RIPON — Ripon’s Sydney Thomason was two errors away from carrying a perfect game against visiting Manteca into the seventh inning Friday, only to see two errors in the seventh and a timely hit from Peyton Faias help the Buffaloes to a 3-2 Valley Oak League win.
“We were down to our last out,” Faias said. “So I knew I had to at least get the ball in play.”
Trailing 2-0 after six innings, Mohrgen Kissee led off the seventh for Manteca (3-5 VOL, 6-6 overall) with a bunt single and took second on an error. She stole third and then came home when Kiana Briseno’s infield grounder was misplayed to draw the Buffaloes within 2-1.
Madisyn Bridewell was hit by a pitch with two outs, and Briseno and Bridewell moved to third and second with steals. Faias then belted a two-RBI double to put Manteca ahead 3-2.
“They did a good job of keeping the game close and giving themselves a chance to win,” Indians coach Robert Vernon said. “That is what I have preached to our kids and they put a couple of balls in play and we didn’t make plays and what we saw is the end result when you don’t make plays.
“It’s hard to watch as good a job as she (Thomason) did pitching today and not come away with the win. It was a little bit frustrating. We can’t worry about this too long because we have to get ready for Kimball on Thursday.”
Nayellys Torres went the distance in the circle for Manteca, striking out nine and allowing seven hits. Where Thomason was snakebit by untimely errors, Torres had outstanding defense behind her anchored by Ariana Lowery and Kiana Briseno.
“I trusted my defense,” Torres said. “I knew they had my back. The outfield was great.
“The outfield chased down and caught some balls that could have been doubles. I am glad they were out there helping me.”
Buffaloes coach Josh Farris gave his outfield a lot of credit for the win.
“Our outfielders have done a great job for us this year,” Farris said. “Two of them are our captains out there and the third one will be our captain next year. Coach Ken (Menasco) does a great job of getting them into position, but they go make plays. They are fast out there and they chase those balls down. They have been saving our bacon a lot this year.”
Thomason finished with 11 strikeouts and just two hits, striking out the side in the first and third innings and retiring 15 in a row from the first into the sixth inning.
“Sydney is incredible,” Farris said of Thomason. “We have faced her a few times and I know her a little bit personally. She is a competitor.
“She doesn’t have the velocity of other pitchers but she knows how to pitch. She knows how to work her fastball outside and inside and along with her changeups she baffled our hitters for most of the day. You have to give her a lot of credit.”
Thomason was 2 for 3 with a run and was robbed of extra bases in the fifth when Lowery plucked a line drive that was headed for the left-field fence. She gave Ripon (4-6, 3-6) a 1-0 lead in the fourth inning when she drew throw to third on Kimberly Hern’s sacrifice bunt attempt and the throw sailed into left field, allowing Thomason to scoot home.
Hern picked up a two-out walk in the sixth, took second on a passed ball and came home on a single by Alexis Brush (2 for 3, RBI) for what appeared to be an insurance run.