Coming off three defeats in four games, Manteca High’s softball team pieced together its most complete effort in a 5-0 win over visiting rival East Union on Tuesday.
It was a big game for both teams as they head into the second half of the Valley Oak League schedule. Manteca evened the season series and improves to 9-7, while the Lancers are 10-7. Both are 4-4 in conference play.
Sophomore pitcher Peyton Rose twirled a two-hit masterpiece and was backed by a sparkling defensive effort, while Mia Ramirez rapped four of the Buffaloes’ 10 hits.
Hailee Teixeira finished 2 for 3 with two RBIs, and Selena Gonzalez was 1 for 4 with two runs and a double. Anissa Gonzalez crushed an RBI triple in the sixth inning before plating another insurance run on Ramirez’s infield single.
“It just boosts me up,” Rose said of the offensive and defensive support. “I like when the defense is having a great day, and the offense did a good job, too.”
With the likes of shortstop Selena Gonzalez making tough plays look routine behind her, Rose helped her own cause by fielding six grounders for outs. She pitched to contact effectively and threw four perfect innings.
East Union had only three base runners — Kelsey Emerson reached on an error in the fourth inning — and was struck out four times.
“They played perfect,” East Union coach Brian Goulart said. “They made all the plays and Peyton pitched great. They outplayed and outhustled us.”
Cherish Burks and Kailee Nuding accounted for the Lancers’ only hits, with Burks’ coming on the first at-bat of the game and Nuding’s with one out in the seventh.
Burks infield knock came with a scare. On the fourth pitch of the contest, she hacked a one-hop chopper to Manteca third baseman Celina Cooper who was nailed in the face by the well-struck ball. Seven minutes later she was back in the ballgame and finished it out.
“She’s a freshman. She takes it off the face like that but wants to get back on the field,” Manteca coach Corey Navarro said. “My hat goes off to her, she did her job.”
East Union had a chance to score the first run after that. With still no outs, Burks made her way to third base with a steal and a passed ball.
Rose was able to get out of the jam with an infield popup and two groundouts.
“It was a big hump that we got over today,” said Ramirez, Manteca’s lone senior who went 4 for 4. “We have learned to not let mistakes affect us, how to finish and put a team a way. (Losing to East Union) shouldn’t have happened the first time.”
Manteca lost to East Union 4-3 on March 21 and had a 2-1 lead going into the bottom of the sixth. That wasn’t the only time the young Buffaloes blew a late lead this season, and they have lost to the league’s three best teams — Oakdale, Sierra and Kimball — by a combined four-run margin.
“They believe and I’m believe,” Navarro said. “That’s a huge win right there and we’re looking for more to come. Our goal right now is to finish up this half undefeated — that puts us in the playoffs.
“We have to go out and beat the teams that we think we can beat, and I really don’t think there’s a team we can’t beat.”