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Buffaloes battle back in sixth to stun EU
Acosta bounces back from rough start, fans 10
Garrett Fisher is greeted by starting pitcher Steve Weddington and the rest of the Lancers Tuesday after hitting a three-run blast in the first. - photo by BRANDON PETERSEN/The Bulletin
Ricky Acosta made one fatal mistake Tuesday afternoon at Manteca High, and for six innings it looked as though Acosta’s first-inning fastball that Garrett Fisher parked well beyond the fence in center would be all the Lancers would need to claim their first Valley Oak League win.

Instead, Acosta maintained his cool after Fisher made it 3-0 and was brilliant the rest of the way, striking out 10 Lancers and giving his offense a chance to complete a thrilling comeback. The Buffaloes scored three in the bottom of the six to claim a 4-3 win.
“I can’t really say enough about that kid,” Manteca head coach Gene Ballardo said of Acosta. “He’s the heart and soul of this team. I’m very proud of him, the kid battled. He’s got a lot of heart, and it showed today.”

Acosta allowed just one more hit out of the infield following the Fisher blast, a John Ott double in the second, and five total. He caught four Lancers looking, and battled out of bases-loaded jams in the fifth and seventh — the latter with no outs.

After trailing 3-1 for most of the game following Sam Jorgensen’s RBI single in the third, Manteca (1-0 VOL, 7-5-1) finally broke out on Steve Weddington, who was outstanding as well, in the home half of the sixth.

Weddington (8 strikeouts) allowed just two hits throughout, both to Jorgensen, who led off the decisive frame with an opposite-field double to the wall.

Following back to back walks to Kevin Allen and Matt Burrows, Marshall Swift was called upon and rang up Curtiss May before Robbie Wise tied the game with a chopper over Jonathan Shepherd’s head at first.

Kiefer Haynes then loaded them back up with an infield single before Trey Roberts drilled a single into the right-center gap scoring Burrows with the go-ahead run.

“That’s a team win right there,” Ballardo said. “Little Trey, I put him in the lineup because he’s been swinging the bat well, and it seems like whenever we put him in, something positive always happens.”

When it comes to East Union, however, no late-inning lead is safe, and once again, the Lancers (0-1 VOL, 5-3) threatened to pull off a little magic.

After pinch-hitter Jordan Clark reached on an error, and Weddington did the same, Swift laid down a perfectly-placed bunt up the third base line to load them up.

But after Wade Morten was called back after a hit-by-pitch for not making an attempt to avoid the ball, Acosta sent him down swinging.

EU head coach Dan Triglia argued the call to no avail before Garrett Fisher lined out to Allen at third, and Acosta caught Ryan Sage looking to end it.

“After the home run I gave up, I just laughed it off because I’ve never seen a ball hit that far before in my life,” Acosta said. “But I’m pretty good at bouncing back after stuff like that. I just had to forget it.

“We’ve lost our last few because we’ve come out lackadaisical, and not really as a unit. But today, we were in the locker room trying to get focused and trying to figure out what we can do as a team to get a win, and we did it.”

Weddington hit a pair of infield singles, and Shepherd added another knock.

“Very well-played game on both ends,” Triglia said. “We have nothing to hang our heads about. We got a good performance from Steve Weddington. They got some timely hits when they needed them.”

The series shifts to Agostini Field Thursday.