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Buffs’ historic season ends in controversial semifinal at Oakdale
Manteca-Oakdale softball
Manteca’s Chloe Martin (2) is congratulated by Na’ima Calderon (10) after Martin scored the go-ahead run in the sixth inning. - photo by Wayne Thallander

 OAKDALE — The clock ran out on the Cinderella Manteca softball team Tuesday in a 2-1 nine-inning loss to second-seeded Oakdale in the semifinals of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III playoffs.

That clock was sped up significantly by at least one egregious call against the No. 6 Buffaloes (17-8).

With Manteca leading 1-0 in the bottom of the seventh, one out and runners on second and third for the Mustangs (21-6), Bailey Peterson hit a fly to short left field. Marissa San Nicolas fielded the ball quickly, and before she even unleashed her throw home, Buffaloes coach Josh Farris and the rest of his staff were screaming at the top of their lungs that the runner on third left early. She got home safely, and then the runner on second got caught in a rundown.

Manteca-Oakdale softball
Manteca’s Nayellys Torres struck out three and allowed eight hits while walking three.
Manteca’s appeal was denied by the third-base umpire. After the inning, the umpire told Farris he did not even see the runner at third, he was focused on the ball in left field. Proper mechanics dictate that call belonged to the home-plate umpire.

Ayva Wilkins (RBI) led off the second inning for the Buffaloes with a screaming shot down the third-base line ruled fair by the third-base umpire that was overturned by the home-plate umpire.

“I know a couple of calls didn’t go our way,” Manteca coach Josh Farris said. “More than a couple of calls actually. Our girls didn’t pout, they kept fighting and battling, even when they were on the wrong side of those calls. I was upset, our fans were upset, but you have to tip your hat to Oakdale. In a game of nine innings, they had one more hit, one more moment than we did.

“The would-be double by Ayva Wilkins in the second inning was right in front of me, and I saw it go over the bag. The third-base ump signaled fair, but he was overruled by the home-plate ump. We had one when one of their players was called out on a bunt but then the umps changed their mind, but the most egregious one was how early she left from third in the bottom of the seventh inning. Those are three huge calls against us in a nine-inning game, one-run game. It’s tough to blame umpires, and I never want to do that, but this one hurts a little extra because of it.”

The Buffaloes broke a scoreless tie in the sixth. Jocelyn Baptist laced a one-out single and was sacrificed to second by Nayellys Torres and then Baptist was replaced on the bases by Chloe Martin. Wilkins singled in Martin for the 1-0 lead.

Audrey Romiti led off the Oakdale ninth with a bloop double down the second-base line. She took third on Morgan Wright’s sacrifice fly and came home on a single by the No. 9 batter Peterson for the walk-off win.

“It’s really important to be home team in a game like this,” Mustangs coach Larry Loger. “Peterson got our game-winning hit against Vista del Lago on Thursday, and she is in the bottom of the order, and that bottom of the order has done it for us in two out of the last three games. This team is special with eight seniors and now they are going to have a chance.”

The Buffaloes only had four hits and they routinely smashed the ball most of the game, but a lot of those hard-hit

Manteca-Oakdale softball
Manteca’s Lauren Moncada belted a double in the third inning.
balls were right at Oakdale fielders.

“I think for most of the game we outplayed them,” Farris said. “We had runners on second and third and the ball was crushed to the outfield fence, but it was caught.

“I’m proud of my girls. We played the whole time like we believed we could win. This is a tall challenge after having lost to them so many times. I think the girls felt confident going in. They wanted Oakdale, and we had them for a long stretch there.”

The Mustangs will travel to Cosumnes River College in Sacramento on Saturday to face top-seeded Capital Christian at 4 p.m. for the championship.

Division IV

Central Catholic 11, Ripon 0 (6)

The second-seeded Raiders (20-7) put up three runs in the bottom of the sixth to end the game via the mercy rule against the visiting third-seeded Indians (17-6).

Stephanie Garcia no-hit Ripon with the Indians posting just three base runners – Addyson Wilmshurst walked twice and Chloe Lautenslager was hit by a pitch.

Central Catholic faces top-seeded Dixon at Cosumnes River College on Saturday at 1 p.m.