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Sierra drops close one to Bulldogs
Hoover strikes out 11 Timberwolves in win
Dawn Kilpatrick dives for single up the middle Friday at Sierra High where Ceres edged Sierra, 1-0. - photo by BRANDON PETERSEN
After Gabby Hawkins allowed just four hits in a 1-0 loss to Ceres Friday afternoon at Sierra High, Timberwolves head coach Nick Olmo called the Bulldogs the Valley Oak League team to beat.

Considering Ceres starting pitcher Vaneza Hoover struck out 11 T’Wolves, including three each in the third and sixth, and allowed just a bloop single to Marissa Vallejos, it was hard to argue with Olmo’s assertion.

The Timberwolves were good, as Hawkins struck out six Bulldogs and her defense committed just one harmless error, but the Bulldogs (2-0 VOL, 10-1) were better, stringing three of their four hits together in the top of the fourth to push across the game-winner with two outs.

“I can’t be displeased with what we did,” Olmo said. “We played a great defensive game. (Ceres) is going to be the team to beat this season. I saw that after the Modesto Tournament.

“We just have to come up to their level of ball.”

When Hoover was relayed Olmo’s comments afterward, she couldn’t disagree.

“I feel that way, yeah,” she said. “This is definitely the year. We’re stronger on both defense and offense. Up and down the lineup, we don’t have any weak spots.”

Ryan Norton led off the fourth with a single up the middle, just beyond the outstretched glove of a diving Dawn Kilpatrick at second.

Hawkins then got Amanda Lampley to fly out before Hoover found the hole in the right side.

It looked as though Hawkins would battle out of the jam as she then sent down Shaye Farriester swinging, but with two down, Jode Johnson came through with a clutch single to left, scoring Norton with the eventual game-winner.

“It was going to come down to the team that made that one mistake,” Olmo said. “They got the score. Ceres earned the win, but there were things we could have done to prevent it along the way.”

Namely, get the bats going.

Sierra snuck out of Ceres Wednesday with a 3-2 win over Central Valley and the offensive woes continued Friday as T’Wolf after T’Wolf made the disappointing trot back to the dugout empty-handed.

Vallejos reached with a single in the home half of the fourth, but the knock came with two down, and Karissa Valdez grounded out a batter later to end the threat.

Sierra (1-1 VOL, 6-2-2) had just four base runners all afternoon.

The road doesn’t get any easier for the Timberwolves, as a trip to Oakdale (2-0 VOL, 8-1-1) looms Wednesday.

Sonora 6, Manteca 4
After the Buffaloes spotted Sonora five runs through the first two, Manteca battled back with four in the fourth, but it wouldn’t be enough in Sonora.

Trina Solario hit a two-run double and both Chellsee Lee and Melissa Bond had RBI singles.

Chandler Rose walked three times.

Mariah Navarro allowed nine hits, but a few errors helped the Wildcats on their way to win.

“We had our opportunities,” Manteca head coach Todd Hardcastle said. “But we got off the bus really lethargic and just like that we were down 5-0.”

Central Valley 7, Weston Ranch 2
Serena Hernandez (2 for 3, 3B) scored on a fielder’s choice and a Nicole Washington sacrifice fly.

The Cougars were held to just three hits.

Angelysa Washington had a double and two RBIs.