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Chacon sparks Ripon in playoff-clinching victory
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Tiana Chacon and the Ripon softball team got their revenge.

Their 4-2 win at Orestimba Thursday clinched a Sac-Joaquin Section playoff berth and erases the heartache of last year’s Trans-Valley League finale against the same Warriors.

The Indians needed to win that game to qualify for the postseason, but Chacon was robbed of a walk-off hit when an Orestimba outfielder made a spectacular shoe-string catch with the bases loaded and two out.

On Thursday, Chacon drilled a two-run homer in the first inning and belted an RBI double in the fifth to finish 2 for 4.

“I’m so happy for Tiana. She came through in a big way for us,” Ripon coach Robert Vernon said. The Indians (8-3 TVL, 18-7 overall) will make their first playoff appearance under the seventh-year coach. He isn’t sure when the school last qualified for softball. Ripon’s last league championship was earned in 1996.

“It’s a tribute to how hard they’ve worked,” he said. “They set lofty goals, and our No. 1 goal was to make the playoffs.”

Freshman Danielle Sperry was 4 for 4 from the plate and recorded a two-inning save from the pitcher’s circle. Cara Brown and Taylor Vernon both went 2 for 4. Mackenzie Gauden pitched the first five innings, yielding a run, two hits and striking out eight.