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Gonzales goes the distance for Lancers
East Unions Adrian Affleje (18) waits for the throw as Sierras Chase Sperbeck (11) dives back to base on a pickoff play Wednesday at Agostini Field. - photo by HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin

Marco Gonzales had a strong sense of confidence on the mound.

In the Valley Oak League opener, the three-year varsity player went the distance for East Union, leading his team to an 8-3 victory over visiting Sierra on Wednesday.

“I didn’t finish as strong as I hoped but I’ll take the win over our crosstown rivals,” said Gonzales, who scattered 12 hits and was backed by a solid defense.

Lucas Dias, Eric Flores and Jack Weaver did their part by tracking down several long flies in the outfield. “The three cover a lot of ground – we also have others on this team pushing them (for playing time),” Lancers coach Dan Triglia said.

Added Gonzales:  “They’re a huge help back there – I know they can get to 90 percent of the fly balls.”

East Union (1-0 VOL, 4-6) received run support early on, eking out a run in the first – sophomore catcher Bryce Hardcastle singled up the middle to drive home lead-off man Dias, who reached on an infield hit.

Defense, for the most part, betrayed Sierra (0-1 VOL, 5-4) in the third.

“We extended that inning (for East Union),” said Timberwolves coach Jack Thomson. “The mistakes and errors is what separated us from them.”

Flores opened by reaching on an error and Mason James made it safely aboard on the passed ball after swinging on strike three. A fly ball to deep center by shortstop Gyse Hulsebosch enabled Flores to score. Weaver followed with an RBI single to center.

Sierra went to the bullpen in the fifth inning but to no avail. East Union made the most of the situation by scoring five times in the frame.

Gonzales, who helped his cause with a pair of hits, got the rally started with an infield single. The Lancers sent nine batters to the plate in the frame, with the big hits delivered by Adrian Affleje and John Blackwell. 

The Timberwolves didn’t go down without a fight. In their final at-bats, they scored three times on six hits in the seventh.

Jessie Babauta and Steve Rios cranked back-to-back doubles with one out and Jacob Peterson followed with a single.

Tanner Peterson, Marcus Castillo and Anthony Arrendondo, who pitched the first four innings for Sierra – he picked off the lead-off runner in the fourth – strung together consecutive singles.

“They earned everything they got,” said Triglia of the Timberwolves during that stretch.

The two teams will play Friday at Sierra.

“There’s still a lot of baseball to be played,’ Thomson said. “But we have to play better or it’ll be a long season.”


Turlock 12, Manteca 2

The Bulldogs scored five times in the first inning Wednesday, rolling to a non-league win over the Buffaloes.

Manteca (9-4) scored a run in the second and sixth innings.

The Buffaloes will host Franklin today at 4 p.m. in another non-league affair.



Sierra 6, East Union 2

Jared Bagley went 3 for 3 with four RBI to lead the Timberwolves to a VOL win over crosstown rival Lancers on Wednesday.

Caden Worth went six strong innings for Sierra to earn the win. He also fanned six and yielded six hits.

In addition, JT Ortiz Martinez drew three walks and David Reyes was 2 for 4 with an RBI for the Timberwolves, who will host Sierra Friday in the rubber match.