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Lathrop rally falls short
Alvarados last-inning blooper wins it for WR
Alexandra Alvarado makes contact for the game-winning RBI single to center field as Weston Ranch beats visiting Lathrop 6-5 in the Valley Oak League opener Monday. - photo by JONAMAR JACINTO
WESTON RANCH — Alexandra Alvarado didn’t get to start the game, but she got to finish it.

Batting from the No. 8 spot in the order, Alvarado belted a two-out blooper off the first pitch she saw and dropped it into shallow centerfield, allowing Miranda Holmes to score uncontested and Weston Ranch’s softball team to edge out first-year varsity Lathrop, 6-5, in Monday’s Valley Oak League opener.

“I wasn’t really nervous,” said Alvarado, who spent the first two innings on the bench and shagging foul balls but ended up going 3 for 3 with two RBIs. “I just come out to play.”

Lathrop (0-1, 0-4 overall) valiantly fought back from an early 4-0 deficit and tied it at 5 after three Weston Ranch errors forced the Cougars (1-0, 3-5) to take their final at-bats.

Holmes led off the bottom half with a single and scooted to second on a misplayed ball in left field. She advanced to third on a wild pitch, setting up Alvarado’s heroic base hit.

“I didn’t have any doubt,” Berezay said of her confidence in Alvarado.

Serena Hernandez legged out two triples and went 3 for 4 with two runs and an RBI to lead Weston Ranch. Holmes finished 3 for 3 with an RBI triple and a run. Alvarado, Hernandez and Holmes recorded nine of the Cougars’ 11 hits. The others came from birthday celebrant Nikki Taylor and No. 3 hitter Raileen Romo (two runs).

Hernandez (six strikeouts, four walks) also pitched for Weston Ranch and had a no-hitter brewing threw 3.2 innings.

Lathrop’s Jazlyn Simon broke up the no-no bid with an infield hit to load the bases in the fourth, and Genesis Gonzalez lined a shot to right to close the Spartans in, 4-1.

Gonzalez (2 for 3) had two more RBIs in the sixth when Jocelyn Castro, Krystal Ruiz and Alayna Asuncion (RBI) strung together three straight hits with one out and later scored.

Britney Rallios reached with an out in the seventh on an error and plated the tying run with two outs when Castro beat out the throw to first following a mishandled grounder.

Lathrop, who struggled offensively in non-league play, got most of its offensive production from the bottom third of the lineup, which accounted for four of the team’s six knocks.

“They really came through today,” Lathrop coach Christina Jones said of the players batting in the bottom of the order. “We started out a little rough but once we settled down things started happening. We’re young and inexperienced and it shows a little bit, but we’re coming around and improving every game.”

Jones also lauded the efforts of sophomore pitcher Alicia Erlandson (two unearned runs, five strikeouts, three walks), who kept the Spartans in it late. She induced a groundball for the third out in the fourth to leave two runners on, and she rung out the last out in the five via strikes with the bases loaded.

“She’s only a sophomore but she’s a gamer,” Jones said. “She gets the big outs when we need them.”

Manteca 5, Sonora 2
Danielle Roberts (2 for 3, two runs) crushed a two-run double in the sixth inning to help put visiting Sonora (0-1, 3-3-2) away. Mia Ramirez drove in a run and plated another for the Buffaloes (1-0, 4-2), who jumped ahead for good 2-1 in the fifth.

Mariah Navarro buckled down after giving up the game’s first run in the third, finishing with five strikeouts to five walks and two hits.

“It took us a while to get going offensively, but the second time around (the order) we started hitting the ball real well,” Manteca coach Todd Hardcastle said. “Mariah threw really well and the defense made plays behind her.”