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Ripon wins opener; draws Hughson next

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POSTED May 15, 2014 12:31 a.m.

STOCKTON – The Ripon High Indians will play another day.

They earned it with a 7-3 win over Argonaut in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division V softball playoff opener at Arnaiz Field. On top of that it was the first postseason game for Ripon in quite some time, according to coach Robert Vernon.

“We made the playoffs last year (for the first time since 1996) but we didn’t win a game,” he said.

In the nightcap, the Indians fell to Calaveras 8-4.

“We battled and I’m proud of my girls for that,” Vernon said. “But the bottom line is that (the Redskins) outhit us.”

His team will play Hughson at 5 p.m. Friday at Arnaiz.

“It seems as if every year the section title goes through Hughson. I’m really surprised to see them on this side of (the losers’) bracket,” Vernon said.

This will be the third meeting for the two teams.

Ripon (20-5-3) is expected to rely on the one-two pitching punch of MacKenzie Gauden and Danielle Sperry.

Gauden came out strong against Argonaut.

She had seven strikeouts while scattering seven hits before yielding to Sperry in the sixth inning. By that time, the Indians had a 7-2 lead.

They were helped out offensively by Darian Vandermaaten, Mikaela Ferreira,Taylor Vernon and Felicia Ceja, who all collected hits early on.

But it was mostly aggressive baserunning coupled with miscues by Argonaut that gave the edge to Ripon, which scored twice in the second, third and fourth innings.

Argonaut battled back in the final two innings to make the game interesting.

Ripon closed out the game with Ferreira coming up with the unassisted double play at third.

Without much of a break between games, the Indians were in an early hole against Calaveras.

“I don’t think playing back-to-back games like that made much of a difference,” said Vernon. “These girls play travel ball. They’re used to playing four games in one day in the heat of summer.”

Behind the pitching of ace Megan Walters, the Redskins appeared to have the game under control, sporting a 7-1 lead in the fifth.

Ripon scored twice in the home half of the frame following a leadoff walk to Karla Calderon. Melanie Wilkerson reached base on an error. Both scored as a result of mental mistakes by Calaveras.

In the sixth, Vandermaaten had a two-out RBI single, scoring Ferreira, who reached on a lead-off single.

The Indians threatened again in the seventh only to be denied on a game-ending double play at first.

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