Dawson Downs had a monster outing Thursday for Ripon in its twin-bill Trans Valley League baseball opener with Escalon.
The Indians downed the Cougars 8-3 in the first game and 11-0 in the nightcap at Mistlin Sports Park.
While his hitting performance was a combined 6 for 9 with two doubles, two triples an RBI and five runs, Downs pulled a rabbit out of his hat from the mound in the fifth inning of the second game. Escalon (0-2 TVL, 3-2 overall) got its first three runners on board via an error, bad-hop infield single and walk, loading the bases with no outs.
Downs mowed down the next three batters when he induced a pop-up to himself and then tallied back-to-back strikeouts to end the threat. He went six innings and struck out seven, giving up four hits.
“I just had to take a deep breath in the fifth,” Downs said. “I knew my stuff was good.
“I just kind of stuck with my sinker and didn’t try and do too much and it turned out the right way.”
In the first game, Downs was 2 for 4 with a double, a triple and two runs. He picked up in the second game where he left off in the first, going 4 for 5 with a double, triple and three runs.
“I was just seeing the ball well today,” Downs said. “I just tried to stay loose on my last few at-bats, and that’s when I got that triple.”
Carrying a 2-0 lead into the seventh inning of the nightcap, the Indians (2-0, 3-3) took advantage of multiple Escalon walks and errors highlighted by two Downs runs and hits, including his triple.
With a record of 1-3 coming into Thursday, Ripon coach Bobby Swedberg knew his team was better than its record showed.
“With all this rain and weather, we haven’t been able to be on the field a whole lot,” Swedberg said. “We were able to keep it locked in though, keep the kids focused. Our non-league schedule was obviously affected by the rain, but we were competitive in the games we played, our record just didn’t show that.”
Owen Wilbur relieved Downs in the seventh and after hitting the first batter he struck out the next three.
Isaac Sandoval doubled and scored a run for the Indians.
In the opener Joe Brizuela started on the mound for Ripon, going 5.1 innings and striking out six with three hits and a run.
“I felt amazing out there today,” Brizuela said. “It was a lot of fun. The team was electric today and everything went well.
“Everyone was playing good defense and we hit the ball well. It was amazing.”
Wilbur laced two doubles, going 2 for 4 with a run and teammate Renzo Garcia was 2 for 3 with a run.
Cameron Ruiz was 2 for 4 with two runs for Escalon.
The Indians host Weston Ranch at Mistlin Park today at 4 p.m.