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POSTEASON: Ripon Christian faces defending D-VI champ tonight in SJS baseball final
Manteca, Ripon both on the road for softball semis
SJS Playoff ADV
Ripon Christian catcher Josh Buffalow looks to throw to first for the double play after forcing out Argonaut’s Hayden Lawton at the plate during their Sac-Joaquin Section Division VI semifinal opener on May 13. - photo by SEAN KAHLER

 Ripon Christian’s baseball team is in a familiar spot but will face an unfamiliar opponent tonight in a clash between two Sac-Joaquin Section champions at Islanders Field.

Second-seeded Leroy Greene Academy (22-4) of Sacramento will defend its Division VI title starting at 6. It’s the first-ever meeting between the two teams.

Ripon Christian (22-8), seeded fourth, won the Division VII championship last year at the Lathrop-based ballpark but has moved up after after winning the outright Southern Athletic League crown. The Knights are coming off a competitive best-of-three sweep of No. 8 Argonaut. Grant Sonke hit a walk-off single lift RC to a 4-3 win in the opener, then bashed two home runs in Game 2 before the Knights surged away late, 14-6.

Greene Academy took care of No. 3 Vacaville Christian with 14-4 and 5-1 victories. The Lions are riding a 14-game winning streak. Their last lost came on April 3 to Vanden, 8-2, and they went on to run the table in the Sacramento Metropolitan Athletic League.

Drew Perry, an uncommitted two-way prospect, leads Greene Academy. The 6-foot-5, 225-pound first baseman/outfielder has the eighth-most RBIs in the state with 41, 18th most runs scored with 43 while hitting for a .506 average, .615 on-base percentage and 1.000 slugging percentage. He also accounts for six of his team’s 14 home runs and once hit two grand slams in one game during his junior year.

On the mound, the Perry is 8-1 in 10 appearances with a 2.00 ERA, 58 strikeouts and 22 hits and 34 walks given up in 42 innings.

Senior shortstop/pitcher Korey Ramson has a .549 batting average in 16 games played with two homers, 25 RBIs and 15 steals. As a pitcher, he is 6-0 with a 1.42 ERA and 44 strikeouts over 29 2/3 innings.

Senior infielder John Gould (.470, 23 steals, 27 RBIs), junior catcher/OF Eddie Ames (.411, 46 runs, 25 steals) and junior OF/P Lamont Buford (.325, 33 runs; 3.99 ERA, 43 Ks) are other Lions standouts.

The winner earns a berth to the California Interscholastic Federation Northern Regionals beginning on May 28.

Also today are the SJS softball semifinals. The championship games are set for Saturday at Cosumnes River College. Here’s glance at what the remaining area clubs are up against:

Division III

Manteca (17-7) at Oakdale (20-6): The No. 6 Buffaloes are in the semifinals for the first time in

SJS Playoff ADV
Riley Ward gets fired up at second base after hitting a double during Manteca’s Valley Oak League home game against Oakdale on April 11. - photo by Wayne Thallander
program history.

They’re looking to avenge their two Valley Oak League losses to the second-seeded Mustangs, but this traditional rivalry has been one-sided for a while. Manteca has not beaten Oakdale since doing so twice in 2017, and the Mustangs won the next 13.

The Buffaloes were competitive if their two defeats, 4-0 and 3-1, against the VOL co-champs this season. Oakdale is anchored by their outstanding battery of Pacific-bound catcher Presley Barnes (.423, four HRs, 19 RBIs) and pitcher Raegen Everett (.333, 19 RBIs; 17-4, 1.24 ERA, 194 Ks, 135 innings)

The Mustangs galloped past No. 15 Patterson 7-2 and No. 10 Vista del Lago 2-0 in the first two rounds, while Manteca eked out a 2-1 win over No. 11 West Park in the opener before stunning third-seeded Pioneer, 5-2.

Division IV

Ripon (17-5) at Central Catholic (19-7): Ripon pitcher Kharime Caratachea is in the semifinal round for a third straight year, but she’d like to make a first appearance in the title round before heading to San Francisco State.

In the way are of the Raiders, who won the SJS and NorCal titles Division III last season. They may no longer have ace pitcher Randi Roelling, now at Cal, but CC has been a top-10 team in the Section all season, according to MaxPreps ratings.

Central Catholic has rotated between three underclassmen in the circle: Stephanie Garcia (12-1, 2.86ERA, 50 Ks), Emry Couch (4-0, 1.93, 14) and Amaya Gustavis (3-4, 3.76, 35).

The Raiders remain explosive offensively with freshman Samantha Nichols (.564, six HRs, 31 RBIs), Jazmine Roberts (.452, three HRs, 29 RBIs) Madison Harrison (.420, two HRs, 19 RBIs) and Taryn Calderon (.389, six HRs, 17 RBIs) leading the charge.