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East Union taking cautious approach with title in sight
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East Union boys tennis coach Ron Bylow is taking a lesson from some of the past weekend’s first-round NBA playoff upsets.

His Lancers are a match away from clinching a share of their first Valley Oak League title since 2004 after completing a 4-1 win over dangerous Kimball of Tracy Monday.

The match was originally played on April 8 but was called off midway through because of rain. At that point, each team had one match in the bag, so it was far from over.

Now that it is, East Union (11-1, 14-1 overall) is going into its final two matches — today with winless Lathrop at home and Thursday against Sierra at Manteca Regional Tennis Center — with guarded optimism.

“The Hornets beat the Lakers and the Grizzlies beat the Spurs, so we’re going with our normal lineup tomorrow and playing as usual,” Bylow said. “We can’t take anyone for granted at this point, but the guys are excited.”

The Lancers needed either one of two three-set matches to fall in their favor Monday. They got both.

At No. 2 singles, Ariel Rosette defeated Mark Dalupan 6-2, 3-6, 6-3. And the No. 2 doubles team of Marcos Aleman and Michael Banzon came from behind to knock off Beau Lawrence and Marco Tello, 4-6, 6-1, 6-4.

“The score is 4-1, but it was a pretty closely contested 4-1,” Bylow said.

The other three matches were one-sided.

Kimball’s standout freshman, Logan Staggs, got past Ricky Peloso, 6-0, 6-0. East Union claimed the No. 3 singles contest 6-1, 6-1 thanks to Brandon Manville.

The No. 1 doubles match was an easy 6-0, 6-0 victory for EU’s Matt Eichsteadt and Chris Garcia.

Defending league champion Manteca remains as the Lancers’ only threat for the championship but trails by a match in the standings with help needed from EU’s final two opponents.

“We have our fate in our hands right now,” Bylow said. “We don’t want to share (the title) with anyone. I told the guys that during Christmas time they can share all they want.”


Manteca 6, Sonora 5

In Sonora, Mia Ramirez drove in Hailee Teixeira with two outs in the top of the eighth to decide it for the Manteca (5-4 VOL, 11-7 overall).

Sonora (3-5, 6-9) threatened with two out in the bottom half after a base hit to right, but freshman Peyton Rose (10 strikeouts, 3 BBs) got out of it with a grounder.

Selena Gonzalez (3 for 4) was a triple away from the cycle and smashed a leadoff homer in the fifth inning. Ramirez (two 2Bs) and Teixeira (2 runs) were each 3 for 4.

Manteca faces East Union at 6 tonight at Northgate Softball Complex.


Sierra 94.5, Sonora 78.5 (Boys)

In Sonora Friday, the Timberwolves made school history by beating the perennial powerhouse.

John Osborn was Sierra’s big points contributor, as he won the 100- and 200-yard freestyles while helping the team earn first place in the 200 and 400freestyle relays.

Tim Cornish won the 50 freestyle and was the runner-up in the 100 freestyle while joining Osborn on the 200 relay. Brandon Castro finished first in the 500 freestyle.

Sonora 89, Sierra 81 (Girls)

Sierra only won four of the 11 girls events but managed to stay within reach of the host Wildcats.

Standout Kara Hall paced the Timberwolves with wins in the 200 individual medley, 100 breaststroke and 200 medley relay. Rachel Holmstrom took first in the 100 butterfly.


Sierra 213, Sonora 220

At Manteca Park Golf Course’s front nine Monday, the improving Timberwolves (7-5) pulled off a mild upset behind Drew Allen’s stellar 1-under-par 37 round. Sonora’s previous losses in the VOL were to Oakdale and East Union, the No. 1 and 2 teams.

Ryan Leasure added a 40 and freshman Blake Settlemoir was instrumental in the win with a 43. Tyler Gulbronson and Chris Schmitz each turned in a 47. The overall team score is also the best recorded by Sierra on its home course this season.


Le Grand 12, Ripon Christian 2

In Le Grand, the visiting Knights (2-6 Southern League, 4-11-1 overall) drew first blood with both of their runs in the first inning.

Starting pitcher Colby DeVries was able to hold the lead until the fourth, when Le Grand (7-3, 12-5) struck for two to tie it before erupting for 10 over the next two innings.

Le Grand only had four hits for the day but was able to capitalize on walks and two errors.  Jon Vander Molen’s double represented one of three Ripon Christian hits.