field line that would have been a double but it was foul by a few inches,” Campiotti said. “I was pretty, upset and I had two strikes on me so it was time to protect.
“I hit probably the softest ball I have hit all year and it one-hopped over the pitcher’s head – I hit harder balls today that I got out on – and it kind of went into no-man’s land. I busted my butt down to first base and I barely beat it. It was a bang-bang play.”
Dylan Gross threw the first six innings for the Buffaloes, allowing one run on two hits while striking out four and walking two.
“I had great command on the mound today,” Gross said. “Coach Mac is one of those guys who preaches throwing strikes and not giving up free 90s, and I think that is rubbing off on me.
“This is a big improvement from last year. Since Day 1 he has been preaching to me no free 90s and no free passes. I have taken that to heart and have been working my butt off.”
Campiotti pitched the seventh for Manteca, allowing one run on two hits while striking out the side. The Eagles (1-2) loaded the bases and worked the count full with two outs when Campiotti froze the batter for a called strike three to end the game.
“I was real happy with Dylan’s effort and with Gino’s effort,” MacDannald said. “Gino hasn’t had a lot of innings since he came from basketball, so his quick adjustment period has been helpful.”