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Contentes one-hitter holds game Lathrop team
Kendra Contente fired a one-hitter in Ripon’s 4-0 non-league win at Lathrop Tuesday. - photo by JONAMAR JACINTO
LATHROP — Ripon played near perfect softball save for poor execution on the base paths on a few plays, but head coach Robert Vernon gave kudos to first-year varsity Lathrop’s defensive effort.

“For a young team they make some plays out there,” he said.

Lathrop did well to hang with the Indians for seven innings but ultimately succumbed to timely hitting and the dominant pitching of Kendra Contente in a 4-0 non-league defeat Tuesday.

“Defense kept us in the game,” Lathrop coach Christina Jones said. “We’re a really young team, and we’ve been focusing a lot on defense just to keep us in these games. We just have to bring our hitting around.

“We only have three juniors on the team and some girls who have never played before, so it’s a building process for us this year.”

Contente fired 12 strikeouts in her one-hit gem but did give up five walks. Jocelyn Castro roped a single to right in the bottom of the sixth for Lathrop’s lone knock.

“For her first time out she did well,” Vernon said of Contente. “She came out of the extended basketball season and didn’t have very many reps. She walked more batters than I would have liked to see, but overall she did well.”

Ripon (2-0) had several chances to spot its pitcher a bigger lead. No. 3 batter Kirsten Mortimer got out on an infield fly with no outs and the bases loaded in the sixth inning, but Rachel Rodriguez drove in two with a single to cap the final score.

Rodriguez also banged out a double and scored on Caryn Lake’s RBI triple for Ripon’s first run in the fourth.

The Indians tried to keep rolling by calling for a squeeze bunt, but Castro faked the throw to first and alertly gunned down Lake at third base.

Mortimer legged out a triple in the sixth and was driven home by Alyssa Gomes. Nicole Kaiser added a double for the Indians.

Lathrop (1-4) also got strong defensive play from shortstop Brittney Rallios and freshman left fielder Jazlyn Simon, who had little softball experience going into the season.

Sophomore pitcher Alicia Erlandson struck out two and walked two.

“I think we came out flat,” Vernon said. “We’re on spring break right now, so with the girls not being at school it kind of takes them out of their routine.

“We’re hitting the ball decent; we’re making a few little mistakes, though.”

 Lathrop will get a chance to exact revenge Friday in Ripon. The Indians will first open Trans Valley League play Thursday with a tough task against visiting Hughson (6-1).