There was one thing that was overwhelmingly obvious during Sierra and East Union’s Valley Oak League season-ending matchup Thursday, and that was the fact pitcher Zac Carrillo was not about to let his Lancer teammates lose.
Carrillo was dominant for seven innings, holding the Sierra lineup in check and leading the Lancers to a share of the VOL title with an 8-1 win Carrillo cruised, giving up one run in the third and not allowing another runner in scoring position until a leadoff Sierra double in the sixth.
“We got a stellar effort from Zac Carrillo on the bump,” East Union head coach Dan Triglia said. “He did a great job keeping the off-balanced all day. He has been doing that for us all year.
“He kept his ball moving, he kept his ball down and he did a great job of mixing up speeds.”
The Timberwolves simply could not solve Carrillo. He was able to get ahead of hitters and used an exceptional first-pitch curveball to keep Sierra’s bats at bay. The junior hurler had nine strikeouts, outdueling Sierra starter Nathan O’Leary in a must-win game for the Lancers.
East Union scored one in the first and promptly added another when Zak Lewallen got enough of an O’Leary offering in the second, putting the Lancers up 2-0 with a home run to right. East Union added another in the third, then finally broke open a close 3-1 ballgame with a five-run seventh inning, providing Carrillo with much more than he would need.
“He was good out there today,” East Union starting catcher Ronnie Limas said about Carrillo. “I was just trusting his two-seamer (fastball) the whole time; it was really diving in to the righties.
“All of his stuff was really working for him today.”
Brock Swift came up with the big hit in the seventh, driving a pitch to deep centerfield to plate Limas, Steven Gigli and Jordan Kron who was intentionally walked to load the bases. His three RBI double solidified the win and pulled the Lancers back to the top of the VOL.
East Union will share the league’s top spot with the Oakdale Mustangs, who beat Sonora High 12-0 to secure their half of the crown. The Mustangs will likely land the league’s No. 1 seed, since they were able to sweep Sonora, whereas East Union split its series with the Wildcats.
The title is the Lancers’ first since the 2001 season, but more important than that is the fact it puts the Lancers back in the postseason. The club have won 10 of their last 11 and will look to push their current win streak along for another four games.
“Our first goal was to get a championship, which we were able to attain,” Lancer head coach Dan Triglia said. “Our second goal was to make the playoffs, which we were able to attain and now we just want to see if we can go all the way with it.”
East Union will open Sac-Joaquin Section Division-IV Championships Tuesday, May 19 at Tony Zupo Field in Lodi.