Atwater took advantage of an error-prone Manteca third inning and put up five runs on the way to a 7-2 non-league baseball win at Manteca on Saturday.
The Buffaloes (0-1) posted three errors and a balk in the fateful third inning.
“That was a big inning,” Atwater coach Jarrod Pimentel said. “We had a couple of hustle plays and they kicked the ball around a little bit. We executed well with two strikes and our pitcher kind of kept us in the game.
“We played pretty good defense considering our in and out wasn’t very good.”
Twice Manteca loaded the bases with one out and the Buffaloes could only manage one run on those two opportunities.
In the first inning Emiliano Cruz (two RBI) walked with the bases loaded to plate Dylan DePrater and give Manteca a 1-0 lead. A sharp grounder to first started a 3-2-3 double play and ended the inning.
“It almost happened twice today,” Pimentel said of the 3-2-3 double play. “It was great. We made a great pitch, kind of thumbed the ball out there. We needed it right there.”
The Falcons (1-0) sent nine batter to the plate in the third inning and got those five runs on just three hits.
“We were looking for somebody to stop the bleeding,” Buffaloes coach Mark Ruiz said. “Looking for someone to make a play for us. That’s something we need to work on.
“That double play was a good play for them. They had their guy in and it was a rally killer for us. That was a tough play to make and they made it. They made more plays than we did, that’s for sure.”
Manteca got its other run in the fifth inning. Carson Smith singled to start the frame and Rex Watson walked to give the Buffaloes runners at first and second with no out. Smith and Watson moved up 90 feet on Landan Chamberlain’s groundout and Smith scored on Cruz’s grounder to second.
“We left a lot of runners on base today,” Ruiz said. “We hit the ball. We weren’t striking out. We hit the ball and we hit it hard a few times, it just didn’t go our way.”
Cole Hazel (RBI, two runs) was 2 for 2 for Atwater and Bo Valladao doubled, scored two runs and knocked in one.
Manteca hosts Ceres this afternoon at 3:30.