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Molina strikes out 14 in EU’s mercy-shortened win over Sierra
East Union-Sierra softball
East Union’s Layla Molina struck out 14 and allowed three hits. - photo by SEAN KAHLER

East Union’s Layla Molina was masterful inside the circle Tuesday, carrying a no hitter into the fourth inning and yielding just three hits while striking out 14 Sierra batters in a 10-0 mercy-rule win for the Lancers in Valley Oak League softball action at Northgate Softball Complex on Garvine Field.

“I try not to think of the no-hitter,” Molina said. “Because it’s a superstition where you’re not supposed to talk about it.

“I felt like I was in a groove. I had my defense behind me for any of the balls that were hit, and I had all my pitches, and we have been preparing for our crosstown rivals all season.”

Leadoff batter Caliyah Lopez reached base all three times she came to the plate for East Union (1-3 Valley Oak League, 10-5 overall), first on an error and then a pair of singles. She scored twice.

“I had a good approach today like we all did,” Lopez said. “It was a good game overall, and getting on was my main focus.”

Dianne LaFuentes (2 for 3, two RBI, double, two runs) bunted Lopez home in the first inning and ended up on second base on the play when it was left uncovered.

“That’s just how it goes sometimes,” LaFuentes said. “Sometimes you are lucky and get a double for a bunt.

“It’s a rivalry game. You just want to try your best and want to go all out. Today, I did. It was a good day, and hopefully I can carry that into the next game.”

The game ended in the bottom of the sixth. With Ariella Mejia on third and Sophia Bretao on first for the Lancers, Aubree Gann blasted a shot that would have been a triple any other time, but the game ended when Mejia crossed the plate to give Gann an RBI single.

The game was double rewarding for East Union, as the Lancers picked up a league win and a win against a crosstown rival.

“When you’re in division, in your league and in your town, no matter what their record is they are going to try and play you hard,” East Union coach Matt Cooper said. “We had some goals for the season and one of them was to take each game one by one and that’s what we have to do.

“The girls came out, got the job done, and did exactly what they needed to.”

Giovanna Garcia laced a short single down the right-field line in the fourth inning to give the Timberwolves (0-4, 0-8) their first base runner. Valeria Villanueva and Ashtyn Perez added singles in the fifth inning.

“We did get some hits,” Sierra coach Mike James said. “They have a stud pitcher. We saw her enough last year and she is better this year. And their catcher (Makenzie Nervis) is legit. They are a legit ball club. They are solid and they put the ball in play. I love their short game. We tried to bunt a couple of times. One worked and one didn’t.

“We are trying to get better and we are trying to get smarter. We’re just going to keep at it. The girls are not quitting and I love them.”

On Thursday at 4 p.m. the Lancers host crosstown rival Manteca and the Timberwolves host Oakdale.