For the second time this season, Manteca High pitcher Ryan Ward tossed a no-hitter.
This time, the sophomore ace did it against visiting Kimball, and the Buffaloes won 10-0 in the five-inning affair over the top team in the Valley Oak League.
Ward no-hit East Union on April 3.
“What’s more important is that we did a great job in all three facets of the game — Ryan pounded the strike zone, we made the routine plays on defense, and we executed on offense,” Buffaloes coach Neil MacDannald.
Manteca (7-4 VOL, 14-8-1 overall) remains in the thick of the postseason race, with the rubber match at Kimball (9-2, 16-8) scheduled for Thursday when the Jaguars are likely to start ace Gabe Cortinas — coming off a five-inning perfect game at Weston Ranch — on the pitcher’s mound.
Ward faced one batter past the minimum, fanning eight and walking one.
“I didn’t realize (the no-hitter) until the final out,” he said.
Ward was often ahead of the count. He had control of both his fastball and the location of his pitches.
He allowed a baserunner aboard at the top of the second inning on a dropped third strike.
In the third, Ward issued a two-out walk to Justin Schober. He quickly erased the runner with his pickoff throw to first-baseman Dylan Gross, who applied the tag.
Meanwhile, the Buffaloes had their offense in gear early on.
In the first, shortstop Alex Gouveia, who went 2 for 2 at the plate, doubled to lead off the game. He advanced to third on Zach Chamberlain’s sacrifice bunt and scored on Kyle Rachels’ single to right.
Dominic Rea opened with a walk in the third inning. He scooted to third on the hit-and-run single by Gouveia and scored on a balk.
Chamberlain also drew a walk. A single by Gino Campiotti was followed by a two-base throwing error by the Jaguars that plated both Gouveia and Chamberlain.
Manteca had a 4-0 advantage.
The Buffaloes blew the game open in the fourth, scoring six times highlighted by Rachels’ two-run bomb over the left centerfield wall.
Gouveia drew a bases-loaded walk and Chamberlain delivered on a two-run single.
Manteca sent nine batters to the plate in that frame.
Ward finished off Kimball in the fifth, in order, to complete the no-no.
Gouveia made a twisting, running grab of a fly ball hit in the area between short and left for the first out.
Ward struck out the next batter for the second out.
He then got the final batter to line out to Rachels at second base.
“I got a lot of first-pitch strikes,” said Ward, who managed to stay ahead on the count.
Manteca tallied nine hits while taking advantage of a variety of miscues by the Jaguars.