STOCKTON — Ripon Christian High took on familiar Waterford in Friday's Sac-Joaquin Section Division VI playoff game at the neutral Stagg High field.
The Knights (19-6) defeated their Southern Athletic League rival, 7-3.
"We 100 percent sure they would strike back after our early lead," said RC coach Jon deVisser of the Wildcats, who did just that during an earlier meeting in which they scored five in the top of the seventh inning and won it in eight, 6-5.
The two teams split in their earlier meeting during league play
The Knights face the winner of the Mariposa-Golden Sierra game in the winners-bracket semifinal scheduled for 7 p.m. on Monday. Ripon Christian and Mariposa are co-champs of the SAL.
Ripon Christian opened the scoring against Waterford (14-12).
Dale Fisher led off the second inning with a double. He advanced to third on Brock Nunes' bunt single, scoring on a sacrifice fly to right by Joseph DeBruyn.
Small ball by RC helped set up a big third inning.
Will Gilbert drew a new-life walk — his foul popup was dropped and he made the Wildcats pay by insisting the four-frame.
He moved to second on Drake Nelson sac bunt. Noah Lingley and Declan Van Vuren followed with back-to-back RBI doubles.
Infield errors by Waterford kept the inning alive for RC, with Nunes' hit plating Caleb Terpsma to make it 5-0.
The Knights added a run in the fourth. Lingley, who drew a two-out walk, scooted to third on Van Vuren's double down the line, scoring on a wild pitch.
Waterford made some noise in the sixth by cutting the deficit in half, 6-3.
Frank Casale's RBI single followed a sacrifice fly by Ruben Rios. Michael Vivo got the three-run frame going with a lead-off walk.
RC squeezed out another run in the home half of the sixth, loading the bases with Lingley scoring on an infield miscue.
On the mound, Lingley pitched efficiently.
"His pitch count was at 48 going into the sixth," said deVisser, who saw his team's defense falter a bit during Waterford's three-run rally.
The Knights ended the game with catcher Ian Vrieling throwing out a runner at second. Gilbert at short registered the final out.