Weston Ranch blew a four-run lead but jumped back ahead for good with a hit from Manuel Rubio in the top of the sixth inning Thursday, and the Cougars edged out defending Valley Oak League and Sac-Joaquin Section Division III champion Manteca 5-4.
The host Buffaloes (1-3 VOL, 8-5 overall) trailed 4-0 before tying it with a rally in the bottom of the fifth. Kenji Breitenbucher drove in the equalizer.
Weston Ranch (1-1, 9-4) answered immediately. C.J. Drain started the sixth with an infield single and advanced on Larry Martinez’s sacrifice bunt, setting the stage for Rubio’s game-winning knock.
It was great bounce-back effort for the Cougars, who were drubbed 11-2 in the series opener at their home yard on Tuesday. They were doomed by errors in that game, but roles were reversed on Thursday when Manteca committed five to the Ranch’s one.
“I couldn’t be more proud of our guys and how they bounced back from that tough loss,” Weston Ranch coach David Hager said. “We battled through some adversity today; we watched the game get tied up in one inning. To get the win at the end was very satisfying.”
Drain finished 2 for 4 to lead Weston Ranch and also got the save after pitching in the seventh inning. Rylan Tinsley gutted through six innings for the Cougars. Hager lauded the efforts of all pitchers. Gino Campiotti got the starting nod for Manteca and was replaced by Andrew Brunn in the fifth.
“Rylan pitched himself in and out of trouble and just said, ‘Guys, get on my back,’” Hager said. “He battled all day. He struggled with his other pitches in the end, so he just stuck with the fastball and got people out.”
Some hustle on the base paths also keyed the win for the Cougars. In the fifth, pinch-runner Malik Vega-Tatum plated the team’s fourth run when Amier Bowen beat out the throw to first on a double-play attempt. Carlos Drain and Tinsley each had an RBI in the third.
Manteca’s fifth-inning onslaught was highlighted by a two-run double from Kyle Rachels. Gerson Gomez scored a run in the inning and finished 2 for 2. Both teams had six hits, but the errors came back to haunt the Buffaloes.
“When you give good teams extra outs and bases it’s tough to win,” Manteca coach Neil MacDannald said. “Despite it all we had our chances and fought back, we just came up a little short. We’ll get back to work and be better next time out.”
Manteca heads to Vista del Lago for a make-up nonleague game today. It’s a rematch of a SJS Division III semifinal from last year. Weston Ranch travels to Central Catholic next Tuesday.
Central Catholic 1 (12)
MODESTO — Scoreless for 11 innings, the Timberwolves (2-0, 7-4) ended the trend with five runs in the top of the 12th. They were aided by a bases-loaded walk, a two-run throwing error and a single by Jacob Peterson.
Central Catholic (1-3, 3-7) mustered just one run in the bottom half, with Orlando Leon delivering a two-out single. Sierra totaled nine hits and got two each from Chase Sperbeck, Joseph Rodriguez and Peterson.
Abraham Velasco pitched the final two innings for the win. Starter Jesse Babauta was dominant in his eight innings, firing 10 strikeouts while giving up just four hits and a walk. Jared Bagley contributed two scoreless innings in relief.
Oakdale 10, East Union 1
Trailing 6-0, the Lancers (0-2, 6-5) had an opportunity to climb back into it after loading the bases with no out in the bottom of the third.
Oakdale pitcher Blake Whiting was able to limit the damage after hitting Brayden Hardcastle with a two-strike pitch that plated Scott Morenzone, who finished 2 for 2 to lead East Union. Whiting struck out eight and scattered five hits over five innings.
Oakdale (4-0, 11-2) was sparked early by two-run hits from Nick Moore and Jordan Williams in the first and third innings, respectively.
Kimball 14, Lathrop 1 (5)
LATHROP — Lathrop (0-2, 3-6-1) landed the first blow when Johnny McCuaig led off the home half of the first with a walk and Estevan Salazar knocked him home with a double.
It was all downhill from there, as the Jaguars (3-1, 7-3-1) took advantage of four errors and accumulated 14 of their 15 hits over the next four frames.
Ripon Christian 5,
Le Grand 4
RIPON — After trailing 3-1 through three innings, Ripon Christian (3-1 Southern League, 7-3 overall) scratched across three runs in the fourth, tied it in the fifth and won in a go-ahead fashion in the bottom of the seventh.
Jadon Vander Molen and Willem Hoekstra each went 2 for 3 with a run, and Dale Fisher added two RBIs. Hoekstra was also the winning pitcher, going the distance for seven strikeouts in a five-hitter.
Ripon 13, Summerville 7
RIPON — The Indians (8-2-2) broke it open with seven runs in the fifth inning and raced to a nonleague victory.
Donny Cooksey went 2 for 3, while Colby Bacon (triple), John Eicher, Eric Jaquez and Andrew Durrer each knocked in a pair of runs. Jack Mayer plated three.
Sierra 5, Kimball 3
TRACY — Jesse Ortiz-Martinez doubled and plated an insurance run in the top of the seventh for Sierra (1-0 VOL, 7-2 overall), then struck out the side in order in the bottom half for his fourth save of the season.
Louis Aquila pitched 3 2/3 hitless innings and was replaced by Ben Supinger. The Timberwolves erupted for four runs in the fourth. Mauricio Arnoldus had an RBI single, William Rocha drew a bases-loaded walk and Andrew Osegura drove in another with a groundout.