RIPON — East Union worked runners to second and third with one out in the top of the seventh inning Wednesday and trailing host Ripon by two runs.
Indians pitcher Sydney Thomason then induced an infield popup and ended the game with a strikeout to secure a 2-0 Valley Oak League softball win for Ripon.
“She is a seasoned pitcher, so getting a runner to third doesn’t really phase her,” Indians coach Robert Vernon said of Thomason. “She has ice water in her veins. We make plays behind her and she has been solid for us forever. She throws strikes — she can throw a ball over a nickel so she had a really good day.
“We changed our signs up at the end in case they were trying to figure them out. She gave up a few hits then, but she pitched masterfully. They really couldn’t adjust to her change-up, so everything else looked hard, hard, hard.”
Thomason racked up 11 strikeouts and allowed just three hits going into the seventh when East Union (3-2 VOL) added two more hits.
“I was definitely in the zone with Kimmee (Kimberly Hern), my catcher,” Thomason said. “I am so proud of her. She is a new catcher and she is working so hard. It was a little tough in the beginning, but now she is really starting to get the hang of it.
“Defense wins games for us. Our bats can do the rest, but it is important that our defense focus up. I get a couple of ground balls and then we make the plays.”
Peyton Naranjo got Ripon (2-2, 3-2 overall) on the board in the first inning when she launched a one-out, 1-0 offering over the right-field fence for a 1-0 Indians lead.
“That pitch looked really good,” Naranjo said of her home run. “But I honestly thought the right fielder was going to catch it.
“I approach each at bat looking for my pitch, and that one was it — outside and waist-high.”
Naranjo had a stellar play in the outfield as well. Dianne LeFuente led off the Lancers third with hard-hit single to right. Naranjo fielded it off the fence seamlessly and gunned down LeFuente before she could reach second base.
“I was just trying to get that ball back in play,” Naranjo said. “If I got her out, I got her out.
“We have been working on getting the ball off the fence and getting throw in off our back foot.”
The Indians added their other run in the first inning. With two outs consecutive singles by Katie Rhodes, Mims Caratachea and Isabella Racacho led to Racacho knocking in Rhodes for a 2-0 lead.
Ripon racked up nine hits while Thomason kept the East Union batters on their heals all day.
“We adjusted zero percent to their pitching,” Lancers coach Brian Goulart said. “She threw change-ups all day long. Hitting is about adjustments and pride and we had neither of those today.
“I challenged our girls in the post-game to be willing to adjust and have the pride to fight from start to finish.”