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Buffaloes rally back from deficit to edge Ceres
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Everything appeared to be working so well for the Manteca Buffaloes through the first two innings of their matchup with visiting Ceres on Thursday.

But the combination of timely hits and unpredictable winds that made tracking the ball almost impossible allowed Ceres to jump out to a 10-4 lead thanks an eight-run inning that could have proved to be disastrous.

Not for the Buffaloes.

Aggressive base-running and clutch hits allowed Manteca to eventually close the gap before taking a 14-10 victory to split the Valley Oak League series with the Bulldogs.

“We had a little bit of success early on and we just kept putting the ball in play which is what you want to do,” Manteca head coach Gene Ballardo said. “We had some big hits that allowed us to swing the momentum and ride it out until the end of the game.”

After Ceres (4-6, 11-10 overall) took the lead with its eight-run third inning, Manteca (3-7, 9-3-1) rallied back in the fourth to score three runs before third baseman Kevin Allen stepped to the plate representing the tying run.

Allen blasted a shot off of Ceres hurler Tyler Cummings that caught the strong winds and sailed over the right field fence for a three-run homer that knotted the game 10-10.

“I just watched the ball go and kept thinking ‘Please go out, Please go out,’” Allen said of his mindset when he rounded first base. “This year we’ve been a team that has come back in a lot of games, so I just had confidence that the guys were going to put the ball in play and make things happen, and that’s how things eventually worked out of us.”

Manteca put together a two-out rally in the fifth inning that scored the additional four runs to put the game out of reach.

Also helping Manteca work their way back into the game was shortstop Ricky Acosta who finished 3 for 4 with three runs scored and two RBIs that came during the fifth inning rally that secured victory for the Buffaloes.

Leadoff batter Sam Jorgensen also scored three runs on his two hits.

Sonora 8, East Union 4
In Sonora, the visiting Lancers looked as if they were going to avenge Tuesday’s heartbreaking 6-3 loss after jumping out to a three-run lead in the first inning.

But Sonora (7-3, 12-8) was able to scratch across six of its eight runs with two outs to remain in the Sac-Joaquin Section playoff hunt. The loss severely hurts EU’s chances to make a repeat postseason run, as it falls to 4-6 in league.

“Sometimes it breaks your way and sometimes it doesn’t,” EU coach Dan Triglia said. “Sonora was able to get the clutch hits all game.”
Wade Morten and Ryan Sage drove in the Lancers’ first two runs with singles, and Johnathan Shepherd completed the first-inning rally with an RBI sacrifice fly. Sonora answered with an unearned run in the second followed by three in the third, one in the fourth and three in the fifth.

Morten finished 2 for 2 with a double, and Sage was 2 for 3. Shepherd ended up 1 for 1 with two RBIs. Starting pitcher Marshall Swift struck out eight in five innings but walked three and hit four.