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Lancers open with VOL defending champ Oakdale
Sierra will look to advance to the Sac-Joaquin Section postseason in standout player Dylan DeBrouwer’s senior year - photo by HIME ROMERO
For the first time in a few seasons, several of the teams in the Valley Oak League will begin the treacherous home-home series’ with the chance of winning the championship. Sure, every year coaches tell their kids to play for a championship, only this season those coaches believe they have a shot.

The days of dominance where the Oakdale Mustangs were sending NCAA Division-I pitchers to the mound Wednesday and Friday are over, but the defending Sac-Joaquin Section Division-IV Champions will undoubtedly make sure the title still goes through Oakdale.

The Manteca Buffaloes finished a game back of the Mustangs a season ago and split with the four-time VOL champions. Sierra High split with the Buffaloes but got swept by Oakdale, while East Union came a hit short of beating Oakdale in an 8-7 loss and split with the Timberwolves.

Even in the midst of Oakdale running off with another VOL crown, the league showed a great deal of parity. This season should display even more of that, and the Lathrop Spartans will definitely have some say in the shake-up of the league standings.

The Spartans have shown glimpses of what it will take to vie for one of the three VOL postseason berth awarded for the SJS Division-IV tournament. It will be out about the young talented Spartans putting seven innings together in league play.

All three of the Manteca schools will likely put quality pursuits in for the league title, yet earning one of the three playoff berths will be nothing short of mandatory. Even though Sonora and Oakdale will definitely be in the mix, and it is not certain what to expect from the newly-guided Weston Ranch Cougars.

Things get underway in a hurry for the Lancers, as they open VOL play Wednesday with the first game in a series with Oakdale. Manteca opens with Sonora and the Timberwolves will be meeting up with the Lathrop Spartans.