East Union second baseman Deja Guzman may not stand out as much as her Lancers softball counterparts, but that may be because she makes it look so easy.
Against visiting crosstown rival Manteca on Tuesday, Guzman made a putout to first from her knees, tagged out a runner and then completed a double play to first, chased down a fly ball in the outfield, scored the game’s first run and was the first of four East Union batters to reach in a two-run sixth inning on the way to a 4-0 Valley Oak League win for the Lancers.
“She (Guzman) is amazing,” East Union coach Brian Goulart said. “The Stanislaus State head coach wanted to see her but couldn’t make it tonight but the (Pacific) head coach was here and he sent me a message saying Stanislaus State was really interested in Deja. So I think her chance to play college softball is about to take a turn for the better.
“I am excited about Deja. She is the unsung hero of our team and has been for a while. She is so quiet and she just does everything right. She is such a great player – and it was senior night. Great defensive plays and a rally starter. There is so much about her that is magical.”
Guzman walked in the first inning, went to third on Sam Owen’s double and came home on a passed ball for a 1-0 lead.
“I just wanted to have my pitcher’s back,” Guzman said. “I wanted to get all the ground balls that came my way and that is what I did.”
Mikayla Bongi went the distance for the Lancers (12-0 VOL, 20-0 overall) in the circle, carrying a no-hitter into the fifth when she gave up one of her two runs.
“Like I say every time,” Bongi said. “My defense is amazing. It is remarkable what they get.”
Referring to Guzman’s putout from her knees, Bongi said, “Deja has at least one of those plays a game so by this time it doesn’t even surprise me. I am used to it.”
After Guzman’s first-inning run, Manteca pitcher Haighlee Kissee retired 10 batters in a row.
“We started flat,” Goulart said. “And Kissee had a lot to do with that. She pitched good and she is a gamer. Give credit where credit is due.”
Delaney Pamplin led off the East Union fifth with a walk and went to third when Izabelle Owen’s sacrifice bunt was misplayed. Pamplin came home on a double play for a 2-0 lead.
The Buffaloes (8-6, 14-9) had another error in the sixth inning which helped lead to two more Lancers runs. Taylor Ward singled in Sam Owen, and Pamplin hit a sacrifice fly to plate Kianna Ahlstrom for a 4-0 lead.
Kissee allowed just four hits, but those two late errors were costly.
“Haighley pitched a very good game today,” Manteca coach Corey Navarro said. “They came up with that early run and then held us at bay – we didn’t score a run. We got some hits but we just couldn’t put it together.
“Our defense made a couple of blunders late which gave them some runs, but I think overall we played well and it was something good to go into playoffs with. Losing to them 4-0 is respectable. I am happy with the team, but of course I would have liked to get the win.”
Friday was the league finale for Manteca which will enter the playoff as the fourth VOL seed. With two games remaining the Lancers lead Oakdale by a game and wrap up VOL play on Tuesday at Oakdale after hosting Central Catholic on Thursday.