RIPON — Ripon secured sole possession of the Trans-Valley League championship on Wednesday, but Livingston made the Indians work for it.
They rallied for six runs in the bottom of the sixth inning, and sophomore pitcher Sydney Thomason worked a 1-2-3 seventh as Ripon prevailed, 7-5. The Indians claimed their third outright title in six years.
“It’s one of those years where the kids just don’t want to lose and never say die,” Ripon coach Robert Vernon said. “They just battled and battled, and just when you think they’re finished they come back. They’ve done it time and time again.”
Ripon (11-0 TVL, 20-1 overall) previously had trouble with Livingston (3-5, 7-11) mand freshman pitcher Amie Valdez, squeaking out a 1-0 win on the road. On Wednesday, the Wolves jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the third thanks to an RBI single from Denise Aguilar followed by a two-run double from Katelyn Vega Rodriguez.
Sydney Thomason got Ripon on the board with a solo homer in the fourth, but Livingston answered with another run an inning later to lead 5-1.
In the sixth, McKenna Daley, Lilly Mejia and Thomason strung together consecutive singles to load the bases with no outs. Sydney Vernon — one of three players honored on Senior Day — unlocked the floodgates with a two-run double. Caitlynn Campbell later capped the onslaught by scoring on a passed ball.
Ripon got five of its seven hits off Valdez in the sixth inning and capitalized on two errors. Valdez also struck out eight. Thomason fired seven strikeouts, allowing five runs (two earned) on seven hits and a walk.
“Both games we struggled to square up the ball against them,” coach Vernon said. “She pitched a great game down in Livingston and had us on our heels today. In the sixth inning it was like a switch went off. The girls decided they were not going to lose.”
The Indians end the regular season Friday at Hilmar.