LATHROP — Devin Sullivan pitched five strong innings in his first start in more than month, and Manteca rapped out 16 hits in completing a series sweep of Lathrop with 12-6 win on Friday.
Jake Menasco (3 for 5) was one of three Buffaloes to belt three hits, including a solo home run. He also plated four runs. Kyle Rachels went 3 for 5 with three RBIs and a double, and Mitch Balmut scored three times and drove in two more while finishing 3 for 3. Alex Gouveia added a 2-for-5 effort that included a double, two runs and an RBI.
The Valley Oak League-leading Buffs (9-1, 17-5 overall) scored the game’s first five runs in the first two innings and led 10-2 in the middle of the sixth.
Sullivan fired six strikeouts and gave up seven hits and no walks in the win. Rachels pitched the final two innings. Sullivan’s last start was in a 2-0 nonleague win over Golden Valley, and he improved to 5-0 on the season.
“We did a good job of putting pressure up in every inning but did not finish as well as I would have liked,” Manteca coach Neil MacDannald said. “Give Lathrop credit for fighting for seven innings.”
Keenan Donatelli (two runs), Diego Chavez and Santiago Kantun all went 2 for 4 for Lathrop (1-9, 4-12-1).
Weston Ranch 4, Kimball 3
STOCKTON — The Cougars (4-6, 15-7) swept Kimball (3-7, 12-9) to keep their postseason hopes alive.
They have Larry Martinez to thank. The junior went 2 for 2 and plated the eventual game-winning run on a Carlos Drain base hit while also pitching 6 1/3 innings. Martinez gave up just five hits, three of them to promising freshman Gabe Cortinas.
Jordan Severin induced a flyball and grounder for the final two outs and the save.
“Larry took us on his shoulders today and competed his butt off on the mound,” Weston Ranch coach David Hager said. “Even though he gave up a couple of runs in the third inning he bore down and got us the outs we needed. He did some good stuff for us today.”
Ripon 11, Hilmar 1
HILMAR — The path is now clear for the Indians (8-0, 18-3) to capture the TVL title after sweeping past third-place Hilmar (5-3, 10-11) on Friday. They close the regular season with Riverbank and Mountain House, who have a combined three wins in league.
Sophomores Doony Cooksey (run) and Eric Jaquez (double, run, two RBIs) both went 2 for 4. Nick Price hit 2 for 3 with two runs and two RBIs.