Manteca’s Emiliano Cruz did the job of a designated hitter Thursday, going 3 for 4 with three RBI and a run to lead the Buffaloes to an 8-4 Valley Oak League baseball win over visiting Weston Ranch.
Cruz knocked in two insurance runs in the sixth inning. Sonny Elder and Dylan DePrater singled and worked their way to second and third when Cruz singled them both in to make the final score 8-4.
“If feels good to get into a pattern,” Cruz said. “It feels good to help the team out with a lot of base hits.
“I’m the DH, so that’s a good feeling.”
Manteca (4-2 VOL) tallied nine hits and had at least one base runner in every inning. The big inning for the Buffaloes was a three-run second. Alex Murrietta and Amrit Dehal drew one-out walks and Lucas Krenz (2 for 2, RBI, double) followed with a single to plate Murrietta. Dehal came in on a wild pitch and an Elder groundout plated Krenz.
“I like putting the ball in play,” Krenz said. “And doing it for the team.
“But in my last at-bat I had to take a pitch and that got me on base. We closed out with a strong finish.”
Buffaloes coach Mark Ruiz was able to go deep into his bench.
“It was good to see a complete team win,” Ruiz said. “All of our guys played and everyone contributed.
The Cougars (1-5) got a pair of runs in the third inning. Trailing 3-0, Joshua Ordner and Andrew Montano (2 for 3, run) reached on infield singles. Ordner came around to score on a wild pitch and Montano scooted home on an error off of the bat of Alejandro Piedra to cut the Manteca lead to 3-2.
Steven Bustamante was 2 for 2 for Weston Ranch with one of the Cougars’ five infield singles.
“When we force action that gets our energy level up, and we need to do more of that,” Weston Ranch coach Dave Hager said. “We generally come out with a little more fire. We were willing to compete but it took us a minute to get there.
“We played defense well. There were a few things here and there that got away from us, but overall we took care of the ball. We are young and trying to figure things out. We’ll get there, it will just take us a couple of weeks to get there.”
The Cougars had just 10 players in uniform.
“This is not an excuse by any means,” Hager said. “But we lost six guys yesterday due to the COVID protocol, and it hurt.
“One of the guys who stepped up for us was Dayvion Hunter. In his first-ever varsity game he battled in every at-bat and in his second at-bat knocked his first varsity base hit.”