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History nearly repeated in Ripon’s victory

Weston Ranch splits opening-day games; RC drops to close ones

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History nearly repeated in Ripon’s victory

Ripon second baseman Cynthia Nunes prepares to turn two after forcing out Weston Ranch's Andrea Vega Friday at West High in Tracy.

JONAMAR JACINTO/The Bulletin


POSTED April 18, 2009 3:15 a.m.

TRACY — Weston Ranch’s Angelysa Washington’s blast from the past had Ripon head coach Robert Vernon thinking, “Here we go again.”

But history remained history for Vernon’s Indians, who held off Weston Ranch’s late comeback charge to open bracket play with a 6-5 victory in the Nor-Cal Classic’s Bronze Division Friday morning at West High.

During a preseason game between the two clubs last year, Weston Ranch charged back from an early 4-1 deficit and put together a 10-run rally in the top of the seventh, and Washington powered the Cougars to a wild 13-4 victory behind a 5-for-5 finish with two homers and six RBIs.

On Friday, the Indians took advantage of four errors to mount a 5-1 lead in the fourth, and Washington led off the bottom half with a high-arching jack over the left-field fence. Washington, who went 2 for 3 with two runs, also had an RBI single in the seventh and was driven in by Raquel Barrientos for the game’s final score.

“It was starting to look a lot like last year’s game,” Vernon said.

Weston Ranch’s attempt to at least take it to extra innings was cut short when catcher Paulina Ceja gunned down Andrea Vega on a steal attempt at third.

Weston Ranch pitcher Serena Hernandez was a pitch away from leaving the top of the fourth still ahead at 1-0, but the Cougars committed consecutive errors on Samantha Conway and Briana Hardesty’s grounders.

All five runs were unearned, but the Indians executed textbook softball in the fifth to earn what ended up being the deciding run. Ceja led off with a double, Cynthia Nunes moved her over with a sacrifice bunt and Rachel Rodriguez drove her in with a groundout.

The Cougars had their chances to plate runs throughout, as they left seven base runners on including two in each of the second, third and fifth innings.

“That’s usually how it happens for us — once one thing happens it becomes a domino effect,” Weston Ranch coach Melanie Berezay said of the fourth-inning miscues. “But other than that it was a great game. I was pretty happy with how we played.

“Serena threw a good game for not pitching in a while. She hadn’t pitched since Ceres’ tournament and she came in and did real well.”

Hernandez scattered seven hits and struck out four and also hit 2 for 4 with a double from the leadoff spot. Barrientos finished 3 for 4, and Jerose Salamanca roped a double to left in the third.

Kendra Contente earned her second win of the day from the chalked circle, firing six strikeouts and giving up three earned runs on nine hits. Ceja led the Indians with a 3-for-4 effort, and Hardesty was 2 for 3 with a run.

With only seven teams available in the eight-team tournament (there are 56 total spanning four divisions at four sites in Tracy), there were three out-bracket games to ensure that each team gets four games in.

Weston Ranch split its two contests, staving off Ripon Christian to prevail 11-9 for its first win since beating Valley Oak League rival Sonora on March 25.

Ripon turned in one of its best all-around efforts in its 6-2 win over Delhi, which edged Ripon Christian 5-4 in the bracket opener.

Ripon is now 7-8 on the season, matching its win total from a year ago with three weeks left in the season.

“We’re playing pretty well right now,” Vernon said. “We only made three errors in two games so we’re doing a lot better. We’re definitely going the right direction.”

Hardesty got her first start of the year at pitcher against Delhi, and she threw three innings before Contente took over the final four. They combined for a three-hitter.

Ceja started her hot day at the plate with a 2-for-4 effort with a double and three runs. Vickers was also 2 for 4 with two runs scored, and Nunes finished 2 for 3 with an RBI.  

In the Weston Ranch-Ripon Christian game, the Cougars were ahead 11-5 in the top of the sixth before RC roared back with four in the same frame.

Alexandria Alvarado and Hernandez were both 2 for 3 with three runs. Vega was perfect at 3 for 3, and Washington finished 2 for 2 with a double while plating two runs.

Katie Nutchert highlighted RC’s side with a double, triple and three RBIs. Kerrie Viss and Vanessa Dotinga both were 2 for 3 with a double and a run.

Janeen Viss hit 2 for 4 with a double and two runs in the Delhi game.

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