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Oakdale’s Everett shackles Manteca in 1st-place encounter
Oakdale-Manteca softball
Manteca third baseman Maleiah Garza fires to first. - photo by Wayne Thallander

 Pinpoint pitching and clutch extra-base hitting gave Oakdale a 4-0 win over host Manteca on Thursday and sole possession of first place in the Valley Oak League.

Raegen Everett was masterful in the circle for the Mustangs (4-0 VOL, 14-4 overall), retiring the first 11 batters she faced behind eight strikeouts. She finished with 12 strikeouts while allowing just three hits.

“She (Everett) is dominating,” Oakdale coach Larry Loger said. “She has everything under control, and she has been that good. We have played a lot of really tough teams. She’s the real deal, and she is going to UC Riverside next year.”

Of the 10 Oakdale hits, five were for extra bases with the bottom of the order — Madi Bohannan (2 for 2, RBI, two runs, triple), Morgan Wright (double) and Jayci Volonte (two-RBI double) — packing a big punch.

“We have been working really hard with the bottom of the order,” Loger said. “They stay afterwards and have been getting a lot of extra swings.

“We had four hits by the last three girls in the order along with three of the four RBI.”

Manteca’s best opportunity to do some damage came in the sixth inning when Riley Ward led off the frame with a double and went to third on Lauren Moncada’s single. The high hopes for the Buffaloes were dashed when Moncada was thrown out trying to steal second after a strikeout to complete a double play.

“They play good defense, and she (Everett) puts the ball where she wants to force you to hit it toward their defense,” Manteca coach Josh Farris said. “She and Nellie (Torres) are the two best pitchers in the league, and they got to go at it today with both teams trying to take over first place.

“We get another shot at them in a couple of weeks, and I told the girls to build toward that and get ready. We have a lot of tough games before then, but we would love to have another shot at them in the same situation trying to take over first place.”

Torres belted a one-out double in the fifth inning but was left stranded on second.

The Buffaloes (3-1, 11-3) host East Union on Tuesday afternoon at 4.