By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Ripon powers past Liberty Ranch, into D4 semifinals
Liberty Ranch-Ripon softball
Alana Hernandez runs to home plate where her Ripon teammates wait after she hit the go-ahead home run in the sixth inning Thursday against visiting Liberty Ranch. GARY JENSEN/

Ripon High advanced to next week's Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV softball semifinals thanks to some late game heroics Thursday in a 5-1 win against visiting Liberty Ranch.

The No. 4-seed Indians (19-4) defeated the No. 5 Sierra Valley Conference champion Hawks (14-2) by scoring four times in the sixth inning.

Tied 1-1, Ripon, which jumped out to the early lead on senior Caitlyn Campbell solo blast in the third — she had three home runs last week in a non-league game against Big Valley Christian — went ahead 2-1 on Alana Hernandez's lead-off homer over the center field fence.

"All I could think about was my grandpa, who just passed away," said the freshman catcher.

She dedicated the go-ahead round-tripper in his honor.

The Indians were just getting started.

Isabella Racacho then singled, with Abby Stewart taking over on the base path.

One batter later, pinch hitter Cassie Mount drew a walk, putting two runners aboard to set the table for senior Rhylee Magazinovic.

"What I've always wanted to do during my four years here was hit an inside-the-park home run," she said.

That dream quickly became a reality as the lefty Magazinovic delivered a line drive down the right field line, easily scoring Stewart and Mount, who were both sent in motion with two outs.

As for Magazinovic, she raced around the bases, hearing her coach Robert Vernon utter out loudly: "Inside the park, inside the park."

She easily beat the throw to the plate, delivering three runs to give her team a comfortable four-run cushion.

"I told the girls that we had two more at bats (to score)," said Vernon, going into that memorable sixth inning.

He once again received a solid pitching performance from sophomore hurler Kharime 'Mims' Caratachea, who yielded two hits and a walk while striking out 11.

Liberty Ranch tied the game in the fifth. Paitlyn Snow reached base on swinging strike three wild-pitch with one out.

Peyton Hollingsworth then singled and Maile Arter came through with a soft liner for an RBI hit.

Hawks' pitcher Tatiana Blas managed to keep the game close.

Next up for Ripon is No. 1 Dixon, which held off No. 8 Casa Roble in the 6-5 victory. The semifinal game is scheduled for Tuesday.