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Sierra still in postseason contention
Timberwolves senior Stephanie Maestretti turns on a pitch to deep left field for a triple in Sierra’s VOL win over Lathrop Friday.
LATHROP – The Valley Oak League has one of the deepest group of softball teams in the Sac-Joaquin Section, and the Sierra Timberwolves are poised to be one of the league’s representatives this postseason taking another step towards their goal in a 15-0 win over Lathrop High Friday.

The Timberwolves (8-5 VOL, 14-9 overall) rode the dominating right arm of senior ace Gabby Hawkins. Hawkins was brilliant against the Spartans, taking a perfect game into the mercy-shortened final inning before surrendering her only hit.

Hawkins tossed five innings of shutout softball, striking out 13 Spartans on her way to the win. Sierra has no interest in losing focus over the final week of the season, sitting with a realistic opportunity to earn one of three VOL postseason berths to be awarded.

“We are still playing hard because we are mathematically still in this thing,” Sierra head coach Nick Olmo said. “If Oakdale and East Union take care of business with Ceres, and we are able to take care of our final three games, then we are head-to-head with Ceres and we’ve beat them twice.

“We still have to take care of business the last three games, and we need a little help from some friends.”

Daylynn Penner paced the Sierra offensive attack, going 4 for 4 with a pair of homeruns. Hawkins also helped her cause, collecting four hits in four trips to the plate, including two doubles.

Catcher Stephanie Maestretti was 3 for 3 with a triple, two doubles and a base on balls, while Jessica Lewis finished the game 2 for 2 with a homerun.

“Everybody came out and really hit the ball well,” Olmo said. “We just played Central Valley and thy both have similar pitching staffs, so the girls were on it early and they didn’t have to make that big adjustment.

“I was able to get all 14 players in the game in five innings, and that wasn’t easy.”

Sierra will have to help out its destiny, meeting up with Weston Ranch Monday at 4 p.m.

Manteca 7, Central Valley 5
CERES – The Buffaloes cruised out to a seemingly airtight 7-1 lead, only to hold off the surging Hawks and squeak away with a 7-5 VOL victory.

“We just played horrible; it was really horrible,” Manteca head coach Todd Hardcastle said. “We had a chance to blow it wide-open and we couldn’t do it.

“We left runners on base; we’re not hitting the ball hard, we are playing really bad right now.”

Manteca (7-7, 10-10) got seven strong innings from freshman Selena Gonzalez, but will have to continue to improve if they want to close out the VOL season on a high note.

The Buffaloes will play host to the Lathrop Spartans Wednesday, and complete the regular season with a cross-town trip to take on the Sierra Timberwolves.

— Jagada Chambers