In the game’s opening minutes Manteca High’s outfield ers were provided opportunities to make two miraculous catches, but both opportunities flew inches past outs and helped propel the visiting Oakdale Mustangs to a 12-1 Valley Oak League victory.
Manteca (7-7 VOL, 13-10 overall) fell behind in the top of the first when the second drive in the inning turned into a three-run homer and a lightning-quick 4-1 Oakdale lead.
“Dropping those four real quick really took the air out of our sails,” Manteca head coach Corey Navarro said. “And in this game, senior night is always tough because it’s such an emotional game.
“It’s an emotional game; I’ve had these girls for four years.”
Manteca seemingly took steps in the right direction when the club honored the Oakdale seniors with a flower during pregame ceremonies. Oakdale starter Shelby Cordova sat Manteca down in order in the first, in the second Sierra Garcia used heads up base running to come around and plate what would be the Buffaloes only run.
The two teams fell stagnant through the middle innings and Oakdale (12-2, 20-6-1) got things going again in the sixth, breaking the game open with a five-run inning. Manteca would get two on in the sixth, but that would be all as a harmless pop fly sealed its fate.
“I am sure the Nor Cal Tournament helped us, because we are hitting the ball good right now,” Oakdale head coach Larry Loger said. “We had a good week, three wins and the win against Kimball gave us confidence for Tuesday and today.
“It’s good to get out to a first inning lead, it makes it easier.”
The Buffaloes only had one player with multiple hits, as Mia Ramirez went 2-for-3 with a triple and single. Selena Gonzalez collected a knock, going 1-for-3 in the loss. The loss brings the Buffaloes season to an end, closing the high school carrers of five players and pushing Gonzales, Ramirez and pitcher Peyton Rose to the forefront.
“We just seemed to fall apart after they started scoring runs,” Gonzalez said. “We tried to hold it together and keep it close, but it got out of hand.
“Peyton threw a good game and had a good season, we’ll be back.”