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Indians advance in section play

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Ripon’s Mikaela Ferreira hauls in a throw Saturday in a 5-2 win for the Indians over Mariposa in quarterfinal action of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division V playoffs at Arnaiz Field in Stockton.


POSTED May 22, 2017 12:30 a.m.

STOCKTON – Sometimes, it pays to read the rule book.

With No. 2 Ripon trailing 2-1 in the bottom of the sixth Saturday and runners on second and third with no out, No. 3 Mariposa requested to put Mikaela Ferreira on first with a direct intentional walk, throwing no pitches. 

Indians coach Robert Vernon protested and forced the Grizzlies to pitch for the intentional walk. Two wild pitches and one batter later Ripon had four more runs on the way to a 5-2 win in quarterfinal action of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division V softball playoffs at Arnaiz Field. 

With Mariposa (25-4) rattled that Ferreira had to be pitched to, the Grizzlies threw a pair of wild pitches allowing Lilly Mejia and Hoku Lee to score to give the Indians (21-4) a 3-2 lead. Ferreira was finally walked only for Shay Furtado to hit one out, plating Ferreira and capping the scoring at 5-2.   

“Part of our scouting report on them is that if you get a little aggressive on the base paths they will get a little bit rattled,” Ripon coach Robert Vernon said. “And reading the rulebook helps too – I read that intentional-walk rule 11 and one-half years ago.

“All year long they have probably been putting girls on like that. My big deal was to have them pitch and maybe the ball would get away because they probably don’t practice it. That happened not once but twice.”

Ferreira hit a solo home run in the fourth to draw the Indians within 2-1. 

“I really wanted to hit in the sixth,” Ferreira said. “There were runners at second and third with no outs and it was a 2-1 ball game and you want to hit the ball in that situation. 

“But the fact that they wanted to walk me made me feel kind of good.”

In walking Ferreira to get to Furtado, Mariposa gave Furtado a chance to make up for earlier difficulties.

“It felt really good because at the beginning of the game I was kind of struggling to make contact,” Furtado said. “We were all kind of in a tough situation at the start but then we came through with the girls scoring on the wild pitches and then our bats kicked in.”

Lillian Dillard went the distance in the circle for the Indians, allowing just four hits while striking out three with two strikeouts coming in the last inning. 

“During the first couple of innings I was struggling with my pitches,” Dillard said. “But then I took a deep breath and talked to my teammates and they really picked me up. It was such a great team environment I felt they had my backs so I really wanted to get theirs.

“By the time the last few innings came around my change-up was working so I started going to it like every three pitches. That’s how I struck those last two girls out.”

After being a pitch away from losing the section championship in 2016, Ripon made a miraculous comeback to claim the blue banner. When the Indians were down in the sixth, Vernon invoked that memory to his team.

“I told the kids that for those who were not on this team last year that miracles do happen,” Vernon said. “And to just keep believing and keep trying to stay positive because good things happen.”

Ripon faces top-seeded Escalon Tuesday at 5 p.m. with Mariposa awaiting the loser to follow at 7:15 p.m.

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