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BASEBALL: Ripon Christian edges Ripon in pitcher's duel
Jay Hoekstra's sac fly in sixth inning the difference
Bulletin sports 2020-21
Ripon Christian's Eli Terpsma steals second as Ripon's Korbin Hodgson (4) awaits the throw. - photo by GARY JENSEN/

RIPON — Ripon Christian’s Jay Hoekstra launched a deep fly ball to right field Tuesday, plating Micah English with the sacrifice in the bottom of the sixth inning for the go-ahead run in a 3-2 win over visiting Ripon in Valley Oak League action. 

“I was waiting so I could sit on that fastball,” Hoekstra said. “I had been seeing it all day. I was waiting to hit it and I knew I had to get my job done.”

Dawson Downs and Chase Stephenson both singled for the Indians (0-5) in the top of the sixth, with Justin Crawford coming in to run for Downs. Crawford scored from third when a dropped third strike was thrown to first and Stephenson on an RBI single by Brandon Molthen (2 for 3, RBI) to tie the score at 2-2. 

“All the credit to them for coming back,” Knights coach John de Visser said. “That’s a good ball club over there. They did not back down. They are well-coached. It was a good ball game. I thought both teams executed pretty well, there is just some concentration stuff we have to clean up.

“We played well for most of the game. He (Will Gilbert) had 59 pitches going into the sixth inning, so he was cruising. It felt good, but the problem is when that happens with a young team they can get a little complacent and take things for granted. Ripon took advantage of that and got back into the game.” 

Gilbert went 6.2 innings, striking out five and allowing five hits – three in the two-run Ripon sixth. In the seventh, Gilbert got a strikeout and a groundout before walking the next two batters who took second and third on a wild pitch. Caleb Terpsma came on in relief and induced a groundout to end the game. 

“Coach gave me a chance to go the distance,” Gilbert said. “I like pitching here. The other guys look at the short fences and get pretty excited, but once they figure out there are 20 miles-per-hour winds coming in over my back they kind of lose their momentum.

“I was hitting my spots and getting up there in my velocity that I have been working on this year. My off-speeds were working and are getting better as the year goes on.”

In the first inning Terpsma walked, stole second and then came home on a pair of wild pitches to put Ripon Christian (2-3) ahead 1-0. In the second inning Eli Terpsma was hit by a pitch, stole second, took third on a Grant Sonke single and scooted home on a delayed steal to give the Knights a 2-0 lead.  

Hoekstra was 2 for 2 with an RBI. English and Joseph DeBruyn each doubled for Ripon Christian.

Molthen went the distance for Ripon, striking out 10 and allowing five hits.

“Brandon Molthen threw a great game for us,” Indians coach Bobby Swedberg said. “But it comes down to the little things. We had guys on and in scoring position, but we were not getting the key hits when we needed them.

“It’s early in the year. We are trying to find ourselves, trying to find our identity.”