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Ripon routs EU with early rally
Indians erupt for 10 runs on 9 hits in 2nd inning
East Union-Ripon baseball
Ripon shortstop Korbin Hodgson gets under the pop-up in the shallow outfield for an out as Nate Martinez provides backup. - photo by SEAN KAHLER

The hits kept coming for Ripon in the second inning of its 11-5 non-league win over visiting East Union on Monday at Mistlin Sports Park.

After giving up two runs in the top half of the inning, the Indians (4-1) countered with 10 of their own and strung together eight consecutive hits during the salvo.

“We came out not playing our best baseball, but they responded,” Ripon coach Bobby Swedberg said. “We had good approaches in that inning. We put pressure on them to throw strikes and play defense and found some gaps and scored some runs. It was nice to get all those runs early.”

Ripon actually had 11 straight batters reach with one out in the second, as Damian Sandoval and Chase Stephenson followed Nate Dorn’s single with back-to-back walks. Ethan Day reached with an RBI infield single, and the floodgates were unlocked from there.

Dawson Downs (2-for-2, walk), the winning pitcher, belted a two-run single and wound up on third thanks to Joseph Brizuela’s double. Korbin Hodgson, Brandon Molthen (2-for-4) and Dorn (2-for-3) kept it going with successive RBI singles. Sandoval (2-for-3) punctuated the rally with a two-run double but was thrown out at third trying to extend it to a triple.

Ripon sent 13 batters to the plate in the second, when it hammered nine of its 14 hits. No. 9 batter Isaac Sandoval went 3-for-3 with two runs and an RBI despite facing three different pitchers.

“You have to swing the bat, and that’s what they did well,” East Union coach Kris Hensley said. “They battled and put the ball in play. They came out swinging, and they wanted this game.”

East Union (3-1) used five different pitchers who combined to walk five batters and hit two. Both of the team’s errors were on pickoff attempts, leading to runs. The defense did turn two double plays to help limit the damage, but both came after Ripon’s game-breaking inning.

“When we got out here we were flat, we could see it as coaches,” Hensley said. “When you come out flat, have poor execution, walks, errors — that stuff never leads to a good outcome.”

Nolan Calmes doubled to lead off the second inning and was driven in by Justin Severson’s single to right. Ryan VanArsdaell reached on an error and scored on a balk, but the Lancers could not take advantage of what was a mistake-filled inning for Ripon.

East Union had a chance to answer Ripon’s 10-run explosion in the third but came up empty-handed after John Perazzo and Jacob Toste led off with a single and double, respectively. The Lancers left 12 base runners stranded in all, nine in scoring position.

Toste later crushed a solo homer in the fifth, finishing 2-for-4. Evan Jeffery (2-for-3, walk, double, run) and A.J. Vasquez (2-for-4, run) also had two hits apiece.

“We left so many runners in scoring position,” Hensley said. “You can’t go down looking with runners in scoring position, you have to put the ball in play and make (the defense) do something.”

Ripon had three pitchers with Downs leading the way. He pitched four innings, struck out four, walked two and scattered five hits.

“Dawson competed today,” Swedberg said. “Probably didn’t have his best stuff, at times, but the defense definitely didn’t help him out there. He probably threw about 25-30 more pitches than needed but got out of it. He wanted to go one more (inning), and he finished strong. Good first start for Dawson, and he’ll only get stronger.”