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SOFTBALL: Ripon routs Lindhurst, heads to No. 2 Sierra next
Ripon's Shay Furtado is safe at home under the tag of Lindhurst's Alex Steele as Blazers pitcher Danika Martin looks on. - photo by GARY JENSEN/

RIPON — Visiting Lindhurst of Olivehurst managed just two hits against Ripon freshman Sydney Thomason in a Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV playoff opener Monday, one from their leadoff hitter to start the game and the other from the second-to-last batter.

With Thomason on her game, the offense did plenty of damage of its own as the No. 7 Indians rolled to a 13-0 five-inning victory.

“This team is fun to coach,” Indians coach Robert Vernon said. “We’re young and there’s times when it is frustrating, but you just have to learn how to deal with it. But they are a resilient group, motivated, in the game 100 percent all the time and never out of a game. They’re constantly in the game cheering.

“I’m proud of where we are going.”

Thomason was masterful inside the circle, striking out five and walking just one in addition to the two hits. Just one runner made it into scoring position for the Blazers (15-13). 

“It’s really fun,” Thomason said. “My mindset going in was just to hit my spots and let my defense carry us, making their plays and we would be fine.”

The Indians (15-7) pieced together a seven-run fourth inning with some big hits, the biggest being a three-run home run by Mackenzie Hutchinson, scoring Sydney Vernon and Bianca Toledo.

“I saw the pitch right in my zone where I like it,” Hutchinson said. “I hit right on the barrel on the sweet spot and it went over.”

Lilly Mejia (2 for 3, two RBI, triple) tripled in Makenna Daley earlier in the frame, and pinch hitter Madison Rodrigues capped the scoring when she sat back on a 1-1 changeup and drilled it to plate Myra Toledo (2 for 2, two runs) Sierra Silva (two runs). 

“I saw it and I got kind of scared,” Rodrigues said of the changeup. “But I kept my confidence level up. I stayed back on it and let it go.”

Ripon scored five runs on just two hits in the fifth inning behind four Lindhurst errors and started the scoring in the first inning when Shay Furtado walked and was advanced to third on a single by Mejia and a fielder’s choice by Bianca Toledo. Furtado scooted home on a passed ball to make the score 1-0. 

The Indians have to take to the road for the next round Wednesday but they will not have to go far as they travel to Sierra to face the second-seeded Timberwolves at 4 p.m.