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Manteca pitching, defense solid in VOL victory
Mantecas Alex Jorgensen slides to second base under Sonora infielder Justin Payne, who throws to first for a double play. - photo by HIME ROMERO

Manteca’s pitching and defense were lights out Thursday.

Jake Corn and Jeremy Vaughn combined for a two-hitter, and the Buffaloes cruised to a 9-1 Valley Oak League victory against visiting Sonora.

“Jake was doing his thing,” Manteca head coach Gene Ballardo said. “I felt like the game was in hand, so I went with Jeremy to get him some more work.

“(Corn and Vaughn) just threw strikes and got it done.”

The junior Corn got the start for Manteca (6-0 VOL, 12-3 overall) and went four solid innings. He didn’t give up any hits or runs and threw nine strikeouts with just one walk.

The Buffaloes’ bats helped them to a seven-run cushion after just three innings.

Sophomore Carter Denton of Sonora (1-5 VOL, 9-8 overall) got the start. The Wildcats rested their standout Ryan Stevenson, who lost 7-0 at home against Manteca earlier this week.

“We’ll never pitch a kid back to back,” Sonora coach Scott Johnson said. “We know who we are. We have our ace and then we have to whole staff it. That’s what we did today.”

Denton and Ryan Dills allowed Manteca to score its nine runs on just nine hits.

Sonora’s defense committed a handful of errors and overthrew several balls that allowed Manteca to get on base and even across the home dish.

“Hey, if we don’t have a couple passed balls and a couple of misplayed balls, we’re right in it,” Johnson said. “(Manteca) is solid – one of the best coached teams in the VOL.

“They play together as a team, and you can kind of see that’s the difference between them and us.”

Manteca certainly looked like a VOL contender – maybe more.

William Buddy Reeder (1 for 3) gave his Buffaloes the early 2-0 lead with an RBI-single that scored Dominick Pisano. Ezequiel Diaz scored Manteca’s initial run on a passed ball.

Diaz also made it 3-0 with a fielder’s choice-RBI that scored junior Joseph Menzel.

Manteca, which defeated Sonora for a second time in three days, pulled away in the third frame.

Corn led off the inning with a stand-up double. Menzel brought him across home with an bases-loaded RBI after Sonora recorded its third error in that inning. Alex Jorgensen added a fourth run for Manteca after crossing the plate on a bad throw to third by the Wildcats catcher Kyle Wolfe.

Lucas Vaughn registered a two-RBI double that went to the warning track to make it 7-0.

 “Honestly, I was a little disappointed,” Ballardo said. “We came out flat today. We can’t stress enough that we can’t do that. I know we won handily, but any given day a team can beat us.

“We’re hoping to make the playoffs, but we have bigger goals than that.”

Jeremy Vaughn (two hits, three strikeouts, two runs) entered the game in the fifth and retired the side in two straight innings. After Manteca’s Nick VanWarmerdam hit an RBI that scored Jorgensen, Ryan Sumrall tallied an RBI that scored Logan Newcomb in the bottom of the fifth.

Sonora avoided the shutout with a run in the seventh as Luke Johnson tallied an RBI single that scored Justin Payne to make up the final.

Manteca will resume play at home against Lathrop on Tuesday at 4 p.m.