RIPON – Ripon High took advantage of everything the Lathrop Spartans gave them, capitalizing on several late-game Lathrop miscues in a 9-7 preseason victory for the Indians Friday.
Ripon (1-2) used a strong pitching effort from starter Scott Robison and timely hitting from Sam Bennett to hold off the Spartans for its first win of the season. Robison did a good job keeping the Spartans off balanced, holding them in check through the majority of five innings of work.
“Scotty threw a lot of really good pitches and kept the ball in the yard and kept us in the game,” Ripon head coach Mitch Evans said. “He kept their bats quiet for the most part and didn’t allow a big breakout inning.
“I was really proud of him, he did a good job.”
Lathrop (2-1) fell behind early, heading into the top of the fifth trailing 6-2. The Spartans responded, collecting back-to-back RBI singles from Jared Weiler and Preston Rizo to cut Ripon’s lead to one. Lathrop would not be able to keep it close, assisting to a 3-run Ripon fifth inning with a pair of costly errors.
“We gave them a lot,” Lathrop head coach Randy Baltazar said. “We had one inning where we just had a mental breakdown and started throwing the ball all over the yard. You cannot do that against a playoff caliber team. We gave them four unearned runs and if you cut that in half, it’s a tie ball game and we’re still playing.
“You have to give credit to Ripon, they played catch and didn’t throw the ball around and we did.”
Lathrop had little trouble putting the ball in play, finishing with three players with multiple hits, but its defensive inconsistencies will continue to hurt Lathrop no matter how productive they can be offensively.
Weiler went 2-for-4 for Lathrop as did Mikey Pereznegron (2-for-4, walk, run). Rizo led Lathrop with a 3-for-4 day at the plate, driving in a run in the loss.
Ripon will look to continue to build on the win when they host the Sonora Wildcats Tuesday at 3:30 p.m.
“We’re a young team with a lot of sophomores and a lot of juniors,” Evans said. “And to learn how to play being in front is almost as important as learning how to play from behind.
“Today we learned how to play from in front.”