Valley Oak League softball games are tough, but Manteca intra-city games are tougher.
In a battle of 2015 Sac Joaquin Section champions, Division III champion East Union got three runs in the top of the eighth and held Division IV champion Sierra to two in the bottom of the frame for a thrilling 4-3 VOL win Tuesday at Sierra High.
“Sierra is the best team we play,” Lancers coach Brian Goulart said. “(Lindsey) Walljasper is a great pitcher, Vic (DeAnda) and Troy (Walljasper) are great coaches and they were one hit away from winning that game. They are tough.
“It is not easy beating Sierra, especially coming here. It is always hard here. They have a great atmosphere and they play well at home. They won a section championship too last year and that is pretty much the same team over there from last year. I admire them and I like them — it is always a tough win. It is a friendly rivalry, but a competitive one.”
With the score tied at 1-1 after seven innings, Michelle Castro reached on an error to start the eighth for the Lancers (8-0 VOL, 16-0 overall) and stole second. The East Union senior came home from second when Deja Guzman’s sacrifice bunt found its way past the charging Timberwolves infield. .
“I knew I had to get the bunt down,” Guzman said. “And it was pretty exciting.”
Castro did the job of a leadoff batter, getting on base three out of four trips with a walk, double and the eighth-inning error.
“Deja (Guzman) is a good bunter and I knew she was going to get one down,” Castro said. “I saw it got past their fielder so I just went for home.”
With Walljasper and Mikayla Bongi locked in a 1-1 pitcher’s duel, Delaney Pamplin moved over from her designated player position for the Lancers and relieved Bongi with two out in the sixth. Pamplin got the next four outs via strikeout and in the eighth struck out two and ended the game when she induced a grounder back to herself.
After Castro scored in the eighth, Sam Owen reached on an error and Taylor Ward singled. Both advanced on a double steal and came home on a hard single to right by Pamplin for a 4-1 lead.
“I was just looking to get outs so we could end the game,” Pamplin said. “I know I have a good defense behind me so if it gets hit or popped up I know they will make the out.
“I struck out my first three times up so I was just trying to get the ball on the ground but I got lucky on that last one.”
The error bug that bit Sierra (7-3, 10-3) in the top of the eight found East Union in the bottom of the frame. A muffed fly ball gave the Timberwolves Natalie Garcia at third and Devi Coglio at second. Kendelle Messersmith was awarded an intentional walk – she had a home run earlier in the game – to load the bases for Juli DeAnda.
DeAnda (2 for 4, two RBI) belted a two-out, two-RBI single to right, plating Garcia and Coglio. But Pamplin got a come-backer she relayed to first to end the game and keep the Lancers undefeated.
“I give the girls credit because they came back and fought and didn’t quit,” Timberwolves coach Vic DeAnda said. They are a great team and you just can’t make mistakes against them. And in that last inning I think we made two or three mistakes that really hurt us.”
Central Catholic 2
After giving up a two-run homer in the top of the first, Manteca (7-3, 13-6) responded by plating seven over the next two and coasted for the win.
All but one Buffalo had at least a hit. Aryanna Martinez went 3 for 4 with two RBIs to lead the way, and Haighley Kissee finished 2 for 4. Melissa Hansen contributed a bases-clearing double, and Koryn Menasco scored twice.
Kissee also pitched a two-hitter.