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Buffs back in baseball postseason
Manteca’s Robert Wise finds his third base coach as he rounds second base in front of outfield cutoff man Tyler Sharnow (12) Tuesday during VOL play at Manteca High.
There was more at stake than a Valley Oak League baseball game, and that was the attitude of the Manteca Buffaloes, who scored three runs in the first and two more in the second on their way to a 10-0 win over Weston Ranch High and a berth into the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV playoffs Tuesday.

Manteca (11-4 VOL, 16-8-1 overall) wrapped up a spot in the 2010 postseason with its 11th victory of the VOL season. The Buffaloes wasted little time punching their ticket, taking advantage of hits by Matt Barber and Robert Wise and a Weston Ranch wild pitch for the early lead.
“We want to come out and score early no matter who it is we are playing,” Manteca head coach Gene Ballardo said. “There were no excuses for us at all today, we wanted to get a job done and we were able to do that.

“I am really happy for these guys.”

Manteca made tremendous strides from a lackluster 4-10 VOL mark a season ago in Ballardo’s debut, earning one of three postseason spots awarded to the VOL. Manteca turned to junior hurler Matt Burrows to cement its improvement, getting a complete game two-hitter in the team’s most important contest of the season.

“I did put a tremendous amount of pressure on myself because this time last year we lost to Weston Ranch,” Burrows said. “We really didn’t want to lose a game here, so we came out here and really stepped up.

“I just tried to pitch as the way that I have all season.”

Burrows struck out nine over the five innings of work, fanning four of the final five hitters he faced.

Sophomore Daniel Miramontes led the charge by going 2 for 3 with a pair of doubles, before giving way to junior Robert Geerlof who promptly stroked a base hit to right in his only at bat. Center fielder Michael Timmins had a solid contest, going 2 for 3 and coming around to score twice.

The win seals up at least a VOL No. 3 seed for the Buffaloes, but a win over the Cougars Thursday would give Manteca the league’s No. 2 seed, matching Manteca up with the Capital Valley Conference’s No. 2 seed versus facing the Pioneer Valley League’s No. 1 seed, likely El Dorado.

“We have accomplished one of our goals, which was to make the playoffs, and I am happy about that,” Ballardo said. “Now our mindset is to get that No. 2 seed. If we win on Thursday, no matter what happens with Oakdale-Sonora, we have the tiebreaker on both, so we’re the No. 2 seed.

“We have to get that win to get the No. 2 seed, so they’ll be ready to go.”

Weston Ranch’s Brandon Matsumoto was 1 for 3 in the loss, while teammate Tyler Scharnow tallied the Cougars only other hit.

The two clubs will meet up again Thursday at Weston Ranch High. First pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m.