Despite being held to a combined no-hitter by Weston Ranch’s Larry Martinez and Jordan Severin, East Union downed the Cougars 3-2 Saturday at Agostini Field, keeping the Lancers in the fourth and final Valley Oak League playoff slot and eliminating Weston Ranch from post-season competition.
Lancers pitcher Adrian Sevier-Aflleje picked up the win in dramatic fashion. With East Union leading by one with runners at first and second in the seventh inning, Sevier-Affleje struck out the side to end the game.
A first-inning error led to the first run for the Lancers (7-5 VOL, 10-11 overall). Gyse Hulsebosch walked in the first inning and took third on a pickoff attempt to first that was off target. Hulsebosch scored on a sacrifice fly by Marco Gonzales.
In the fourth, two walks and a hit batter gave East Union the bases loaded with one out and Brayden Hardcastle at third. Hardcastle scored when Jack Weaver was hit by a pitch and Sevier-Affleje made it 3-0 when he plated Mason James on a sacrifice fly.
Weston Ranch (4-8, 15-9) closed the gap to 3-1 in the fifth when Josh Dilg reached on an error and scored on a single by Cuyler Reynolds. Severin led off the seventh with a walk, was walked to second and scored on a single by Martinez.
Josh Dilg helped save the no-hitter for the Cougars with a running catch in the right-center gap off the bat of Eric Flores in the first inning and a diving catch in right-center off the bat of Lucas Dias.
Gonzales had the defensive play of the game in the sixth inning with an over-the-shoulder sliding catch in foul territory going away from play and then throwing a strike to Danny Marquez at second to get the Weston Ranch runner trying to advance. Hulsebosch added an outstanding diving catch in the fourth inning.
The Lancers enter the last two games of the VOL campaign leading Sierra by a game for fourth place. The Lancers host first-place Manteca today and travel across town on Wednesday. The Timberwolves host the Cougars today and travel to Weston Ranch on Wednesday. All games are slated to start at 4 p.m.