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Escalon ace produces no-no vs. Ripon

Indians hang tough until 10-run, fifth-inning flurry

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Escalon ace produces no-no vs. Ripon

Ripon leadoff hitter Alissa Vickers prepares to lay down the bunt.

JONAMAR JACINTO/


POSTED March 27, 2009 4:55 a.m.
RIPON — Ripon needed to play a perfect game just to keep up with Trans Valley League frontrunner Escalon, and for four innings the Indians were close.

Escalon ace pitcher Caitlin Brooks got all the run support she needed with Kattie Schmidig’s solo blast in the second inning, but the her offense broke it open with a 10-run fifth — aided by a pair of two-out errors — to run away with a 12-0 victory in five innings Thursday.

Brooks kept Ripon’s hitters off balanced throughout, striking out 12 in her fifth no-hitter of the season. She did allow three base runners to reach: Rachel Rodriguez and Samantha Conway via walks, and Samantha Conway with a bean ball.

“That’s a good ballclub,” Ripon coach Robert Vernon said. “They’re one of the best teams in our section and we’re rebuilding.”

Ripon (2-3, 5-6 overall) didn’t seem intimidated through four innings, and pitcher Kendra Contente, one of six sophomores on the team, showed no signs of distress after giving up Schmidig’s home run.

Brooks drove in Escalon’s second run with a no-out single in the fourth, but Contente quickly put out the fire with two runners on.

“She has pretty good poise out there — nothing rattles her,” Vernon said. “She had a pretty good performance there leading up to the fifth inning. I’m fortunate this year to have two solid pitchers in Kendra and Kirsten Mortimer.”

There was no stopping the Cougars (5-0, 15-1) in the fifth, when Samantha Lorigo sparked the big rally with a leadoff triple. Schmidig kept it alive with a two-run double, and Noelle Bellino drove in two more with a single to make in 9-0. Bellino had three RBIs in her two at-bats in the inning.

Casey Schmidig’s two-run double to left put the mercy rule in play.

The Indians were solid on the defensive end until the fifth, as six of the 10 runs scored were unearned.

“We just have to keep plugging away at practice,” Vernon said, “work on fundamentals, work on situational things and get healthy. That’s the important thing.”

Starting second baseman Paulina Ceja injured an ankle during Tuesday’s 6-3 win over Riverbank.

Ripon kicks off the second round of TVL action next Tuesday against visiting Hughson.

“Despite the score, we’re playing much, much better as a team, and that’s the direction we want to head,” Vernon said. “I told the girls not to hold their heads down, because they’re competing at a completely different level than we have the last two years.”

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