East Union’s Alexis Erich came up big in the field and at the plate Friday to lead the visiting Lancers to a 1-0 Valley Oak League softball victory over cross-town rival Manteca.
With no score going into the third inning, Izabella Owen snuck a single through the middle of the infield to lead off the top half of the inning for the Lancers (5-0 Valley Oak League, 13-1 overall), and she took second on a wild pitch. Erich (3 for 3, two doubles, RBI) got a single through the left side of the infield, allowing Owen to score for the only run of the game.
“These are the funnest games ever,” East Union coach Brian Goulart said. “I love playing Manteca and Sierra because it is always 1-0 or 2-1. There are good crowds and it is exciting and everyone is excited.
“Manteca played really well today. Hailee (Kissee) pitched for them well as did (Mikayla) Bongi (for East Union). It’s 2-1 or 1-0 – it’s one play – and that’s what makes it fun. It’s March Madness kind of stuff. I tip my hat to them. They are well-coached and a team to be reckoned with in our league.”
Erich, playing centerfield, robbed Buffaloes leadoff hitter Kaylee MacDannald of extra bases in the third inning when she raced to her right and reached across her body to make a spectacular catch.
“We were all kind of wondering if it was going to get rained out or not,” Erich said. “We had to come prepared no matter what.
“We went down to the Academy and hit a few before the game and I think all the girls were loose and we were ready for the cross-town rival game.”
Bongi struck out 13 and walked none, allowing five hits with nobody reaching third base.
“I kind of just kept to myself and zoned everything else out,” Bongi said. “I have to give everyone on the defense props.
“I trust my defense almost more than I trust myself sometimes.”
One of the defensive gems for the Lancers came from third baseman Shelby Cefalu who made a diving catch on a bunt attempt off the bat of Rhiannon Genilla.
“Our shortstop Izzie (Owen) has been working with me,” Cefalu said. “Because Coach G (Goulart) has said I have been struggling a little bit and not as aggressive as I should be.
“After some hard work in practice I was aggressive today and made that catch.”
Kissee allowed just four hits, striking out five and walking one. Kaileah Johannsen (double) and Tawny Deerinck were each 2 for 3 for the Buffaloes, who had runners in scoring position in the final two innings.
This was the first East Union rivalry game for first-year Manteca coach Josh Farris.
“It was pretty intense,” Farris said. “I told the girls in the latter innings that we needed to give the crowd that came to watch them a show. We have done it in the past in tight games.
“Unfortunately, we couldn’t do it but it was definitely an intense game. I am looking forward to many more rivalry games like that.”
Ripon Christian 2 (10)
The Wildcats put up two runs in the top of the 10th inning aided by the international tiebreaker and the Knights were unable to respond in the Southern League contest.
Madison De Graaf went the distance for Ripon Christian (3-2 SL, 8-5 overall) sprinkling nine hits over the 10 innings, striking out seven, walking one with three earned runs. Liz Thomas and Nicole Chapman were each 1 for 4 for the Knights and Nikki Borghorst had an RBI.
Tawney Macarty was pitching a no-hitter for Waterford (4-1, 7-6-1) until Ripon Christian broke it up and scored two runs in the sixth inning.
East Union 6, Manteca 2
Chloee Agueda’s three-run home run in the fourth inning broke open a 1-1 tie and gave the Lancers (4-1 VOL, 9-3-1 overall) the momentum they needed to roll to the win.
Agueda fought hard for her yard shot. With two on and two out she fouled off three straight pitches to the right side before pulling a soaring shot over the left-field fence to give EU a 4-1 lead.
Hayley Leonard went the distance in the circle for East Union, giving up only three hits while striking out eight.
Manteca struck first in the second inning when Alyssah Harnden hit a solo shot over the right- field fence to give the Buffaloes a 1-0 lead. The Lancers tied it in the third when Bradee Jeffery (2 for 3, two runs) singled and later scored.