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Manteca forces do or die for EU on Monday
East Union base runner Brock Swift gets caught in no mans land during the second inning of Sac-Joaquin Section Division-IV playoff action Saturday in Lodi.

LODI – Manteca High got a tremendous effort from pitcher Cory Vanwarmendam while both Gabe Rellamas and Matt Burrows collected three hits as the Buffaloes took the first game of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-IV best of three series from East Union 6-5 Saturday at Tony Zupo.

Manteca got five innings of shutout ball from Vanwarmendam, as the senior hurler stymied the East Union bats, keeping the Lancers off balance and reaping the benefits of untimely base running from East Union.

“That kid dealt,” Manteca head coach Gene Ballardo said of his starting pitcher’s performance. “He gave us five solid innings and then our defense started kicking the ball around so I had to take him out.

“Cory is pretty much the reason we were able to get that victory.”

Manteca provided its pitcher with immediate run support, getting to East Union starter Zac Carrillo in the bottom of the first. Rellamas led off the game with a base hit and came around to score on a Burrows base hit after being sacrificed around by centerfielder Michael Timmins.

A pitch later shortstop Danny Gouveia lined a pitch into leftfield to put the Buffaloes up 2-0. But they were far from done, as Rellamas (3-for-4, HR) really got things cracking in the second inning with a two-run homerun to left to put Manteca up 4-0.

“Anytime that you are playing East Union you want to win, but this game I really wanted to win,” Rellamas said. “So I was really just trying to do whatever I could to try and help us score runs.”

Rellamas’ shot had seemingly sapped the Lancers of all their fight in a game that saw its first pitch a little before 9 a.m. Yet, that was not the case for East Union. It took the Lancers 15 outs to wake up, but that changed all of that in the sixth, pushing across five runs on three hits.

Carrillo had a two-RBI single and then scored the club’s fifth run on an errant throw to home plate that couldn’t be handled, pulling the Lancers to within one. East Union would go down in order in the seventh, forcing themselves into a must win situation Monday when they two teams meet again.

“Manteca did really well at the beginning and played fairly well throughout,” Lancer head coach Dan Triglia said. “We just have to bring our game for a full seven innings and see what happens. We can’t get in that hole and we cannot hurt ourselves.

“Now, we have a chance to win two games on Monday and that’s all we can ask for at this point.”

The two teams meet up again at Tony Zupo Field Monday. First pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m. Game three would immediately follow game two if it is necessary.