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Manteca Unified standouts big part of comeback win
Manteca High grad Nicole Magnuson gets a head start toward first base while attempting to make contact.

STOCKTON — There’s no tying in softball!

Lydia McDonald made sure of that Thursday night as the sun crept further away from Delta College’s Bucky Layland Softball Complex.

The Weston Ranch product capped the 23rd Annual High School All-Star Classic with the winning RBI in the bottom of the seventh, scoring Manteca High’s Nicole Magnuson. The South team’s 11-10 victory seemed improbable after it was down 10-3 going into the bottom of the sixth.

“I just wanted to end it with a bang and I did. I’m proud of myself,” McDonald said. She likely played her final competitive softball game Thursday, as she concentrates on academics at UC Davis.

The five participating players representing Manteca Unified schools played a big part in the come-from-behind win.

The speedy Magnuson reached on an error to start the home half of the seventh, and she advanced to second on the overthrow. Fellow Buffalo Monique Colunga moved her to third on a sacrifice bunt, setting the stage for McDonald with one out. McDonald rapped a sharp grounder through the right side of the infield. The contact was hard enough for her to get thrown out at first base, but no matter. She turned toward the home dugout and celebrated with the rest of her teammates near home plate.

“It’s nice seeing our girls come up at the end there and finish it off, and it went back to the inning prior,” said Manteca High’s Corey Navarro, who coached the South squad with help from his assistant Glenn Brady, Janelle Bauer of Weston Ranch and Nick Olmo of Sierra.

“It’s what us coaches teach to these girls — work hard and don’t give up. We’re down seven runs today but they never stopped playing.”

It was a much different game than the one Navarro coached with Olmo just two years ago at the University of the Pacific’s Bill Simoni Field. They led the South to a tidy 2-0 win in 2011.

On Thursday, the North club appeared to be on its way to a rout after Stagg’s Vivian Vasquez highlighted a five-run rally in the fifth with a three-RBI blast to straightaway center. Vasquez was named Player of the Game for the North, while Argonaut’s Alysha Dorris (two sac-flies, run) earned the same honor for the South. Both will receive scholarship money for their efforts.

McDonald helped spark the South’s comeback in the sixth, leading off with a walk and plating the first of the seven-run barrage. Later, Sierra’s Elena Flores belted a single up the middle and scored on the second of Dorris’ two sacrifice flies. Gabby Olmo, also of Sierra, drew her third walk and was part of the bases-clearing double smacked by Bret Harte’s Cassidy Davis.

Escalon classmates Marissa Dominguez and Adalia Cajias each roped RBI singles to tie it. They also made up the South’s battery for the entire contest, with Dominguez pitching the complete game.

The all-star event typically lasts nine innings, but following the South’s sixth-inning onslaught the organizers decided to shorten it with daylight quickly disappearing. Gabby Olmo, who plans on continuing her career at Delta, didn’t feel cheated.

“I honestly felt so lucky to just be out here in the first place, and being around an amazing group of girls made it better,” she said. “It was a privilege to be a part of it.”

East Union’s Jillian Costa and Laura Gann were selected to join their former Manteca Unified rivals on the South but did not play.