RIPON—Ripon Christian High closed out Southern Athletic League play Wednesday with a 6-0 victory over visiting Denair.
The defending Sac-Joaquin Section Division VI champs, not to mention league champions once again, honored their seniors prior to the game — namely, Brock Nunes, Dale Fisher and John Van Vliet — and went on to forge an early lead against Coyote and pitcher J.T. Smith, who hurled a perfect game against Delhi, striking out 20 of 21 batters in last Friday's 9-0 win.
"It helped that we had the early lead," said RC coach Jon De Visser, whose Knights will again stay at D-VI in this year's playoffs.
Ripon Christian (12-2, 17-6 overall) jumped out, 3-0, in the first inning on Joseph DeBruyn's two-out hit with the bases juiced. Prior to that, RC right fielder Drake Nelson converted the force-out throw to first base to end a scoring threat by Denair (6-8, 6-11 overall) in the top half of the frame.
"That was a four-run turnaround," said De Visser, praising the great defensive effort.
The Knights tacked on another run in the second inning as Ian Vrieling drew a lead-off walk and eventually scored on a wild pitch.
Defensively, RC came up with a few big plays early on including third baseman Nunes fielding a grounder and tagging out the lead runner for the unassisted putout in the third inning.
Plays like that helped Knights' starter Nolan Lingley, who De Visser noted, did a great job pitching to contact while trusting in his defense.
The Knights made it 6-0 in the sixth.
Lingley opened up with a walk, swiped second, moving to third on Declan Van Vuren's fly, and scoring on a wild pitch. Dale Fisher's RBI single delivered home Caleb Terpsma, who walked earlier.
Both pitchers went the distance.
Smith overcame early control issues with a strong effort in the middle innings. He allowed three hits but walked six with two hit batsmen and five strikeouts.
Lingley also fanned five, scattering five hits while walking one to earn the victory. He registered the final out by spearing a come-backer to the mound.
RC will await their playoff seed.
Hughson 5, Ripon 2
HUGHSON— The Indians (6-6, 11-12 overall) closed out Trans-Valley League play with a loss to the Huskies (9-3, 20-4-2 overall) and await their postseason fate.
"We hit the ball hard but couldn't find the holes," said Ripon coach Jacob Rodriguez.
Seth Garza (six innings, five walks, four strikeouts) and Luke Madsen combined to limit his club to four hits. Brandon Rainer accounted for two of those hits. Sean McCann drove in a run.
Ripon is one of three teams — Modesto Christian and Hilmar are the others — that end with 6-6 league records. Livingston and Hughson get two of the TVL’s three playoff spots. Modesto Christian swept Hilmar but was swept by Ripon, which split with Hilmar.