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Gardner plates lone run in 9th to beat MHS
SB--Manteca-Sierra pic 1
Samantha Lorge drives in the winning run for Sierra, which toppled visiting rival Manteca 1-0 in nine innings Monday. - photo by Photo by WAYNE THALLANDER

Another Manteca-Sierra softball game, another one-run, extra-inning thriller.

Nicole Gardner led off the bottom of the ninth for Sierra with a double, and fellow freshman Samantha Lorge hit a hard shot through the left side of the infield that was misplayed in the outfield, allowing Gardner to score for the 1-0 walk-off Valley Oak League win over the visiting Buffaloes.

“It was a hard chopper,” Lorge said. “I thought it was going to get through. 

“It was a good pitch to hit.”

In her two previous at-bats, Gardner blasted the ball, but both line drives were caught in the infield. Her double was a line shot over the Buffaloes third baseman.

“It really looked good coming out of her hand,” Gardner said. “And I hit it where I needed to hit it.”

On Friday, March 31, Manteca (9-3 VOL, 19-5 overall) sent the Timberwolves (8-3, 9-8) home with a stinging 1-0 10-inning loss.

“This just goes to show how even we are,” Sierra coach Vic DeAnda said. “They won the first game 1-0 in 10 innings at home and then we won it here in nine, 1-0.

“That was a great hit that Nicole (Gardner) got and then Sam (Lorge) relaxed and hit it hard and they couldn’t make the play.”

Lindsey Walljasper went the distance for Sierra in the circle, striking out eight and allowing just two hits, and three walks. Before doubling in the eighth, Walljasper had two flyouts to deep center and when she was walked in the sixth with two runners on she hit a towering fly ball to the fence in left field that was foul by about a foot. 

“It’s always a good game against a cross-town rival,” Walljasper said. “It was heartbreaking to lose to them 1-0 but this time we scored a run and pulled through.

“Even though we made a few errors here and there our defense pulled together.” 

Haighley Kissee went the distance in the circle for Manteca, allowing just four hits before the two in the ninth. She struck out five, walked three and hit one.

The Timberwolves loaded the bases with no out in the sixth and Kissee struck out the next two batters before third baseman Sierra Martinez pulled in a line drive to end the Sierra threat.

“This was some very good softball,” Buffaloes coach Josh Farris said. “They are a very good team over there and that girl in the circle (Walljasper) is pretty darned good. The first time this season we ended up on the good end and the second time we didn’t.

“Like I told the girls, both teams played good softball. We would have liked to have won it, but we will look forward to the rest of the week and moving on into the playoffs.”

With four teams making the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs from the VOL and East Union undefeated in league play, Manteca is in second place with its 9-3 record with Oakdale and Sierra tied for third at 8-3. The Buffaloes have two games left – at home against Weston Ranch Wednesday and on the road with East Union on Friday.

The Timberwolves host Oakdale on Wednesday, travel to East Union on Thursday and travel to Kimball on Friday.


Southern League

Ripon Christian 14,

Gustine 4 (5)

RIPON — Madison DeGraaf went the five innings for the Knights in the Southern League contest, allowing just two hits while striking out six with no walks. 

Ariel VanderWoude had a double to lead a balanced Ripon Christian attack that included singles from Elizabeth Thomas, Madison DeGraaf, Kelly Engel, Morgan Van Elderen, Emily Van Vliet, Katie O’Leary and Sarah Brown. 

According to Knights coach Lenny Rizzutto, this win clinches a playoff slot for Ripon Christian, the first trip to the post-season for Ripon Christian (8-3 SL, 15-7 overall) in 15-20 years. 



Manteca 10, Sierra 5

The visiting Buffaloes bounced back from a 3-0 first inning deficit for the win.

Alyssah Harnden pitched six innings for Manteca and got seven strikeouts for the win.

Allanah Harnden was 2 for 3 with three RBI, a double, triple and walk to pace the Buffaloes. RaeLene Finley (2 for 3, triple, run) and Ella Washburn (1 for 2, three runs, two walks) rounded out the Manteca attack. 

Sophia Schmiedt was 2 for 2 with two doubles and two runs scored for the Timberwolves. 


East Union 13,

Central Catholic 9

Cali Bronder-Blevins had the big bat for the Lancers (8-2 VOL, 19-4-1 overall) on Friday, going 

4 for 5 with RBI, a triple and four runs.

Bradee Jeffery (2 for 4) homered with East Union with Nadia Cardona going 3 for 4 with two runs and Marcella Hansen going 2 for 3 with three RBI and two runs.