The Timberwolves held on Wednesday for a much-needed Valley Oak League win to defeat visiting Manteca High.
Sierra (4-1 VOL, 9-5) weathered a near comeback in the final frame by the crosstown rival for the 6-5 victory.
“We knew there would be no quitting (for the Buffaloes),” said Timberwolves coach Jack Thomson after his team surrendered four runs in the top of the seventh.
Manteca (3-4 VOL, 11-6) had been held in check by Sierra starting pitcher Jesse Babauta through the better part of five-plus innings.
“He did a good job keeping us off balance,” said Buffaloes coach Neil MacDannald of Babauta, who scattered four hits while pitching deep into the game.
Down 6-1, the Manteca offense finally came to life.
“We gave three walks and an error that led to those four runs,” Thomson said.
Kenji Breitenbucher led off with a walk followed by a base hit by Ferrin Manuleleua. Zach Chamberlain, who nearly hit into a double play, instead reached on an error.
With the bases loaded, Alex Gouveia and Kyle Rachels drew run-scoring walks. Gino Campiotti, who was the starter for Manteca – he allowed two hits while fanning seven over four innings – delivered a two-run single to left, trimming the deficit to a run.
Jaden Pina then came in to close out the game.
“He came in and threw strikes,” said Thomson, who used three pitchers in that final frame.
MacDannald wasn’t thrilled at his team’s play early on.
“We made too many mistakes and they managed to tack on runs,” he said.
Sierra jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning.
Chase Sperbeck led off with a walk, stole second and advanced to third on an error.
The run was produced by a two-out infield miscue.
The Timberwolves added two more runs in the fourth, taking advantage of a two-base error. Babauta, who drew a lead-off walk, and Jacob Peterson were in scoring position with no outs. Hunter Frisk then delivered the two-run single to left.
The Buffaloes scored in the fifth only to see Sierra answer back with two runs in the bottom half of the frame.
“At least we fought back,” MacDannald said of his team’s last ditch effort.
Manteca will travel to Central Catholic today while Sierra will take on Kimball.