RIPON — Ripon Christian loaded the bases in the bottom of the seventh inning with no outs Thursday and managed to get two runs across, but the seven errors the Knights committed put themselves in too much of a hole as Orestimba went home with a 4-2 Southern League victory.
“What it really boils down to is lack of focus,” Ripon Christian coach John De Visser said. “All day long.
“No energy, lack of focus, and when you are dealing with kids this young and you get a lack of focus then it leads to this stuff. It’s been happening on and off all year and we have to get better.”
Jadon Vander Molen drew a walk to start the Knights seventh, sending Warriors starting pitcher Mike Garcia off the mound. Dale Fisher was up next and he got hit and was followed by Brock Nunes who singled to load the bases.
Declan Van Buren singled in Vander Molen and Fisher came in on a double play, but that was as close as Ripon Christian (6-4 SL, 10-6 overall) would get.
“He (Garcia) did a great job,” Orestimba coach Louie Dominguez said. “In the second and third innings he got a little wild and got up to around 50 pitches but in the fourth, fifth and sixth he really settled down and started throwing strikes. Those innings really saved our ball game.
With the Knights’ 6-4 win in Newman on Tuesday the two teams split the season series.
“They put the ball on the ground a little more than they did on Tuesday,” Dominguez said. “We were able to get a couple of extra runs today and get that cushion we needed. This time they were playing from behind.
“This was a good series. They are a good team and they have a good program.”
An error in the sixth inning and four in the seventh led to three runs for the Warriors (6-4, 11-9). Two errors in the fourth inning gave Orestimba runners on first and second with no outs. Ripon Christian pitcher Willem Hoekstra induced three ground balls to end that threat.
“He (Hoekstra) had all three pitches going,” De Visser said. “I can put all the numbers up all I want but he has to execute the pitch – and he did.
“For a junior to not get too emotionally involved in the mistakes going on behind him and to just do his job was impressive. He kept executing and didn’t let it get out of hand.”
With four league games left, six teams are in contention for the four SL playoff slots. Mariposa is in first place at 8-2, Orestimba is in second at 7-3, Gustine, Ripon Christian and Waterford are tied for third at 6-4 and Le Grand is in fourth at 5-5.