Lathrop High’s baseball team scored all of its runs in the fifth inning and got a big complete-game pitching performance from Preston Rizo in a much-needed 4-2 win at Sonora Monday.
The split keeps Lathrop (3-5 Valley Oak League, 9-8 overall) in the postseason hunt while the Wildcats (5-3, 13-7) are now locked in a second-place tie with Manteca.
Rizo pitched masterfully after giving up a run in each of the first two innings. He finished with five strikeouts and a walk and scattered five hits.
“Preston did a fabulous job of commanding the zone, and the defense played well behind him,” Lathrop coach Randy Baltazar said.
The offense rewarded Rizo for his gritty effort with its four-run fifth inning. Gabe Castellanos was hit by a pitch to lead off Lathrop’s half of the fifth. Ernie Garcia singled to left center, and Rizo came through with a game-changing two-run double to knot the score.
Rizo advanced to third on a passed ball and plated the game-winning run by stealing home. Carlos Estrada, who reached with a single, tacked on the insurance run on a throwing error.
“The fifth inning was big for us,” Baltazar said. “The boys responded real well with runners in scoring position.”
Sonora starter Nolan Dambacher lasted 11/3 innings on the mound, and Karson Canaday was perfect over the final 2 2/3 in relief.
Lathrop hosts rival Weston Ranch Wednesday.
Ripon Christian 4, Turlock Christian 2
The Knights (7-2, 8-9-1) scored took a 3-0 lead going into the third and held on to complete a pivotal sweep last Friday in Turlock. Ripon Christian now holds a one-game lead over TC (6-4, 6-10) for third place.
Winning pitcher Colby DeVries helped his own cause with a double and a run. Ripon Christian was held to just two hits. DeVries pitched a complete-game one-hitter and struck out 12.
Manteca 24, Lathrop 2 (5)
Chase McKee struck out seven whole swatting two hits for three RBIs Monday.
Greg Jones belted four hits, three for doubles. Isaac Gutierrez and Ryan Harbeck added two RBIs apiece for the Buffaloes.