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EU-Manteca: It just had to be like this
East Unions Ronnie Limas, left, and Manteca first baseman Matt Mueller get to do it all over again in the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs today and Monday after their teams battled to a regular-season split. - photo by Bulletin file photo

When I scribed about my excitement of anticipating covering the “final” meeting between East Union and Manteca High’s baseball teams back on April 29 I knew they’d meet up again.

Ok, maybe I didn’t know, but I surely thought, that if one of those two clubs would finish the season as Sac-Joaquin Section champs, they’d probably have to beat up on one another again.

And ta-da! I was right.

The two Valley Oak League teams will continue their respective paths toward the ultimate accomplishment, but their paths have to walk right over one another’s. I guess if you’re gonna win a section title, it can only be cooler if you knock off your rival along the way.

The first time the two clubs met East Union (16-6) got a solid effort from pitcher Jordan Kron, yet all he could talk about postgame was how much better Kevin Peck was on that particular day.

The two clubs teamed up for another installment of their instant classics, only it was the Buffaloes (18-8) left coping with a heartbreaking one-run defeat. The two clubs teamed up for 15 runs in what was supposed to be their final clash, yet now we know that’s not the case.

Both clubs displayed flashes of utter dominance in their wins Thursday evening. Central Catholic and Galt high’s had good baseball teams, but it just seemed like the VOL boys had been there before.

Dominant pitching, timely hitting, consistent defensively play from the outfield and infield, those are the things that separate playoff teams from champions. Both clubs have it, but I guarantee there will be one minor area that will catapult one team to one win away, and send the other club spiraling backwards, one win away.

First pitch is scheduled for 9 a.m. with game two of the best of three series scheduled to start at 4 p.m. Monday. Game three, if necessary will follow directly after game two.