Greg Jones knocked in four runs Friday for Manteca and was a home run shy of the cycle as the Buffaloes tallied 11 hits in a 9-4 win over visiting Weston Ranch to wrap up a home-and-home sweep of the Cougars in Valley Oak League baseball action.
“In this series we put a lot of guys on base,” Manteca coach Neil MacDannald said. “We had our opportunities to put them away in both games early and to their credit they made enough plays. We are glad when we are getting guys on base but when we have a team against the ropes we have to make sure we can finish the job, but we are happy with a sweep.
“They are definitely a program on the rise. Dave (Hager) and those guys do a good job over there and they are definitely getting better.”
Jones nearly got the home run he needed – he belted a two-RBI triple off the right-field fence in the second inning and had an RBI single in the first along with an RBI double in the fourth.
“I wasn’t looking to hit for the cycle,” Jones said. “I was just looking to put the ball in play and I almost got the cycle.”
Jake Menasco got a double past the Cougars left fielder in the second inning and added RBI singles in the fifth and sixth innings, going 3 for 4.
“I wasn’t doing very well at the plate earlier in the season,” Menasco said. “I kind of changed my swing up and I think I have done pretty good.”
Leadoff batter Ronaldo Tijero set the tone for the Buffaloes (3-1 VOL, 8-4), reaching base in every at bat and scoring three runs. He was 2 for 3 with a double, walk and he reached on an error.
“I had a great approach at the plate,” Tijero said. “I have been working on it and I just had to put the ball in play.”
While Weston Ranch (0-2, 5-9) only had four hits, they drew 11 free bases with eight walks along with three hit batters but stranded 12 runners.
“We continue to do the same thing — leave people on base,” Cougars coach David Hager said. “We only had four hits, but we had runners on all day and could not find a way to get them in. Somebody on our team has to be that guy who wants to step up and say, ‘Not this time. It’s going to be me and I am going to get a hit. I am going to get a hit and we are going to score a couple of runs and gain momentum.’
“Once that happens, you had better look out because we are going to be pretty dag-gummed good. And we have to take care of the ball better.”
Weston Ranch pitcher Tommy De Anda pitched four innings. While he got tagged for eight hits and seven runs, he also struck out eight and he did so after getting hit in the leg with a pitch to lead off the Cougars second. He was also victimized by an error and multiple fielding miscues.
“De Anda was not at his best after he got hit,” Hager said. “But he fought through it and still pitched well.”