High School Sports

They had to win four straight games for a title. One local school did it Monday.

sjansen@mercedsunstar.com

After losing to No. 1 seed Ripon Christian on May 17, the Waterford baseball team needed to win four straight elimination games if the school wanted to win its first CIF Sac-Joaquin Section baseball title.

The Wildcats completed that feat on Monday, beating Mariposa, 10-9 and 4-2 in the Division VI Championship at Klein Family Field in Stockton, California.

“That’s a fabulous team,” Wildcats coach Michael Vivo said of Mariposa. “They were 24-3. You don’t do that in high school baseball without being a good team. It took us playing together to beat them.”

The Wildcats (18-12) beat Golden Sierra (8-2 on May 20) and the Knights (8-6 on May 22) before the two wins over the 24-3 Grizzlies on Monday.

Waterford led 8-1 in the first game and 10-5 in the seventh inning before a couple of errors allowed Mariposa to cut the lead to one but the Wildcats held on to force a second game.

Wildcats junior pitcher Lucas Alaniz threw 20 pitches in the first game and a complete game in the second.

“I could have thrown another 20 innings, maybe 30 if I had to,” Alaniz said. “I was feeling it.”

It was his fourth complete game of the season.

“I had all the confidence in the world in Lucas,” Vivo said. “He’s nails.”

The Wildcats used three hits and a walk to take a 2-1 lead in the first inning. Alaniz doubled in a run in the fifth for a 3-1 lead before Derrick Shaver singled and scored to make it 4-1 if the sixth.

Alaniz coaxed a popout to third for the final out.

“I was trying to throw the ball 500 mph on that last out,” he said. “Luckily, it turned into an out.”

Seniors Frankie Casale and Michael Vivo Jr. and juniors Ruben Rios and Alaniz combined to go 10-for-23 in the two games with eight runs scored.

Vivo Jr. was for 5-for-6 with four runs and three RBIs.

Julian A. Lopez has been covering local sports for The Modesto Bee since August 2018. He graduated from Arizona State in 2016 with a BA in Journalism.
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