Manteca gift wrapped four first-inning runs for East Union on Thursday but got them all back when it was two outs from losing via the mercy rule.
The host Buffaloes put up five runs in the fifth inning to stop the bleeding, and the Lancers held on for an 11-6 Valley Oak League softball win.
“Our defense did not come out very big,” Manteca coach Corey Navarro said. “But we were hitting the ball well and sooner or later they were going to fall. We came back that inning when we were down 10 and we didn’t give up. We kept battling and our defense started picking it up.
“Hitting three girls in that first inning — hit by pitch, a walk and an error gave them four runs — and then in the fourth making mistakes that we did caused us to chase big time. Our defense didn’t play well, but our bats kept us in it.”
Sierra Martinez (3 for 4, home run, two RBI) got the Buffaloes (4-3 VOL, 10-6 overall) on the board in the fourth inning with a solo opposite-field home run. She added an RBI single in the fifth as did Rhiannon Genilla and teammate Haighley Kissee chipped in a two-RBI single in the frame as part of the five-run Manteca fifth.
“After we fell down with our fielding, we knew that we needed to come through with our hitting if we wanted to succeed,” Martinez said. “And we all came together and took it upon ourselves to hit and get back into the game.
“I told myself that I needed to go with her outside pitch and not try to hit home runs every time.”
Lancers coach Brian Goulart anticipated that the Buffaloes would make a run.
“That was our usual one bad inning against Manteca,” Goulart said. “It’s tradition. I am glad that Manteca tested us. I told the girls that we have had enough shutouts and putting it on the other team. I didn’t want to lose the game, but I am glad they fought back. I guarantee you Oakdale is going to play us way tougher than that and we have to get ready for that game.
“I admit it – I thought we had them. So I subbed in and did all the things you should do when you are up by 10. So good for them. I look forward to playing them next time. It should be fun.”
The only at-bat that Lancers leadoff Michelle Castro did not reach base was her first when East Union put up four runs in the first inning. She finished 4 for 5 with a double, three runs and two stolen bases.
“My job is to get on base,” Castro said. “My mentality is just go get on. It doesn’t matter if it is a home run, base hit or a walk.
“I am thinking to just get on, get on, get on, because I know the girls behind me are going to get on. That is how we work together.”
The Lancers (5-0, 13-0) took advantage of two errors in the fourth inning to add four more runs for an 8-0 lead. Deja Guzman singled in a run in the frame and Taylor Ward (2 for 3, two RBI, double, two runs) doubled one in. Ward was hit by a pitch in the first inning with the bases loaded, plating Guzman.
“I knew she was coming inside to almost every batter,” Ward said. “So I just waited on that pitch and took it to left.
“We came out strong in the first couple of innings, but our defense got a little shaky in one inning. We are going to come back strong next time.”
Sam Owen singled in two runs and Alejandra Rascon hit in one in a three run fifth for East Union.
Sierra 11, Kimball 5
Devi Coglio went 4 for 4, drove in three runs and hit for the cycle, while pitcher Madisyn Anchundo went the distance in her first start for the Timberwolves (5-2, 8-2). The junior arrived from East Union and sat out the first 30 days of the season per CIF transfer rules. She struck out six while giving up eight hits and two walks.
“We wanted to see what she could give us,” Sierra coach Vic DeAnda said. “We have a nice 1-2 punch with her and Lindsey (Walljasper) and it’s going to help us later down the road. This was a chance to get her some pitching time and give Lindsey a little bit of a rest.”
The offense gave Anchundo room for error after a three-run homer by Samantha Sarmiento put Kimball (2-4, 2-12) ahead 3-2 in the bottom of the second inning. Kendelle Messersmith (2 for 3) and Maddie Penner each smashed two-run homers in the third inning, and Sierra never trailed from there. Kiara Baleva added two hits, as the Timberwolves totaled 13.
Ripon Christian 10, Delhi 9
The Knights (1-3, 4-7-1) escaped Delhi with their first league win of the season, scoring four runs in the sixth to jump ahead for good. The Hawks (2-3, 2-9) led 7-4 after four innings.
Katie O’Leary pitched a complete game for the win, registering five strikeouts. She also had two hits and drove in three runs. Nikki Berghorst added a two-run triple while providing solid defense at second base.
East Union 18, Manteca 5
Azucena Mendiola knocked in three runs for the Lancers, going 3 for 3 with a double and a triple.
Brianna Garcia doubled for East Union and Celeste Herrera had three strikeouts for the Lancers.