STOCKTON – Nicole Kaiser performed like she had a ticket to play Division I softball on Thursday.
That’s because she does.
Ripon’s University of Loyola Marymount-bound senior finished 1 for 2 with a walk while playing solid defensively at shortstop. However, the Indians just couldn’t muster any RBIs offensively during a 4-0 loss against Marysville in the opening round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division V tournament at the Arnaiz Softball Complex.
“We just left everyone on base and no one came in clutch,” said Kaiser, who batted .500 during the regular season. “We had a couple of good hits. But with one or two outs, no one could do anything -- no heroes.”
Senior hurler Tressa Arostegui was the hero for Marysville (22-5-1). Arostegui went the complete game and tossed eight strikeouts with one walk. Her change-up was working well and Ripon (9-3 Trans Valley League, 19-8 overall) failed to get any runs across the plate despite its seven totaled hits.
“Our goal all along was to try and make playoffs,” Ripon head coach Robert Vernon said. “Last year we didn’t make it on the last game of the season (by losing) against Orestimba. This year we made it (here) by beating Orestimba, so that was very gratifying.
“I told them once we got here anything can happen. Sometimes you just have to tip your hat to the other team. We played clean. We didn’t make any errors. But (Arostegui) kept us off balance.”
Marysville struck first during the bottom of the opening inning. Marysville junior Brina Buttacavoli singled and eventually crossed the plate on a Morgan Welch inside-the-park home run. Ripon junior Melanie Wilkerson hustled and charged the ball with an attempt to make a diving catch that resulted in the Indians’ early 2-0 deficit.
“What can you say…they were better than us,” Vernon said. “We didn’t get that two-out hit, but we battled and we weren’t hanging our heads about being behind. We stayed close and we had our opportunities, but we just couldn’t make an adjustment.
Ripon left eight runners on base including two hanging on the bags in the second, fourth and sixth innings. Freshman Cara Brown (2 for 2) had a single in the second and fourth and got on with an error in the sixth.
Sophomore Darian Vandermaaten (2 for 4) finished with two singles and junior first baseman Taylor Vernon also finished with a single. Kaiser finished with a hit as did sophomore outfielder Kattya Calderon. Kaiser’s hit was in the sixth inning to lead off the frame. Her shot went up the 5-6 hole, but Marysville closed out the inning with routine plays that eventually eliminated the Indians from the tournament.
“It’s disappointing,” Kaiser concluded. “But since I’ve been here all four years we never even made it to the top of the (TVL). We were always fourth or fifth place. So like, just to get here was kind of cool. No one even knew of Ripon, but to make it here to the playoffs was our goal.”
Marsyville scored its final two runs in the bottom of the fifth frame. Sophomore Jami Sexton connected with an RBI-single to score Ajza Matta to make it 3-0. Arostegui made up the game’s final with a sac-fly that brought freshman Cassidy Clavelle across the dish.
Freshman Danielle Sperry had five a strikeouts and no walks while scattering six hits from the pitcher’s circle for Ripon.