By VINCE REMBULAT
Ryan Ward once again had a strong game against East Union High.
“We’ve only got a clean hit off him in the last two games,” said Lancers coach Gene Ballardo of the Manteca High junior ace hurler following Wednesday’s 7-2 Valley Oak League loss at Agostini Field.
Daniel Ruiz’s single in the fifth inning was the only hit Ward yielded in five innings of work. He walked six and fanned seven while earning the victory.
“Ryan’s a tough draw for any team,” Buffaloes coach Neil MacDannald said.
He was also thrilled with the run support, adding: “Up and down our lineup, we had some good at bats.”
Manteca (3-4 VOL, 12-8) drew first blood in the first inning, with catcher Dominic Day plating Ward, who reached base on a lead-off infield hit.
East Union (1-5 VOL, 9-11) tied the game up at the home-half of the frame, taking advantage of a walk and two errors. Cameron Ceja was the beneficiary of the miscues.
The Buffaloes went back up 2-1 in the second, staging a two-out rally consisting of Dylan Guice’s single followed by Nathan Gutierrez’s RBI double to right center.
Manteca tacked on a run in the third and added two more in the fourth.
Zack Todd’s RBI double delivered home Dylan Gross, who had a one-out single in the third.
The Lancers avoided another run from scoring in that frame when centerfielder Cameron Ceja gunned down the runner at the plate.
The Buffaloes’ runs in the fourth were a result of a throwing error to first. Gutierrez and Alex Gouveia, who both walked, scored on the play.
Manteca made it 7-1 in the top of the sixth. Another throwing error by East Union enabled Gouveia and Ward, who were both on the run with two outs, to easily score.
The Lancers committed four errors during the game.
East Union kicked off the bottom of the sixth with Andrew Morones ripping a double to left. He advanced to third on a fielder’s choice and scored on a wild pitch.
Both teams will play Friday at Manteca.
“That’s a talented team,” said MacDannald of the Lancers. “There are things we still need to clean up before then.”
The Lancers are looking to do likewise.
“We need to play with more fire. We need to be more competitive and show more energy and a sense of urgency,” Ballardo said.
Weston Ranch 3
The Timberwolves clinched at least a co-VOL titles following a hard-fought victory over the visiting Cougars on Wednesday.
Sierra (9-0 VOL, 17-3-1) has loftier goals.
“We don’t want to share the title,” said first-year coach Travis Thomson, who received a Gatorade-bucket drenching by his team following the game.
The Timberwolves jumped out to an early lead, scoring three in the first and two in the second.
Weston Ranch (1-8 VOL, 9-12) battled back, rallying for three runs in the third while closing the gap, 5-3.
“They’re a good team,” said Thomson, who was aware of the Cougars recent upset win over over Oakdale.
Weston Ranch got solid pitching from senior southpaw Javier Jauregui.
Sierra added some insurance with a run in the fifth.
Jason Silva, who pitched the first four innings for the Timberwolves, earned the win. Relief pitcher Zion Bell got the save.
Offensively, Louis Aquila and Jesse Ortiz-Martinez had two hits and a double each.
Both teams will play the rubber match at Weston Ranch on Friday.
Atwater 13, Ripon 2
ATWATER – Ripon High (10-8) fell to host Falcons (18-4) in the Fran Oneto / Atwater-Winton Lions Easter Tournament on Wednesday.
The Indians will conclude play today in the 60th annual event at Memorial Ballpark.
East Union 7, Manteca 3
The Lancers Willie Segura helped his cause on Wednesday with a solo home run in the first inning. On the mound, he went 5 2/3 innings, allowing two runs while striking out seven to earn the victory.
Austin Orr went 3-4 with an RBI and run scored while Anthony Flores was 2-4 with a double and run scored to pace East Union. Harley Boynton had two hits and a sacrifice fly to drive in two runs in for the Buffaloes.
Weston Ranch 1
STOCKTON – The Buffaloes helped their playoff push Wednesday with a win over the Cougars.
Manteca (6-4 VOL, 9-8) is currently in third place in league – the top four team in the VOL will advance to the post season.
The Lancers will play in the Nor Cal Tournament in Tracy.
Weston Ranch (1-10, 5-14) will take on visiting Langston Hughes Academy in a non-league game on Tuesday.
East Union 6, Lincoln 2
Alyssa Clapp went 3 for 4 including a three-run homer in the sixth to lead the Lancers over the Trojans in a non-league game on Wednesday.
Keimarah Riddick chipped in with a triple and an RBI while Katelyn Sealana drove in a pair of runs.
Pitcher Kimberely Wlodarczyk earned the win by throwing all seven innings. She gave up one earned run, striking out the final batter to end the game.
Track and Field
Lathrop boys, girls secure WAC titles
The Spartans captured the boys and girls divisions of the WAC with their victory over Pacheco (Los Banos) on Wednesday.
Julian Silva placed third for the boys varsity squad while setting a personal-best 11 minutes, 13 seconds.
Jaime Abida, Mark Ramones and Josiah Davis swept the 110 meter hurdles.
Joey Sanchis took first in the 400 and 300 hurdles.
For the varsity girls, Bernice Vilches and Hailey Ngo placed first and second, respectively, in the 100 hurdles.
Lathrop took the 4x100 relay (LaNicia Ellis, Alessandra Giordano, Ashley Gaspar, and Isis Siga).
Ellis also placed first in the 400 (1:04) and 200 (26.25).
Maria Soto was first in the mile, two mile and 800.
Erielle De La Cruz captured the long jump, triple jump and high jump.
In addition, Shania Leyva and Jasmine Ormonde took first and second, respectively, in the pole vault while establishing a new school record by clearing 7-0.
Kryshara Gary claimed first in the shot put and third in the discus while Isis Loudd Payton took second place in both events.
Lathrop 448, Grace 465
MODESTO – All the Lathrop golfers shot personal bests Wednesday as Lathrop defeated Grace Davis 448-465 in Western Athletic Conference golf action on the par-72 Dryden Golf Course.
Luke Marcelo led Lathrop with a 75 followed by Sebastian Iniguez (87), Andrew Lam (91), Salvador Reyes (94) and John Wall Jr. (101).