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Defensive woes stop Spartans
Michael Pereznegron was able to keep the Cosumnes Oaks batters off-balanced, but defensive miscues plagued the Spartans in their loss to the Wolfpack Thursday.
LATHROP – Striking out the side in the first inning usually will give your team a good chance at winning, but Michael Pereznegron’s such feat was sandwiched in between a couple of walks and a badly played fly ball, getting Cosumnes Oaks High out to a quick start in its 17-4 win over Lathrop Thursday.

Lathrop (0-2) forfeited a solid effort from Pereznegron over the first three frames, as the sophomore starter struck out seven, walked three, but left trailing the Wolfpack 5-0. Pereznegron struck out the first two batters of the game, but a a pair of walks and a base hit laid the foundation for Lathrop’s back breaking error.

Cosumnes Oaks’ Barry Leonard hit a towering fly ball to right field that found the outfield grass, clearing the bases and handing Lathrop a deficit they were unable to eliminate.

“I thought that we gave them some runs,” Lathrop head coach Randy Baltazar said. “Honestly, I think we beat ourselves rather than them beating us.

“I did see some things that are fixable, we just have to go back to the drawing board.”

The Spartans were able to muster some sort of a comeback, putting together a much needed rally in the bottom of the fourth, trailing 5-0. Jared Weiler led off Lathrop’s half of the fourth with a triple and came around to score when Pereznegron lined a pitch into left for the RBI.

The back-to-back hits ignited a sleeping Spartan offense, as the squad took advantage of a Cosumnes Oaks error to plate Pablo Chavez and Rene Zuniga, who both reached via walks. The Spartans showed the resolve they’ll need in the Valley Oak League, but surrendering 12 runs over the next two innings reveals the strides the program will have to make.

“These kids know how to battle,” Baltazar said. “I was absolutely pleased. We’ve battling for two or three years now, so these kids know how to fight.

“The kids are just going to have to be able to learn from their mistakes.”

Pereznegron and Weiler were the only Spartans to collect two hits, both going 2-for-3. Oscar Calix got a hit as well, but a base running blunder curbed Lathrop’s third inning hopes.

The Spartans definitely will have quality pitching to depend on with Pereznegron, Ernest Garcia and Marcus Mertillien all gave Lathrop quality innings. Their success was coupled with a relief pitching let down leading to Cosumnes Oaks’ nine-run sixth inning, where Lathrop watched 15 batters step in the box and nine reach base via walk.

“Mikey is a gamer; he’s a sophomore but he knows what we expect,” Baltazar said. “He competes and I take my hat off to him, he wanted it.

“It’s gonna be up to everyone else to raise the bar up.”

Things won’t get any easier for the Spartans as they play host to the Ripon Indians Saturday. First pitch is scheduled for 11 a.m.

Johnasen Tournament

Atwater 5, Manteca 3

The Buffaloes wasted a golden opportunity in the first round of the Johansen Tournament, falling to Atwater 5-3 behind a late-game collapse from the Manteca bullpen.

Manteca starter Kevin Peck put the Buffaloes in position for the win, going 6 1/3 innings and only surrendering two earned runs. Peck surrendered things over to the bullpen and surrendered his win as well. Daniel Miramontes led the Buffaloes at the plate, going 2-for-2 and driving in a run, while teammate Zach Gase was 1-for-3 with a pair of stolen bases.