In baseball, a team has to score to win, and only one program was able to do that in Manteca’s 1-0 Valley Oak League win over the East Union Lancers Wednesday.
Manteca’s Kevin Peck and East Union Lancer Jordan Kron went at one another for seven innings, with Manteca providing the difference with a clutch two-out RBI double by starting shortstop Gabe Rellamas in the fifth. Rellamas drove a first-pitch Kron fastball to the right-center gap, giving speedy nine-hole hitter Mikey Matthews more than enough time to score from first base.
Kron retired the first two batters he faced in the fifth, before surrendering the always damaging two-out walk, prefacing Rellamas’ difference making double.
“Overall, I think I did alright, but you have to tip your cap to Peck,” Kron said after the loss. “Obviously, he was the better pitcher today and you simply cannot win a ball game scoring no runs.”
Kron was equally impressive in defeat, holding the Buffaloes to just three hits, only the second of the three hits came a pitch after Kron’s third and final walk. Peck struck out four and Kron five, while Peck, like Kron, walked three batters.
Both pitchers were up to the challenging task that lay before them, only Peck’s effort was supported by a huge RBI double.
“That was the game,” Manteca head coach Gene Ballardo said of Rellamas’ double. “We only had three hits. I tip my hat to Kron, he did a great job, but Kevin Peck did a great job too, and outlasted him.
“What can you say about Kevin Peck; he was outstanding today.”
Steven Gigli, Brett Riley and Brock Swift all tallied knocks against Peck, but only one of those hits came with a runner on base. Manteca’s offense was as limited, getting a single from Matt Mueller, and a sixth inning double from Daniel Miramontes to go along with Rellamas’ game-winning hit.
The Lancers played good enough to win the ball game defensively; they were just the one big hit away that never came.
“Jordan did an outstanding job and that’s what we expect out of him,” East Union head coach Dan Triglia said. “He did all the things that we ask him to do, and he and Ronnie Lima (catcher) worked well together in tandem.
“Definitely, a pitcher’s duel. Kind of one of those situations where whoever scores first maybe the team that ends up winning, and that’s what happened today.”
The two clubs will meet up again Friday at East Union. With the VOL season approaching its end, the final installment of this year’s battle between these two teams will hold monumental importance on the VOL standings breakdown.
“I just told them that we need to come out and refocus for practice Thursday and come back on Friday and defend our yard,” Triglia said. “If we can play as well as we know we can play, then we’ll be right there again and give ourselves an opportunity to win the ball game.”