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Ripon loses ground in heated TVL race
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RIPON — With only two postseason spots available to the Trans Valley League, Ripon’s first of two dual matches with defending champion Escalon Thursday came with major implications.

The four-way race to the title, which includes Modesto Christian and Ripon Christian, was made a little more clear, for the time being, with Escalon escaping Spring Creek Golf and Country Club with a 212-221 victory.

The Indians (3-2, 5-2 overall) produced two of the best individual scores, with freshman Andrew Bonner sharing medalist honors with Escalon’s Austin Jackson-Cardoza with a three-over-par 39. Josh Richter added a 40 for Ripon.

The difference, however, was Escalon’s strong play up and down the lineup, with no individual scoring worse than a 44.

“I have to give (Escalon) credit. If they get better than bogey golf from all six of their guys they’re going to win all of their matches. That’s just good golf,” Ripon coach Chris Musseman said.

Nick Mendonca played bogey golf, finishing with a 45. Matty Gay and Zach Capel had a 47 and 50, respectively, to account for the rest of Ripon’s score.

Adam Zolezzi, Donavan Gardner and Matt Jones each scored a 43 for Escalon, with Jeremy Jimenez bringing up the rear with a 44.

“Bonner and Richter got the job done, but we have too much inconsistency after that,” Musseman said. “If we can’t fix that we’re going to have a hard time getting to the postseason.

“I have to remember that the kids are all either real young or new to competitive golf. We’ve been doing pretty well for what we have.”

Ripon will next compete in the Bear Creek Invitational Monday at The Reserve at Spanos Park in Stockton, which should give the Indians good preparation for the first of two league tournaments.

The first TVL tournament is on April 13 at Diablo Grande Golf and Country Club in Patterson.

— Jonamar Jacinto