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Opportunistic Oakdale rallies past Manteca
Manteca High first baseman Alex Martinez ranges to his left to snare the groundball hit by Oakdales Bryce Dyrda in the seventh inning. - photo by JONAMAR JACINTO

Oakdale took advantage of its opportunities.

Manteca didn’t.

The host Buffaloes left nine runners on base, including five in scoring position, and committed five errors that led to seven unearned runs in a 10-2 loss on Friday.

Oakdale (10-0, 19-4 overall) swept the two-game series and is a win away from securing a piece of its sixth straight Valley Oak League championship.

“They did a lot of positive things that good baseball teams do,” Manteca coach Gene Ballardo said of the Mustangs. “I tip my hat to them, they played good baseball.”

So did Manteca (5-5, 11-8), but one inning of sloppy play dug a hole to deep to climb out of.

Ezequil Diaz put the Buffaloes up by a run with an RBI single in the bottom of the second. Buddy Reeder led off with a double before scoring.

Manteca pitcher Jacob Corn was cruising up until that point, but the defense failed to make plays behind him in the third.

Kody Simmons started the four-run rally by reaching on a two-out error, and Justin Martin scored on the play. Three straight hits from Spencer Thomas, Andy Morris and Lane Branch ensued. Manteca was charged for three of its errors in the inning.

Corn righted the ship with a 1-2-3 fourth inning, but he was unable to pitch through the fifth. Simmons opened with a home run to right after falling behind 0-2 in the count.

After Thomas was hit by a pitch, Morris clobbered a two-run shot over the right-center fence to widen Oakdale’s lead to 7-1 and force Corn off the mound.

Corn pitched better than his final stat line indicates. He threw 16 first-pitch strikes to 22 batters and struck out seven but gave up seven runs (three earned) on five hits and three walks.

Jeremy Vaughn threw the final three innings and surrendered three more unearned runs in the seventh. Stefan Aguilar’s two-out, two-run single highlighted the inning for Oakdale.

“They put the pressure on us and we didn’t make the plays,” Ballardo said. “We had runners in scoring position in all but one inning (sixth) but didn’t cash in. To their credit, they made some very tough (defensive) plays for outs and hit well with two outs.”

On top of finishing 2 for 4 with three runs scored and three more driven in, Morris pitched a complete-game for Oakdale. He fanned seven, walked four and allowed six hits. Simmons was also 2 for 4 with three runs.

Manteca’s Daniel Miramontes was 2 for 4, and Mikey Matthews knocked in a run in the fourth to close the Buffaloes in, 4-2.