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Manteca Minors narrowly miss finals berth
Garren Genilla of the Manteca 9-10 all stars is safe at second ahead of the tag by Austin Kovacs in an 8-6 consolation win for Salida Blue. - photo by Dave Campbell

SALIDA — Baseball is truly a game of inches.

With the Manteca 9-10 All-Stars trailing Salida Blue by two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning and runners on second and third with two outs, Manteca’s Ethan Johnson poked a fly ball deep down the right-field line. It landed close to the line but drew no chalk, kicking up dirt and a foul-ball call by the umpire.

The game would end with those runners on second and third as Salida Blue eliminated Manteca from the District 67 All-Star Tournament with a thrilling 8-6 win in the consolation final.

The ball bounced Salida Blue’s way to a 5-0 lead going into the bottom of the fourth inning. While Manteca was hitting the ball hard but right at people, the balls that came off Salida Blue’s bats seemed to have eyes on them, finding their way between Manteca infielders.

All that changed in the fourth inning for Manteca. Briggs Alavezos came off the bench to hit a bases-clearing triple and scored when the throw to third was off the mark to draw Manteca within a run, 5-4. The ball continued to bounce Manteca’s way when Isaac Searcy hit an RBI single and took advantage of two Salida Blue throwing errors to come all the way around to score and putting Manteca ahead 6-5.

“We battled back hard,” Manteca coach Jason Genilla said. “I am proud of the boys.”

Aside from the Alavezos and Searcy hits Manteca managed only two other base knocks and they were by Ryan Zimmermann who went 2 for 2 with a walk.