Sonora earns first VOL baseball victory

April 24, 2003 12:00 am

MANTECA — Sonora High School knocked off Manteca 6-5 yesterday for its first Valley Oak League baseball victory of the season.

The Wildcats (6-15, 1-7 VOL) snapped an 11-game losing streak by building a 5-1 lead and hanging on as the Buffaloes (9-7, 4-3) rallied in the last inning.

"Sooner or later we were going to break through," Sonora coach Mike Silva said. "The breaks finally went our way."

That they did, as Manteca committed five errors and three Sonora runners reached base on mishandled third strikes.

Senior right-hander Justin Hart pitched a complete game, withstanding a two-run Manteca uprising that included three of the Buffaloes' eight hits in the bottom of the seventh. He got the final out on a grounder to shortstop Travis Hendrix with the tying run on first base.

"Justin was hitting the corners all day," Silva said. "And Travis played a great shortstop for us."

Steven Aschenbrenner's solo home run gave Manteca a 1-0 lead in the first, but Sonora tied it in the third when Brent McKenzie walked and scored on a double by Casey Ramback.

The Wildcats went ahead 4-1 in the fourth on a rally that Tommy Grove started with an infield single and Ramback finished with a two-out, two-run, Texas League single to left field. Pappas reached on a missed third strike and McKenzie singled between the Grove and Ramback hits.

Sonora's lead grew to 5-1 in the fifth on a double by Colby Jamar, a sacrifice bunt by Grove and another botched third strike with Pappas at the plate. Jamar scored when the would-be out got away.

After Manteca drew to within 5-3 in the bottom of the fifth, Sonora put a run on the board in the top of the seventh with Jamar reached on an error, stole second and scored on a single to right by Pappas.

The outcome dealt a blow to Manteca's hopes as the Buffaloes are now two games behind league-leading Oakdale in the loss column.