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ATHLETE OF THE WEEK: Grant Sonke, Ripon Christian baseball
AOW Grant Sonke
Grant Sonke

The junior outfielder put all of his tools on display during the California Interscholastic Federation Division V Northern Regional Championships last week.

In the opening round last Tuesday, May 30, the top-seeded Knights worked through some defensive miscues and came back for a 15-7 victory over No. 8 Firebaugh. Ripon jumped out to a 4-0 lead but trailed 7-4 in the middle of the fifth inning. The Knights answered with 11 unanswered runs, and Sonke had a big hand in it.

With two outs and the bases loaded in the bottom of the fifth, Sonke swung and miss on ball four to make the count full. He more than made up for it on the next offering, drilling it to the left-center field fence for a bases-clearing double that pushed the Knights ahead for good, 8-7.

“I was just looking for the pitch I wanted and that just so happened to be outside the zone,” Sonke said. “When you put it in play, big things can happen. That’s how the game is and what makes it amazing.”

He wasn’t done yet. In the sixth, he capped a seven-run outburst with a three-run shot to right-center field. He finished 2 for 4 with a walk, two runs and six RBIs from the top of the order.

Sonke also did it with the glove, robbing Ryan Luna of a potential multi-base hit with a diving grab in the left-center gap. He later nearly repeated the feat in left-center field but could not hold onto the ball.

“What can you say about Grant?” RC coach John de Visser said. “A bases-clearing double, and then the three-run homer to right-center (field) with the wind blowing in and two diving plays — absolute layouts. He had some amazing reads out there today.” 

Ripon Christian’s run ended two days later in the semifinals against fifth-seeded Lowell, the eventual champion. The Cardinals from San Francisco held on for a 7-6 win. Sonke went 1 for 3 with a run and a sacrifice fly.

Ripon Christian finished 23-8 in its most successful season ever. Sonke posted a team-high 0.455 batting average with four homers, 12 doubles, two triples, 55 runs and 40 RBIs.