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Hilmar knocks Ripon out of playoff hunt in TVL finale
Hilmar-Ripon baseball
Ripon's Damian Sandoval is tagged out trying to steal second by Hilmar's Lane Cardoso (34). GARY JENSEN/

Ripon is out.

Coming into Friday’s Trans-Valley League baseball finale with visiting Hilmar, the Indians found themselves in a three-way tie for second place with the Yellowjackets and Hughson with the Hilmar-Ripon winner advancing to the playoffs and the loser hoping for a Hughson loss.

Hughson did not lose, and since the Indians lost 2-1 to the Yellowjackts, Ripon is out of the playoffs.

“You have to tip your hat,” Indians coach Bobby Swedberg said. “(Jason) Pimentel has been a dude for them all year on the mound. When you run into a pitcher that keeps you off balance that’s huge.

“We were able to get a win on Wednesday, which was huge, and we hit the ball hard today. We had to execute — and we executed — but we don’t control if the ball drops or it doesn’t and today it didn’t.”

Pimentel struck out six, walked none and allowed four hits with just two Ripon base runners getting into scoring position.  

Branden Molthen got one of those hits for the Indians (8-4 TVL, 16-12 overall), scoring Damian Sandoval (2 for 2, run) from second in the bottom of the sixth inning to draw Ripon within 2-1.

“He was throwing great sliders the whole game,” Molthen said of Pimentel. “I never saw a single fast ball.

“He left that last one a little bit high and I was able to bang it out there to right center. He had been throwing them outside and I couldn’t touch it but he left one up and I got a hold of it.”

In the fourth inning, Pimentel (2 for 3, double, two runs) singled and scored on an Indians error to put Hilmar (9-3, 14-9) ahead 1-0. Pimentel doubled to lead off the sixth inning and scored an insurance run for a 2-0 Yellowjackets lead.   

“We had to take care of business today,” Hilmar coach Jeff Brown said. “We didn’t want to leave it in anyone else’s hands.

“So the boys did a great job today — got the ‘W’ when we needed it. I’m really proud of them.”

The Sac-Joaquin Section playoff brackets will be released today with the playoffs beginning on Tuesday.