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den Dulk drives in GW run in 8th; RC avoids sweep

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POSTED April 27, 2010 2:08 a.m.
RIPON — It was virtually two different games bunched up into one in the final regular-season meeting between Ripon Christian and host Ripon Monday.

“It looked like a track meet at the beginning,” Ripon coach Mitchell Evans said. “Then the pitchers decided to show up.”

Reliever Steve Vander Molen emerged as the steadying influence for Ripon Christian, as he threw six scoreless innings for the win, and Arie den Dulk drove in the game-winner with an RBI double in the eighth to cap off Knights’ wildly-entertaining 9-8 victory.

Vander Molen allowed a leadoff single in the bottom of the eighth, but the runner was out at second while trying to stretch the hit to a double. Ripon Christian (6-3Trans Valley League, 11-16 overall) got the final two outs in routine fashion to stay in a second-place tie with Modesto Christian, but there was nothing routine about the start of the contest.

Ripon Christian banged its way to a 7-1 advantage after its first two turns at the plate, but Ripon (5-4, 8-12) exploded for a seven-run rally in the home half of the second to take the lead.

Sam Van Vuren singled, Ryan Durrer clubbed an RBI double and Matt Ratto drove Durrer in with a base hit to keep the no-out rally alive. The Indians took advantage of three walks and two errors for the rest of the scoring.

Then the game took on a different look with pitchers suddenly taking over.

David Knell threw scoreless innings of relief for Ripon, and sophomore Jake McCreath took the loss after four innings of work.

Ripon Christian tied the game in the sixth. Robert Hull drew a leadoff walk, stole second and scored on the same play after the ball caromed off his leg and rolled into left field.

Aaron Fay, who was 3 for 3 with three runs, plated the game-winning run after leading off the extra inning with a double. den Dulk finished 2 for 4 with four RBIs.

Ripon, after beating its rival decisively in their previous contests, 10-1 and 7-0, missed out on an opportunity to sweep the Knights while putting itself in a better spot for one of the three postseason spots.

“We’re still right there in the thick of things, we were able to take two out of three from a very good team,” Evans said. “The TVL is going to come down to the very last week and the very last game.

“All we can do day in and day out is put forth our best effort and see where the chips fall in the end. We’ve played tough all year long, and today it would have been easy to roll over.

“I’m proud of the way the kids stuck to it, but give credit to Vander Molen; he came in, kept the ball down and got us to hit a lot of groundballs.”

— Jonamar Jacinto

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