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Cougars feed on Spartan errors for win
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LATHROP – Weston Ranch took advantage of four Lathrop errors and enjoyed a complete-game outing from sophomore pitcher Manuel Rubio to defeat the host Spartans 7-2 in Valley Oak League baseball action on Thursday.

Rubio had a shutout going until the sixth inning when back-to-back doubles by Armondo Perez and Santiago Kantun plated John McCuaig and Perez to bring Lathrop (0-5 VOL, 3-10) within 5-2.

“I felt pretty good out there,” Rubio said. “And the defense was really good with just one error behind me.”

Rubio allowed six hits with just two through the first five innings and had three strikeouts. Cougars first baseman Tommy De Anda saved at least three errant throws from turning into errors and managed to keep his foot on the bag to collect the outs.

“I was just trying to do my job and get the outs,” De Anda said.

Weston Ranch (2-3, 7-10) got three runs in the third inning. Larry Martinez reached base on an error to lead off the frame and No. 9 batter Andrew Paden (three runs) followed with a walk. Leadoff batter C.J. Drain laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance Martinez and Paden, but the throw to first sailed into the outfield, plating Martinez and Paden and landing Drain on third. Rubio sacrificed in Drain for a 3-0 lead.

Martinez singled to lead off the Cougars’ fifth and Paden reached on a two-base error, giving Weston Ranch runners on second and third. Rubio laced a single straight up the middle to score Martinez and Paden for a 5-0 lead.

Paden walked to lead off the seventh, stole second and went to third on a sacrifice by Rubio that turned into another error. Paden scored on a deep sacrifice by Josh Dilg and after stealing second and taking third on a fielder’s choice, Rubio scored the game’s last run on a balk.

“We are not going to hit the ball in the gap a lot,” Weston Ranch coach David Hager. “So we need to steal whenever we can.”

Keenan Donatelli pitched through six innings for Lathrop and yielded just four hits but was victimized by errors.

“Keenan pitched well,” Lathrop coach Randy Baltazar said. “We just have to learn not to make those fielding mistakes.”