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Ripon rallies past Escalon

Vernon completes comeback with 2-run double in fifth inning

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Ripon rallies past Escalon

Shayla Da Rosa drops the bat after connecting on a sacrifice bunt attempt during Ripon’s three-run fifth inning against visiting Escalon on Tuesday.

JONAMAR JACINTO/ The Bulletin/


POSTED March 19, 2014 1:05 a.m.

RIPON — The seniors came through for Ripon in its Trans-Valley League opener against Escalon on Tuesday.

Mackenzie Gauden was near-perfect in pitching 4 1/3 innings of relief, and Taylor Vernon delivered the go-ahead, two-run double in the bottom of the fifth to anchor a 4-3 victory.

The Indians (1-0 TVL, 9-1-1 overall) trailed 3-1 before scoring the rest of their runs in the fifth, when they doled out four of their six hits against Escalon lefty Ashley Schurman (four strikeouts, walk). Tiana Chacon, also a senior, contributed an RBI single to the deciding rally for Ripon.

Vernon worked the count to 2-2 before launching a deep flyball that ricocheted off the left-center field fence. Darian Vandermaaten (two runs) and Kattya Calderon sparked the rally with back-to-back, no-out singles.

“It was pretty pressure-filled,” Vernon said of her pivotal at-bat. “There were two strikes and I had to stay patient. I just needed to hit it up the middle and I did so I was pretty happy.”

She and promising freshman Mikayla Ferreira, who reached on a catcher’s interference, were left stranded at second and third after both reached base with still no outs.

Ripon left seven runners on base overall, but it didn’t matter with the way Gauden was pitching. The harder-throwing veteran righty replaced southpaw sophomore Danielle Sperry after Kristin Beckman’s two-run homer gave Escalon its 3-1 lead with two outs in the third. Alexandria Hernandez earlier took Sperry deep for a solo shot in the second.

“It’s a little different (pitching in relief),” Gauden said. “You know that you’re playing from behind and you have to not let that get to your head, and just know that your teammates are going to be able to hit and come through for you.”

They did, just as she came through for them. Gauden retired 13 of the 14 batters she faced. Escalon’s Shurman reached on an infield error at the start of the seventh. Gauden struck out five, as she and Sperry combined for a three-hitter.

Gauden is now 6-0 on the season while improving on her tidy 0.23 ERA.

“(Sperry) is the 2013 Most Valuable Pitcher of the Trans-Valley League that’s why I went with her,” Ripon coach Robert Vernon said. “She left a couple of balls up and at that point in time I thought I had to make a move.

“I’ve got two quality pitchers that can get people out. I’ve said it a million times; our pitching staff doesn’t have a No. 1 or a No. 2. (Gauden) came in and did exactly what I expected her to do, which is shut the door down. They have two different styles and they’re (complementary) of one another.”

Ripon isn’t getting too excited after the big win. Next is a trip to Hughson, where the defending TVL and Sac-Joaquin Section Division V champion awaits. That takes place next Monday with road games against dangerous Riverbank and Orestimba also looming.

“Trust me; I’ve been doing this way too long to take anything for granted in this league,” Vernon said. “But anytime you can get a game ahead of a quality ballclub like Escalon it’s a plus.”

Freshman

East Union 15, Tracy 13

LaEssa Pierce was 4 for 4, and Janika Gomes finished 3 for 3 as the Pages (4-0) edged Tracy in a showcase of high-powered offenses. The team begins Valley Oak League play today against Kimball.

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