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Mueller, Burrows hold Vikings in check
Manteca starter Matthew Mueller tossed four innings of perfect baseball, putting the Buffaloes in position for the 12-2 win over Edison.
STOCKTON – After four innings of perfect baseball from starting pitcher Matthew Mueller, Manteca High’s baseball team needed a late offensive outburst to keep its winning streak alive in a 12-2 victory over Edison High Wednesday.

Manteca (9-4-1) closed the Stagg Baseball Classic undefeated; piling up 33 runs in the three-game span. Pitching held center-stage for the first four frames, as Mueller was dominant in every since of the word, sending the first 12 Viking batters back to the dugout in succession.

“I like what I saw in Mueller,” Manteca head coach Gene Ballardo said. “He just continued with how he performed on Monday. Our defense gave him a little trouble at the end, so he wasn’t able to get the win, but I know what he did and he pitched pretty well.”

Mueller racked up five strikeouts in four-plus innings of work, not surrendering a walk until the second batter of the fourth. Edison reaped the benefits of two Manteca errors, tying things up 2-2 in the inning.

“I felt like everything was going right for me,” Mueller said. “I was hitting my spots, my curveball was breaking off a little bit, and it really felt like a good outing all the way around.

“We know that pitching is one of our assets on this team and we know pitching wins games.”

Matt Burrows came on in relief, halting an Edison rally by inducing a groundout to second baseman Trey Roberts, who cut down the go-ahead run at the plate. Burrows would strike out the next batter on three pitches, closing the door on the Vikings’ rally.

Manteca would respond immediately when pinch-hitter Gabe Rellamas smashed a line-drive the right fielder couldn’t handle, advanced to third on a perfectly executed it-and-run, and scored on Roberts’ RBI groundball. Rellamas would start the Buffaloes’ final rally in the bottom of the sixth, leading off the inning with rocket to right-center.

“That was great to see Gabe come in and do what he needed to do,” Ballardo said. “We had some disciplinary issues so he didn’t play the last two games, but I think he got the point and had a little fire underneath him.”

Daniel Miramontes had another impressive day at the plate, going 3 for 4 with two singles and a double. Miramontes also drove in a run and came around to score once. Burrows was 2 for 3 with a walk and a run scored, while Matt Barber drove in three and sscored once. Roberts finished 1 for 2 with a walk and an RBI.

Manteca put together a quality run through the brief departure form the Valley Oak League grind, now the squad will have to channel its energy on the Sierra Timberwolves for their April 6 appointment.

“I don’t know if they are going to really get to enjoy it long because we’re practicing throughout the rest of the week,” Ballardo said. “These guys have some goals this year and to achieve those goals you have to put in the work.

“And that’s what they’re going to be doing.”