LODI — Zach Culp smacked the first pitch deep to left field for a double for El Dorado in Wednesday’s Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV baseball playoff opener against Manteca.
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That hit, one of three for the Cougars, wasn’t enough for El Dorado, which fell to the Buffalos, 6-0, at Zupo Field.
The next three El Dorado batters struck out, leaving Culp stranded. In the second, Michael Green reached on an error, moved to second on Ryan Rodriguez’s grounder and went to third when Nick Bonniksen got on thanks to another Manteca error. But Buffalo pitcher Jacob Corn (13 strikeouts) struck out a Cougar batter for the third out.
“We’ve faced the same pitcher three years in a row, and we know he’s very good,” said El Dorado head coach Rusty McDonald on Corn. “(First two innings) was the big turning point in the game. A good pitcher like that, you have to take advantage like that.”
The Cougars’ other hits came in the third and seventh innings. Matt Smith singled to right field with two outs and Rodriguez singled to left field in the final frame.
Manteca, which won the Valley Oak League title, scored its runs in the bottom of the first, second, fourth and sixth innings. The Buffalos finished with 11 hits.
El Dorado ends its season with a 21-7 record, and finished third in the Sierra Valley Conference to earn a playoff berth.
“Being 21-6 before the playoffs is a great season,” McDonald said. “Almost any coach would take that.”
Contact Mike Bush at 530-344-5079 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @MBushMtDemo on Twitter.