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ATHLETE OF THE WEEK: Nayellys Torres, Manteca softball
AOW Nayellys Torres
Nayellys Torres

The junior pitcher and the Buffaloes are off to a sizzling start to the new season, winning their first three games.

The latest is an 8-2 win over Tracy last Wednesday, March 8 at the Tracy Sports Complex. Torres carried a perfect game into the seventh inning against a dangerous Bulldogs lineup anchored by Sac State signee Malissa George.

Tracy was able to break through in that final inning after Torres gave up a four-pitch, leadoff walk. The shutout and no-hitter were broken up shortly after.

“I did have it in my mind,” Torres said. “Going into the seventh inning, I knew I had a perfect game. I tried to not let nerves get into it.”

That did not take away from a terrific all-around effort for the unbeaten Buffaloes and their ace. Torres fired 11 strikeouts in the one-hit gem and threw only 77 pitches. Offensively, she was 1 for 3 with a walk.

“I’m bummed, but she has just had two incredible games in a row,” Manteca coach Josh Farris said. “She’s playing some really high-level softball right now. We’re super proud of her. She’s a great kid and such a competitor. We’re counting on her, for sure.”

She and the Buffs were coming off two wins over 20-win teams two weeks ago, starting with an 11-0 mercy-shortened shutout of reigning Sac-Joaquin Section Division VII champion Big Valley Christian on March 1. Torres struck out seven over four innings and combined with freshman Isabel Tonna for a one-hitter.

Two days later, Torres drove in four runs and hit two homers to power Manteca past Vintage 6-2 at St. Helena High. She also pitched a complete game, scattering seven hits with seven strikeouts and one walk. The Crushers of Napa were North Coast Section Division I semifinalists last season.

Torres has a .375 batting average while boasting a 0.78 ERA.