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Mayers hustle, DeDonatis triple propel Indians
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ESCALON – Sometimes the game of baseball is just about being in the right place at the right time.
In Tuesday’s showdown for first place in the Trans-Valley League at Escalon, Ripon pitcher Jack Mayer blasted a screaming line drive in the second inning that was snagged by Cougars shortstop Zack Abraham.
Then in the sixth inning with the score tied, two outs and the bases loaded, Mayer got jammed on an 0-2 pitch and hit a dribbler down the third base line. He beat the throw to first while Donnie Cooksey scored the go-ahead run. Matthew DeDonatis came up next and laced a bases-clearing triple, and the Indians held on for a 6-3 win at Bob Loureiro Field.
“It’s a game of frustration,” Mayer said of his line shot that was caught. “That’s why millionaires who are the best only go 3 for 10.”
Of his dribbler he beat out for the go-ahead RBI, Mayer said, “Little things like that can change the whole outcome of the game. You always have to run hard.
“I was looking for something middle in and I didn’t get it. I was 0-2 on that pitch and I had to swing at that pitch – it jammed me a little bit and luckily I beat it out.”
The double by DeDonatis plated Mayer, Travis Warra and Sammy Souza.
“I was just in the right place at the right time,” DeDonatis said. “It was a fast ball, middle in. I had to take it to left field.
“It felt juicy.”
The Cougars (2-1 TVL, 7-9 overall) added one in the seventh. Then with the bases loaded and one out Ripon shortstop Travis Warra gobbled up a ground ball, stepped on second and threw to first for the game-ending double play.
Mayer struck out seven, allowed four hits and walked three. With runners on second and third and two out in the fifth, Mayer rallied back from a 3-0 count to tally a strike out for the rally killing third out.
“I have complete faith in my catcher (Angelo Baciocco),” Mayer said. “I think he is the best in the league.
“He mixes up curves and changeups and I thought he called a great game. Fortunately I got those three strikes (in the fifth) when I did.”
Cooksey (two runs) and Nick Price (three runs) were both 2 for 3 for the Indians (3-0, 13-3) with one of Cooksey’s hits and both of Price’s being infield singles.
“You have to be lucky and good,” Ripon coach John Manrique said. “And today we had a mixture of both. (Robby) Rickman is a good pitcher over there – we have faced him for three years – but we pounded the ball into the ground and we have some good speed to beat those out.
“It’s all about setting it up and then Mattie (De Donatis) comes up and lines that one to left and makes us look extremely smart, but rally it’s just catching them at the right time.”
In this Manrique’s third year as coach, this is the only game with Escalon that has been decided by more than two runs.
“This is the first time we have won by three,” Manrique said. “Usually it is really close all the way through and I wouldn’t expect anything different.
“Escalon is coached really well. I think our boys are prepared just as much so every time we face them we are always looking for that exciting game. We know it is not going to be an easy one.”