East Union’s week of heartbreaking losses ended with yet another on Friday.
Down 6-0 and hitless through five innings, the Lancers had chances late to steal the victory from visiting Oakdale but came up empty-handed, 6-4. On Wednesday, Oakdale (3-1 Valley Oak League, 7-5 overall) scored five runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to stun the hard-luck Lancers (0-2, 1-11), 8-7. And in their final tune-up for league Monday they lost to Tracy 3-2 on a walk-off homer in the eighth inning.
“We’re right there,” East Union coach Dan Triglia said. “The guys are competing their tails off we’re just not getting the ‘W’s.’ That’s what we have to work on now is playing a full seven innings. They’re still grinding now it’s about making that next big step.”
Oakdale sophomore pitcher Michael Juarez was outstanding for the first five innings, as he had four strikeotus and a no-hitter brewing. Devin Abrew led off the top of the sixth with a walk, and Joe Souza unlocked the floodgates with East Union’s first hit of the contest. Gabe Chavez roped a hit of his own to load the bases, and Kyle Emerson drove them all in with a double down the right-field line and still no outs in the inning.
Tanner Emes replaced Juarez on the bump and gave up an RBI hit to Marco Gonzales. The Mustangs later managed to keep the lead intact with an inning-ending double play.
East Union threatened again in the seventh with Lucas Garcia drilling a leadoff double. Wade Branch took it from there and recorded the save for Oakdale.
Joe Bothelio (four runs, three earned, six hits, strikeout, two walks) pitched the first four innings for the Lancers, while Garcia (two runs, one earned, three hits, two strikeouts) threw the final three. East Union will try and snap its five-game funk in next week’s Wednesday-Thursday series with Kimball. The opener will be hosted by Kimball in Tracy.
Central Catholic 4
The Timberwolves (2-0, 8-3-1) stand as the only unbeaten team remaining in VOL play after they raced past Central Catholic (2-2, 6-6) in Modesto.
Sierra established a 3-0 cushion in the top of the third but found itself down 4-3 after four before breaking out for five runs over the final two frames.
Jakob Gallagher was 3 for 3 with an RBI to pace the T’wolves. Ryan Vasquez was 2 for 3 with an RBI and the winning pitcher in relief. Tanner Peterson drove in two runs, and Steven Rios contributed a run-scoring triple.
Kimball 11, Lathrop 2
The visiting Jaguars (2-2, 4-5) of Tracy were ahead 9-0 going into Lathrop’s half of the fourth and didn’t look back. Lathrop (0-2, 3-7) managed to extend the game to a full seven innings with runs from Keenan Donatelli, who was 2 for 3, in the fourth and sixth innings.
Ryan King sparked Kimball early with an RBI triple, and Nate Hendricks plated a pair of runs and reached in all three of his plate appearances.