Ripon momentarily kept its playoff hopes alive Tuesday thanks to a 5-1 victory over visiting Hilmar, but another game in Newman ultimately knocked the Indians out of contention.
“We did our part,” said Ripon High varsity baseball coach Marc Ortiz. “But now we need other things to happen (in our favor).”
The Indians were praying for Orestimba to beat Hughson twice this week’s Trans Valley League action while aiming to complete the sweep today in Hilmar. Instead, Orestimba — coming off last week’s sweep of the Indians — were upset 10-1 by Hughson Tuesday.
Ripon (6-5, 14-11) was placed in the must-win situation after a tough go last week. Twice, they battled out of two bases-loaded situations against the Yellowjackets (4-7, 9-13) including a big break in the sixth inning.
Behind 3-1, Hilmar attempted a squeeze play with no-outs and the bases juiced. Ripon fielded the bunt by Seth Burke – later ruled foul – missing the runner at home while throwing wildly to first.
“That would have been two runs (for Hilmar) right there,” Ortiz said.
But Indians starting pitcher Caleb Rogers came back to fan Burke for the first out. He then got a force out at home thanks to a comebacker and got of the frame unscathed with a strikeout. “Caleb was stellar in getting out of that jam,” his coach later said.
Ripon then made Hilmar pay dearly for that missed opportunity by tacking on a pair of runs in the bottom half of the inning.
Brandon Rodriguez’s leadoff double coupled with Michael Ysit ensuing hit set tables for Claudio Santos, who delivered a two-run single.
The Yellowjackets drew first blood in the third when Jordan Ahid opened with a base hit to right. A walk and single – in this case, a nicely placed bunt – by Ryan Olivera loaded the bases. Ahid scored when Breck Smith drew a walk.
Rogers got out of the inning with just one run by striking out the next three batters.
Ripon tied the game at 1-1 on Fotios Jordanoglou’s ground-rule RBI double to plate Trent Murphy, who delivered a one-out double to right one batter earlier.
In the fourth, Scott Robison put the Indians by scoring on an error. He had a leadoff single, stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch.
Ripon made it 3-1 on Nick Price’s run-scoring single to center, delivering home Murphy, who opened the fifth inning with a base hit.