Payne, clutch hits lift Sonora

The Union Democrat Sports Department

Justin Payne hurled a complete game and Sonora scored four runs with two outs on Thursday to rally over East Union in Manteca 5-3.

Payne, whose longest stint on the mound before Thursday was four innings on March 2, gave up just five hits, three walks and two earned runs while striking out four for his first victory of the season.

"He really kept them off balance," said Wildcat head coach Scott Johnson. "Except for one pitch, he had a really good day. We only expected three or four innings from him, but he said he felt good, and we stayed with him and he got the job done."

The Lancers scored a pair of runs off Payne in the second and added an unearned run in the fourth for a 3-0 lead after four innings.

But the Cat bats got going with two outs in the fifth.

Sophomore Carter Denton singled, sophomore Eric Gilliatt made solid contact and reached on an error, freshman Charlie Dunn smacked an RBI-single, senior Ryan Stevenson roped a two-run double and junior Tyler Helm pushed Sonora in front 4-3 with an RBI-single.

"It was great to see in the fifth inning that two sophomores and a freshman got our rally going," said Johnson. "Our approaches at the plate improved as the game went on."

Sonora (2-6 Valley Oak League) added a single run in the sixth on singles by Ryan Dies, Gino Balestrieri and Kyle Wolfe.

Sonora will next host third-place Kimball (5-3 VOL) on Tuesday at 6 p.m.

The Union Democrat
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