Sometimes you play the cards you are dealt, and that is exactly what Ripon Christian did Wednesday when the No. 3 Knights drew 11 walks and were hit three times while notching just six hits on the way to a 16-3 five-inning mercy-rule win over sixth-seeded Rio Vista to open the Sac-Joaquin Section Division VII baseball playoffs.
“We had 16 free runners,” Ripon Christian coach John de Visser said, adding in the two of the errors the Rams committed. “We only had six hits but it’s just tough when you don’t get many opportunities to swing the stick. And you can’t go outside of yourself either.
“If they’re going to give us free bases we’re going to take them. It’s not called hitting it’s called baseball and we score with runs. All you’re trying to do is not make an out. If they’re going to present you an opportunity to get on first base you’re going to take it.”
Eli Terpsma went 2 for 3 with two RBI and two runs for the Knights (19-6).
“This game was a little different,” Terpsma said. “You just have to keep the same approach and not try and get too far ahead of the ball.
“I always work a center field to right field approach and when you get a pitch in the zone you have to capitalize on it.”
Ripon Christian’s Justin Severson scored three times, walking twice and singling in a run.
“I’m just trying to take the center out of the ball and get base hits,” Severson said. “It worked out for me today.”
Dustin Hoekstra reached base four times for the Knights, singling in and scoring a run while walking three times.
“I just didn’t change my approach at the plate,” Hoekstra said. “We knew there was a tight strike zone so we just kept the approach of looking for strikes and not chasing outside the zone.
“We were able to get walks and get a few hits.”
Ripon Christian’s Micah English took the mound in the third inning with two across, the bases loaded and one out. English struck out the first batter he faced, walked the second and then induced a groundout to end the inning.
English walked two more batters and finished with six strikeouts and no hits in 2.2 innings before the mercy rule kicked in. At the plate, he singled in a run, scored two and walked twice.
“Obviously I was mad about the walk to that second batter,” English said. “We pick each other up and that’s what I was trying to do when I came in.
“I just go in there and throw strikes. I think that’s important for a pitcher and things just went our way today.”
In a three-run third, Emmett Medders singled in Joey Bowers for Rio Vista (8-7). Medders scored on a bases-loaded walk and Ryan Zamarippa came in on a bases-loaded hit batter.
The Knights travel to Woodland Christian on Monday at 4 p.m. to begin a best-of-three semifinal series.