One day after winning its first game of the season, the Tokay High baseball team was looking to keep that good-feeling momentum over to Tuesday.
The Tigers put themselves in that position against Manteca in a non-league game at Zupo Field. But the visiting Buffaloes stampeded to a 10-1 win over Tokay (1-11), which trailed only 2-1 after five innings.
“It was the first game that I felt I was in a good high school game, which is an improvement for us,” said Tokay coach Pat Macfarland. “We’re still growing, we’re still very young.”
Tokay scored its only run of the game in the fifth. James Haynes walked and moved to second when leadoff hitter Cade Campbell also earned a free pass. Now with runners at first and second with one out, Tokay’s Ryker Henne put down a perfect bunt single down the third base line that moved Haynes to third and Campbell to second.
The bases were loaded for the Tigers’ Ryan Lew, who singled to left field. That sent Haynes to touch home plate for the run with two outs. But the Tigers’ fortunes stopped at the next batter, who struck out to end the inning.
Then Manteca (8-4) took over the rest of the game in the top of the sixth inning. The Buffaloes had five hits that included a double to the left field corner by Zach Todd. Manteca also benefited from a hit batter and Tokay opting to intentionally walking leadoff hitter Alex Gouveia, who scored twice in the game. By end of the inning, Manteca had an 8-1 lead.
Tokay continued to battle in the last two innings. In the bottom of the sixth, Kolton Fernandez singled. He stayed at first base but was thrown out at second on a fielder’s choice by teammate Colby Baker, who reached first base. But two fly outs ended the Tigers’ chances.
Manteca scored its final two runs in the top of the seventh inning off three hits; one each from Angelo Nunez, Nathan Gutierrez and Gouveia and another hit batter in Dominic Day.
Another fielder’s choice in the bottom of the seventh gave the Tigers another glimmer of offensive hope; pinch-hitter Bryant Neuvert walked. But he was thrown at second when Campbell reached first base on the fielder’s choice. Lew, who was hit in the bottom of the third inning, took another one for the team. But the game ended on a fly out to left field.
Tokay finished with six hits and nine runners stranded on the base paths — with two of the four were in scoring position before the Buffaloes scored six runs in the sixth.
Manteca, behind the pitching of Perez, Nathan Gutierrez and Dylan Gross, held the Tigers to six hits. The Buffaloes had 11 hits, but five coming in the sixth.
“Our pitcher threw strikes,” said Macfarland of starting pitcher in Baker, who pitched 5 1/3 innings. “He got the ball and threw it quick, so our defense was on their toes.”
On Monday, Tokay posted a wild 13-12 win over Weston Ranch of Stockton. The Tigers had 12 hits and nine walks.
Today at 4 p.m. — weather permitting — Tokay plays at Bear Creek in a non-league contest. Weather forecasters are calling for heavy rain to hit the region today, going into Thursday.
Contact Mike Bush at email@example.com. Follow on Twitter: @MBushLodiSports.