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Ripon bats coated in magic dust
Indians produce another big win on late flurry
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HUGHSON – Copperfield?


Maybe Penn?

Perhaps Teller?

Somebody check the Ripon High dugout for ringers.

Something magical is happening.

The Indians completed a two-game sweep of Hughson Friday afternoon with an 11-8 victory produced by yet another come-from-behind offensive explosion.
Not only was the win the sixth in Ripon’s last seven outings, but the victory also vaulted the Indians into a second-place tie with Modesto Christian with four games left to play in the Trans Valley League regular season.

“Our bats are very hot right now,” Ripon skipper Mark Whelan said. “We’ve struggled with our defense, but if we can get it straightened out, I don’t think Escalon or anyone can stick with us.”

Colby Gomes (3 for 5) ignited Ripon Friday with a three-run blast in the first inning, and the Indians took a 5-1 lead into the fifth.

But after the Huskies took advantage of a pair of fielding errors and captured the lead with a five-spot in the home half, Ripon, just as it faced five times in Wednesday’s win, was staring down the barrel of an impending loss.

Cue Tinkerbell.

Highlighted by Zach Evans’ bases-clearing double, Ripon sent 11 batters to the dish in the top of the sixth, rapping out five hits and scoring six runs to put the contest on ice an inning early.

Camden Dowhower, who led off the decisive frame, went 3 for 4 with a pair of RBIs.

“The kids showed a determined effort again to take the lead back,” Whelan said.

Hayden Koch got the start and allowed three earned on seven hits through 4 2/3.

Justin Scott collected the win on 2 1/3 innings of three-hit ball.

“We really geared ourselves toward competing in league,” Whelan said. “We scrimmage ourselves and consistently put ourselves in game situations and it’s paying off.”

Ripon (7-4 TVL, 9-9) now faces its biggest test of the season, a home-and-home with Escalon starting Wednesday at Ripon High.

The Indians conclude the TVL campaign a week later against Riverbank.

Modesto Christian (7-4 TVL, 13-9) faces a pair against the surging Ripon Christian Knights before closing with Hughson.

Central Valley 12, Weston Ranch 1 (Thursday)
Chris Fleckenstein got the start and lasted 3 1/3 in the loss.

Michael Piccirilli was 1 for 3 at the dish with a triple and a run scored.

Weston Ranch takes on Sonora next week.

— Brandon Petersen