RIPON — Lenny Rizzuto has lifted Ripon Christian’s softball team to new heights in his four-plus years as head coach, but missing from the resumé is a win over Southern Athletic League juggernaut Mariposa.
He and the Knights checked that box on Thursday.
Elizabeth Thomas slugged a late two-run homer to help put it away, while Madison DeGraaf tallied eight strikeouts in their 8-4 victory. Mariposa (2-1, 6-3 overall) had won 10 straight against Ripon Christian (2-1, 6-3) and now trails first-place Waterford in its quest for a fifth straight league championship. The last time RC knocked off the Grizzles was back on May 1, 2013, a 5-4 upset.
“We’re excited,” Rizzuto said. “Our defense was stellar and made a lot of good, tough plays. Mariposa is no slouch.”
Thomas started her productive day at the plate with a game-tying RBI single in the first inning. The Knights went ahead for good in the same inning after Morgan Van Elderen knocked in the go-ahead run with a fielder’s choice. Ripon Christian tacked on three more runs in each of the fifth and sixth frames to build a commanding 8-2 lead.
Thomas finished 4 for 4 with four RBIs. Van Elderen contributed two hits and two RBIs. Sarah Brown and Ariel Vander Woude plated two runs apiece.
DeGraaf went the full seven innings from the pitcher’s circle, giving up three earned runs on nine hits and two walks.
Beyer 12, Lathrop 1 (6)
LATHROP — Paige Fisher struck out the side in the sixth and final inning, finishing with 10 strikeouts for the visiting Patriots (1-1 Western Athletic Conference, 4-4 overall).
Beyer broke it open with three runs in the third, four in the fourth and three in the sixth, taking advantage of passed balls, walks and errors along the way.
Lathrop (0-3, 2-8) scored its lone run in the bottom of the fourth. Joselyn Hurtado reached with a one-out single, and freshman Alina Fuentes drove her with a hit to right centerfield.
Lathrop 3, Ceres 0
LATHROP — The Spartans (6-0, 16-0) took a big step toward capturing their first WAC championship after repelling Ceres 25-23, 25-17, 25-19 in the second of three matchups between the league’s top two clubs.
“This one puts us in a good position for the next time we play them,” Lathrop coach Heather Anderson said. “Had we lost, every match would be a must-win.”
Gabriel Gutierrez powered Lathrop with 14 digs, seven aces and 14 digs. Tyler Riggleman complemented him with 11 kills, two aces and 14 digs. Setter R.J. Carmesis distributed 25 assists. Adrian Corona (three kills, two aces) and Sergio Tapia (three kills, two blocks) were other key contributors in the attack.
Central Catholic 8, East Union 1
MODESTO — Tarunjit Singh swept the No. 4 singles match against Ryan Wagner 6-0, 6-2 for East Union’s lone win.
No. 2 doubles partners Matthew Mendoza and Aaron Mosley threatened to force a third set but were swept, 6-1, 7-5.
Lathrop 2, Ceres 1
LATHROP — Lathrop (4-0, 6-1) pulled out a 23-25, 25-22, 15-5 comeback victory.
Tory Sumbler led the way with 16 assists and eight digs. Arman John hammered eight kills and three aces to go with 14 digs. Diego Sanchez-Castaneda anchored the defense with 21 digs.