The future is bright for the Ripon and Ripon Christian softball teams, but both clubs enjoyed some success despite their youth this past spring.
Ripon Christian claimed a second straight Sac-Joaquin Section Division VII title, while Ripon proved to be a worthy opponent for eventual Division IV champion Sierra in its jump up in competition for the postseason.
With the team success comes individual accolades. Ripon graduate Shay Furtado leads four Indians (7-5, 15-8 overall) on the All-Trans Valley League team, making the list for a third time.
The San Jose-bound shortstop hit for a .391 average with 23 runs scored, 22 knocked in and a team-best 12 extra-base hits.
Lily Mejia and Sydney Vernon are two-time all-league selections for Ripon. Mejia was moved from center field to third base midway through the season, and the change did little to affect her production. The sophomore hit .466 with 24 RBIs. Vernon, a junior first baseman, finished with a .408 average and drilled seven doubles.
Freshman pitcher Sydney Thomason had a solid rookie campaign, hitting .352 from the top of the order. Her biggest impact was from the pitcher’s circle, and she took on the role as Ripon’s ace midway through league. She finished with a 2.53 ERA and 43 strikeouts in 52 2/3 innings.
Sophomores Bianca Toledo, Mackenzie Hutchinson and Makenna Daley earned honorable mention.
Art Brooks is the TVL Coach of the Year after leading to a perfect run through league. Escalon pitcher/corner infielder Molly Brown and Mountain House catcher Lyric Moore share Most Outstanding honors, Escalon’s Chardae Hoskins is the Most Outstanding Pitcher and Hughson catcher Megan Lutz earned Best Defensive Player.
Featured on the All-Southern Athletic League team are Ripon Christian batterymates Madison deGraaf and Elizabeth Thomas. The two sophomores helped the Knights (11-3, 21-6 overall) place second in the SAL behind Mariposa.
Thomas powered RC’s lineup with an impressive .535 average to go with 12 doubles, two homers and 34 RBIs. DeGraaf contributed a .433 average with 30 RBIs while pitching her way to a 20-4 record, 2.42 ERA and 147 strikeouts in 156 innings.
Sophomores Nicole Chapman and Morgan Van Elderen made honorable mention. The SAL’s major awards went to Mariposa’s Violet Matlock (MVP), Waterford’s Tawni McCarty (Pitcher of the Year) and Mariposa’s Tony Williams (Coach of the Year).