LB clinches mat title at Sonora's expense

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Sonora High School won four matches by pin, but couldn't match the overall strength of Los Banos in a 47-24 Valley Oak League wrestling loss last night at Bud Castle Gym.

Pins by Andrew Ramirez at 140 pounds, Joel DePaoli at 152, and Jex Baldwin at 160 drew Sonora (5-6-1, 3-2-1 VOL) to within 21-18 after Los Banos (6-0 VOL) jumped to a 15-0 lead.

The Tigers won the next five matches, three by pin and two by major decision, to salt away the victory and wrap up the dual-meet championship that Sonora shared with Oakdale last year.

Ramirez finished Jesus Garcia at 4:40 of the third round, DePaoli put away Willie Santos with four seconds left in the first round, and Baldwin did away with Bryan Sousa at 3:02 of Round 2.

"Our seniors were dominating," Sonora coach Jon Abernathy said, referring to the Ramirez-DePaoli-Baldwin triumvirate that has been the strength of the Wildcats all season.

Sonora's fourth pin came in the final bout, in which 112-pounder Nick Blume caught Steven Giron 22 seconds into the second round.

Mike Royce nearly pulled an upset for Sonora at 125, but lost 9-5 to Marcos Magana. Royce just missed pinning Magana, who is ranked No. 4 in the Sac-Joaquin Section, in the third round.

Los Banos opened with a pin by Andrew Souto at 119 and then got consecutive decisions from Magana, James Castro at 130, and Danny Castaneda at 135. After Ramirez's pin for Sonora, Mike Nichols of Los Banos pinned Josh Moyle at 145.

Following the DePaoli and Baldwin pins, Los Banos pulled away on pins by Darren Nunes at 171 and Josh Olivas at 189, a major decision by Jesse Babb at 215, a pin by Bob Dicochea in the heavyweight bout, and a major decision by Josh Amaro at 103.

Sonora concludes the regular season Tuesday at second-place Oakdale. After that comes the VOL Tournament on Feb. 15 at Buhach Colony in Atwater.

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The Union Democrat
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