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Knights snap 30-game losing streak in league
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RIPON — Senior ace Sarah Nieweg took her final bow, and freshman Katie Thomas gave Ripon Christian a promising glance into the future as the Knights ended both the season and a 30-game Trans Valley League losing streak with a 10-4 victory against rival host Ripon Friday.

Coincidentally, Ripon Christian’s last conference win came exactly two years prior to Friday’s contest and against the same team.

“We got better, that’s for sure,” said first-year Ripon Christian coach Rick Faria. “It was just a matter of learning how to win, and today they put it together. They didn’t quit all season and believed in themselves.”

Nieweg was nails from the circle after errors allowed Ripon to tie it at 4 in the bottom of the first inning. She finished with nine strikeouts to no walks, and four of the seven hits she gave up came in that opening frame.

She also put her defensive skills on display, as she recorded seven assists and fittingly caught the final out of the game off a pop up.

Ripon (3-12, 9-15 overall) threatened to score just once following the first, but Nieweg shut down the Indians’ no-out rally, in which they had two runners in scoring position, with two 1-3 assists and a strikeout.

“Sarah is a warrior,” Faria said. “She is just a flat-out warrior. Despite all the losing, she continuously comes out and asks for the ball. That tells you a lot about the kid.

“She wants to win but she never complained. It was always positive for her all year, and what a way for her to finish it off.”

Thomas, meanwhile, did the most damage from the plate for Ripon Christian (1-14, 2-23), going 3 for 5 with two steals and four RBIs.

Thomas anchored RC’s four-run first with a two-RBI double, and she drove in two more to give the Knights the lead for good in the second. She also plated the final run in the inning.

Janeen Viss had two RBIs in her 2-for-3 effort, Nieweg finished 2 for 5 and April Heckman contributed an RBI double.

“She is an up and coming star,” Faria said of Thomas, his leading hitter for the season. “She had somewhat of an off day today but in the last three weeks she was on fire.”

Caryn Lake, Kendra Contente, Briana Hardesty and Paulina Ceja each had an RBI single to highlight Ripon’s first-inning flurry.
— Jonamar Jacinto