TRACY — Three Manteca-area outright baseball champions were crowned on Tuesday.
Manteca High claimed its second Valley Oak League title in three years with a 12-1 thrashing of Kimball. The Buffaloes (11-2, 19-6 overall) were guaranteed at least a share with the win, but second-place Oakdale lost to Central Catholic 7-1 to give them sole possession with one game to go. They wrap up the regular season at home today against East Union, which clinched the fourth and final Sac-Joaquin Section Division III playoff berth in the VOL with Manteca winning the championship. Manteca lost at East Union 5-2 on Monday.
“Really proud of how we bounced back after (Monday’s) setback,” Manteca coach Neil MacDannald said. “These guys work seven-plus innings each time out and as a result they have earned the VOL title when few people believed it.
“Now we have to finish the regular season on a high note, playing our best baseball going into the playoffs.”
Manteca seized the title emphatically after previously needing a seventh-inning comeback to nip the Jaguars (3-10, 12-12) 4-3 in the series opener last week. The Buffaloes put the finishing touches on Tuesday’s win with a seven-run rally in the top of the seventh.
Ronaldo Tijero went 3 for 5 with a double and two RBIs. Mitch Balmust was 2 for 5 with two runs and one driven in. Tyler Graves-Kelso also had two hits, Jake Menasco plated three runs, Kyle Rachels legged out a triple and drove in a pair and Sam Rohovit had a double and racked up three RBIs. The Buffaloes totaled 11 hits and walked seven times.
Graves-Kelso went the distance in his final regular-season start, scattering five hits while striking out six.
“Tyler battled his tail off, yet again,” MacDannald said. “We had guys come up big all day. Jonny Murillo made two incredible plays early that set the tone the rest of the way. I couldn’t be more proud of this group.”
Mountain House 1
RIPON — The Indians (11-0, 21-3) are TVL champions for the first time in 15 years and will look to complete a perfect run today at Mountain House. They lead second-place Escalon and Hilmar by three games.
Ripon led 5-0 after two innings and scored in every frame but the fifth. Jack Mayer accounted for two of the team’s three hits and scored three runs. Sammy Souza had two RBIs.
Mayer also struck out eight over five innings in a combined three-hitter. Sophomore Donny Cooksey pitched two perfect innings in relief and fired four strikeouts.
Ripon Christian 11,
Le Grand 1
RIPON — Mariposa’s six-year reign has officially come to a close.
Ripon Christian (11-1-19-5) shared the league championship in 2012 but earned an outright claim with Tuesday’s mercy-shortened victory on Senior Day.
Connor McGovern and Willem Hoekstra combined for a no-hitter. Mike Fisher, Travis Vander Molen and Travis Zuidervaart each had two hits and two RBIs.