RIPON — Jack Mayer went the distance for Ripon on Friday, striking out eight while walking none as the Indians downed visiting Weston Ranch 2-1 in non-league baseball action.
“We got a lot of help from the defense,” Mayer said. “I was in the zone my off-speed was working, everything was working.
“I thought I located well and my catcher (Jerry Nix) caught a good game.”
Mayer retired the last 11 batters he faced.
“Mayer came out and shoved again,” Ripon coach Jon Manrique said. “I feel that is our strong point with our two starters (Luke) Petker and Mayer. Petker didn’t allow any runs the other day even though he only had to go four and one-half innings and Mayer came out here today against a good team. They had a couple of balls that were hit really well but Mayer just battles.
“This is what we expect from him and he didn’t even have a walk and had eight strikeouts. As a coach you can’t ask for more than that from your starter.”
The Indians (3-2-2) weren’t the only ones with solid defense. Carson Henry walked to lead off the Ripon fourth and bolted for second on a perfectly executed hit-and-run by Jacob Gahm. Weston Ranch right fielder Manuel Rubio thought differently though, cutting down Henry at third with a laser throw to Austin Cappas.
Gahm took second on the throw to third and was able to come home when while taking third on a wild pitch the throw to third got into the outfield, tying the score at 1-1.
“I was just trying to get the runner over to give him a better chance of scoring,” Gahm said. “I was looking for a fast ball on the outside and that is what I got.
“When I took third I probably shouldn’t have gone. I thought the ball was going to kick away from him but it went to him instead. It ended up working out with the bad throw.”
Weston Ranch (5-3) took a 1-0 lead in the fourth when Ryan Tinsley laced a one-out triple to the left-center fence and came home on a single by Cappas.
“It was a good baseball game,” Cougars coach David Hager said. “There were a couple of hiccups along the way but it was pretty much played clean.
“I thought we had an opportunity to get some runs across early in the game but you have to give credit to that kid who pitched (Mayer). He pitched his butt off and there is nothing bad to say about that kid. They took care of the ball and got the timely hit when they needed to and we just couldn’t get that second run across.”
That timely hit came in the fifth inning when Riley Machado hit into a double play that allowed Donny Cooksey to score from third to put Ripon ahead 2-1.
The injury bug forced Manrique to shuffle his infield
“One of our starters twisted his knee the other day at it swelled up pretty well,” Manrique said. “We have had to configure our defense a little differently moving infielders around and the boys really stepped up.
“We didn’t really know what to expect from it since this was the first time we were rolling with it. Usually Mayer is one of our solid infielders but of course with him on the bump we were kind of desperate for whoever we had and they did a great job.”
In just his second start at first base for the Indians, Colby Bacon made a big-league play in the seventh inning. Cappas led off the frame for Weston Ranch with a hard-hit grounder to the right of Bacon when Bacon was able to knock the ball down and flip it to Mayer covering first for the first out. Mayer struck out the next two batters to end the game.
“I saw it was going into the gap and I told myself I had to get it,” Bacon said. “Then I had to get it to first as soon as possible.”