By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Barber leads Buffaloes into semi-final series
Manteca starter Matt Barber was clearly too much for the River City Raiders, holding the Raiders to just one hit in a complete game shutout victory Wednesday in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV Baseball Championships in Sacramento.
SACRAMENTO – When Matt Barber was through with the River City Raiders they couldn’t even tread water.

Barber almost single-handily drained the Raiders, tossing a complete-game, one-hit shutout from the mound and leading off the bottom of the first with a monstrous solo-shot for an instant 1-0 lead. Manteca would provide Barber three insurance runs in the third and one in the sixth, none of which he would need in a 5-0 win in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV Basbeall tournament openers Wednesday.

“We really wanted to make it to the second-round,” Barber said after the victory. “I don’t think we’ve been in the second round in years, so we really wanted to change that.”

Objective conquered.

Barber was phenomenal, clipping the Raiders down one-by-one, retiring 10 batters before giving up River City’s only base hit with a fourth inning single. Even after the hit, the Buffaloes made sure to stop any sort of momentum, turning a picture-perfect shortstop-to-second-to-first double play, started by senior Gabe Rellamas.

Manteca (18-8-1) tacked on more in the third when Barber led off the rally with a walk, followed by a Michael Timmins walk and Daniel Miramontes reaching on an error. Barber would score on Miramontes’ at-bat and Timmins took advantage of a good secondary lead and a great read, scoring on a passed ball. Matt Burrows would add a sacrifice fly for a 4-0 lead.

“Obviously, I feel good with the way we came out and hit the ball,” Manteca head coach Gene Ballardo said. “And Matt Barber, pitches a one-hitter, hits a leadoff homerun; there really isn’t too much more to say about that guy.

“We can enjoy this for a couple of days and then come back and play a tough Eldorado team.”

Manteca earns a spot in the second round’s format of a best 2 out of 3 series with the Pioner Valley’s No. 1 seed El Dorado High. El Dorado rolled easily over the Sonora Wildcats, setting up an interesting matchup with the Buffaloes beginning Saturday afternoon.

“This win has put us in a good position to begin our next series Saturday,” Manteca’s Burrows said. “It will get our confidence level up and helps us to play the baseball that we’ve played to close out this season.

“We like to win the first game of any series, so we came out today with that same mindset.”

Burrows finished the contest 1 for 2 with a double and a RBI, while C.J. Rivas added a single as well. Rellamas also added a single, and designated hitter Robert Wise reached base on a perfectly executed squeeze play, resulting in a base hit.

The Buffaloes will find themselves in a good position if they are able to show up Saturday and come forth with a balnced team effort like the performance they produced in their postseason opener.

“It is definitely the combination for us, we want to have good pitching and we need to hit the baseball,” Ballardo said. “We were able to put pressure on the early by scoring quickly and Matt did a great job of backing it up on the mound.

“We’ll need that kind of performance again, so we’re going to practice hard the next couple of days and try and extend the season.”

Manteca and El Dorado will open its best of three series Saturday in Dan McAuliffe Memorial Park at noon. Game two of the series will not be played until Tuesday.