Sommer Wilson watched the ball loop toward her, a slow-cruising changeup that finished at the belt.
Then, out of the hand of Manteca’s Peyton Rose, came another.
With a confused look painted across her face, Wilson stepped out of the box, reset her hands and looked down the line at Nick Olmo. Rose wouldn’t throw another … would she?
“I was shocked,” Wilson said following Sierra’s 11-0 victory. “My good eye for the ball came in.”
Wilson drove the third changeup of the sequence over the right-center field fence and finished a triple shy of a cycle, highlighting an offensive barrage by the Timberwolves on Friday afternoon.
Allie Walljasper also homered and Katelynn Perkins drove in three runs as Sierra bounced back from a stunning loss to East Union on Wednesday.
Think that loss carried over into Friday’s game?
“Just a little bit,” Olmo said with a sly grin. “They took it hard. In their minds, they were having the season and then let it slip away. To East Union’s credit, they won the game. We were too lax. This was a team with purpose today.”
Walljasper spun a two-hit masterpiece, baffling the Buffaloes throughout with a rise-drop-outside fastball combination. She struck out 15 batters, including the first five of the game.
“After a loss like that to East Union, we knew Allie would come in here and make her pitches,” Manteca coach Corey Navarro said. “Today, she was on. She had everything working.”
Still, her pitching seemed secondary in this offensive showcase.
Friday’s victory was therapeutic for a Timberwolves attack that chased too many first pitches against East Union and was limited to three hits by Michelle Castro.
Sierra knocked Rose around, scoring 11 runs on 11 hits – four of which went for extra bases – to induce the 10-run mercy rule after the sixth inning.
“We came out guns hot,” Wilson said.
That’s putting it mildly.
Sierra scored three runs in the first on an RBI single by Wilson and a two-run infield hit by Lexi Barnes.
Rose induced a pop-up, but Manteca’s infield was slow to react. The ball landed with a THUD! behind the circle, allowing Kendelle Messersmith and Wilson to score.
The Timberwolves made it 5-0 in the third on an RBI double down the left-field line by Wilson and a bases-loaded walk by Gabby Olmo.
Wilson was just getting started.
The senior second baseman swatted her second home run in as many games, bouncing Rose’s changeup off the wall of the small gym.
“All my hits were on changeups,” said Wilson, who finished 4 for 4 with three RBIs and three runs scored.
Julie Deanda followed with a single and took second on a fielding error in left field. She’d score one batter later on another Manteca fielding mistake.
The Buffaloes committed four errors.
“We didn’t do anything to help ourselves,” Navarro said.
Perkins and Walljasper closed the scoring with a power display of their own.
Walljasper led off the sixth with a laser shot over the right field fence. The solo home run was her third of the season.
Perkins, meanwhile, played in the gaps. She drove an RBI single to the fence in right-center in the fifth and followed that with a two-run double to left-center in the sixth.
“That loss was extremely disappointing,” Wilson said. “We had to take it out on somebody.”
Monique Colunga and Nicole Magnusson had the only hits for the Buffaloes. Both came during the fifth as Manteca loaded the bases with two outs.
Walljasper escaped the jam with a strikeout.
“There’s a lot of season; a lot of games. We’re going to face Sierra again,” Navarro said. “You have to put this game behind you. Forget about it. Throw it in the back of the truck and get back to work.”
Weston Ranch is one win away from playing for a championship at the prestigious NorCal Classic.
The Cougars beat Castilleja (Palo Alto) and Central Catholic on Friday, setting up a regional tilt with Ripon in today’s semifinal round of the Gold bracket.
Arianna Hernandez carried the day for the Cougars. She notched both wins from the pitcher’s circle and helped her own cause in a 5-3 victory over Castilleja with a double, triple and two RBIs
Naomi Thurman was 2 for 2 with two runs and Vanessa Contreras drove in two during Weston Ranch’s 4-2 victory over Central Catholic.
Sierra 14, Manteca 0
Tayler Moss was 4 for 4, Katelyn Teixeira was 3 for 3 and Ariana Cota hit a three-run home run for the Timberwolves.