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TVL title eludes Ripon Christian

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TVL title eludes Ripon Christian

Ripon Christian starter Robbie DeVries kept his Knights in contention with five innings of solid work in the Knights' TVL deciding loss to Escalon Wednesday.


POSTED May 13, 2010 2:35 a.m.
RIPON – The chances of Escalon starter Brandon Shaw, knowing Ripon Christian was a win away from their first Trans Valley League championship in school history, are pretty slim. Nonetheless, Shaw did everything he possibly could to keep the Knights in search of their first one, going the distance in a 7-1 Escalon win Wednesday clinching the league title.

Ripon Christian could find no answer for Shaw, who struck out six and took a no-hitter into the final inning. Ripon Christian’s Clayton Prins took care of the no-no with one swing, depositing a Shaw fastball over the leftfield fence for the Knights’ only run.

“He pitched well for them today,” Ripon Christian head coach John DeVisser said. “He throws from a couple of different arm angles and he’s got a little bit of movement on his fastball.

“He just threw a lot of strikes, and they made a lot of good plays behind him.”

The Knights (11-4 TVL, 16-7overall) got an above average start out of hurler Robbie DeVries, who kept his Ripon Christian teammates in their title hunt for five innings, surrendering just two runs until Cougar Trey Balber tightened Escalon’s grasp with a monstrous two-run homer in the top of the fourth.

“Robbie threw great for us,” DeVisser said. “He wasn’t getting knocked around which was a good sign for us. We got the breaks against them yesterday, they got the breaks today.

“That’s just baseball, but I thought that we competed well.”

Ripon Christian would have had to perform near perfection to keep the Cougars from pulling down their second consecutive TVL title. Balber proved to be the bat to worry about, outshining the core of the Cougar lineup with a 4 for 4 showing from the eight hole.

“The chemistry on this team is probably the best that I have ever had,” Escalon head coach Greg Largent said. “And it’s just because we don’t have to rely on just one guy. Our catcher Trey had four hits today and it’s nice when your eighth-place hitter can do that.

“We don’t really press or get nervous, and that’s not easy to do especially after yesterday they got us.”

Escalon (13-2, 21-3) shored up the league’s No. 1 seed, giving the Cougars a Sac-Joaquin Section Division V opener against the Mother Lode League’s No. 2 seed. The Knights will kick off the postseason with a challenging contest against the Western Athletic League’s No. 1 seed.

No matter the squad, Ripon Christian will have its hands full if they plan on advancing to the division V championship at Tony Zupo Field in Lodi May 31. The second season begins now, and another loss in their next contest would cost the Knights more than a TVL title.

“Luckily I had some of these guys with me the last time we were there,” DeVisser said. “Four or five of these guys were on my team two years ago when we were in the playoffs, and these guys have played a lot of playoff basketball, so they know what to expect when we get there.

“We just have to stay loose and play our game and nothing changes. It is still going to be a baseball game.”
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