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BASEBALL: Walk-off double lifts Atwater past Manteca
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ATWATER — In a duel between two pitchers who have committed to Pacific, Jacob Weiss and third-seeded Atwater outlasted Ryan Ward and No. 6 Manteca in a Sac-Joaquin Section Division III quarterfinal on Friday.
Gunnar Kale clubbed a one-out, walk-off double for a 2-1 victory that advances the Falcons to the double-elimination portion of the postseason which so happens to take place at Pacific’s Klein Family Field starting next Monday. Atwater (24-4) takes on surprising No. 10 seed Ponderosa (15-15), which upset No. 2 Sierra 2-1 Friday.
Ward struck out seven and walked two over six innings in a combined five-hitter. Dylan Gross took the loss. Weiss also had seven strikeouts and gave up four hits and four walks.
“Ward pitched six strong innings and battled, he just got to the pitch limit,” Manteca coach Neil MacDannald said. “Hats off to their guy Weiss, who has also been strong all year. We were able to put some pressure on him all game but he did what good pitchers do, they limit opportunities and bear down to get out of jams.”
Fernando Ruvalcaba delivered the first blow for Atwater with a solo homer in the fourth.
Manteca (16-11) countered in the top of the fifth. Alex Gouveia doubled and was knocked in by Christian Tonna. Gouveia finished 2 for 4 in the final game of his decorated four-year varsity career. Austin Kovacs laced the Buffaloes’ other hit.
Gouveia nearly had a third hit in the seventh inning but ran into some bad luck. With a runner on first, Gouveia looped a shot into shallow right-center field that was nearly caught by the Atwater center fielder.
“Our guy got hung up between first and second and they got the 8-6 put-out,” MacDannald said. “We had some tough breaks. We had our chances, just couldn’t get it done.
“Credit to them, they’re a good team,” he added. “We played them, just couldn’t make enough plays. I’m proud of the team for how hard they’ve played all year. We were young coming in but got better throughout the year.”