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Ripon ousted by 3-time defending champ

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Ripon ousted by 3-time defending champ

Tiana Chacon of the Ripon softball team slides across the plate during the Indians’ 3-2 loss against the Sac-Joaquin Section’s Division V defending champion Hughson on Friday at Arnaiz Field in Sto...


POSTED May 17, 2014 1:16 a.m.

STOCKTON – The third inning of Friday’s elimination game in Sac-Joaquin Section Division V softball action with Hughson is one Ripon would like to forget.

Three straight singles by the Huskies – the middle one coming after a dropped foul ball gave the batter another chance – along with an errant pickoff attempt that sailed into left field helped give Hughson two runs on the way to a 3-2 win that ended the season for the Indians.

Despite the sloppy third inning in the field, Ripon (20-6-3) had some solid defensive plays to keep the game close. With Huskies runners on second and third and no out in that third inning, Indians right fielder Tiana Chacon caught an apparent sacrifice fly going away at the warning track. The runner on second had to hold and the runner on third was called out because she did not tag up.

“During the season the hardest ones were the ones that came right at me like that one did,” Chacon said. “So I have been working hard with my teammates on those kids of plays.”

Chacon showed her fielding prowess again in the fourth, forcing a runner at second to hold when she chased down another fly ball.

In the fifth inning with nobody out and a Hughson runner on second, Ripon shortstop Darian Vandermaaten snagged a chin-high line drive well to her left and was able to beat the base runner back to second for the double play. The next batter hit a solid double which would have easily scored the runner from second.

Chacon scored the first run for the Indians (15-7) in the first inning after she singled and stole second. Taylor Vernon singled in Chacon for a 1-0 lead.

With the Indians trailing 2-1 in the fifth, Kattya Calderon led off with a walk and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Chacon (2 for 3, run) laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance Calderon who came in to tie the game on a wild pitch.

Felicia Ceja doubled for Ripon in the bottom of the seventh with one out but two highlight-reel catches by the Hughson third baseman – one on a line drive and the other on a short pop fly – ended the last Indians threat. The Huskies manufactured a run in the top of the eighth and kept Ripon from scoring in the bottom of the frame.

“Before the game we got them together and told them to play their hearts out,” Indians coach Robert Vernon said. “And that is exactly what they did.

“We had a chance there in the seventh and just didn’t come through.”

Friday was Hughson pitcher Courtney Thornhill’s first action since she broke her ankle in a 14-7 loss to the Indians on April 15. The Huskies are also the three-time defending tournament champion going for their fourth straight section banner.

“The doctors cleared her to play,” Huskies coach Rod Cree said of Thornhill. “As for the game, it wasn’t our cleanest effort, but that is how we have been all year – a little on the sloppy side with some of the stuff.

“The girls have a lot of heart and they really battled like crazy to the end.”

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