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SOFTBALL: Thomason showcases all-around ability in Ripon win
Bulletin sports 2020-21
Ripon's Sydney Thomason is congratulated by coach Robert Vernon following her home run. - photo by SEAN KAHLER

RIPON — Sydney Thomason did a little bit of everything Friday in Ripon's 4-1 win over visiting Sierra in Valley Oak League softball action. She picked up the complete-game victory, striking out 11 and allowing just four hits, belting a home run and bunting for a base hit, stealing two bases and initiating a rally-killing double play. 

“I was definitely due at the plate,” Thomason said. “I just have to be patient and hit my pitch — that is my mindset. And yesterday in practice we focused on hitting the ball and hitting it hard.”

In her next at-bat following her home run, Thomason surprised everyone when she bunted for a single, advancing Peyton Naranjo to third after Naranjo had doubled. Thomason then stole second, drawing the throw and allowing Naranjo to take home on a delayed steal to make the score 3-0. 

“The third baseman was basically back on the grass line,” Thomason said. “So, I thought I might as well get a base hit by bunting, too.”

With one run across in the sixth to draw Sierra (0-5) within 3-1, the Timberwolves had Erica Tovar (2-3, double) on third with one out. Vanessa Burrows bunted a comebacker to Thomason, who looked Tovar back and threw to Mims Caratachea who was covering first. Caratachea immediately fired home to Kim Hern who got the tag down on Tovar for an inning-ending double play.

“In practice we focus on playing 21 outs,” Thomason said. “We focus on making every play we can, both the routine and the crazy plays. If we make the crazy plays, great, but we have to make the routine plays too.”

In Wednesday’s 2-0 win over East Union, Thomason had 11 strikeouts as well.

“Sydney has done well in back-to-back games,” Indians coach Robert Vernon said. “She is solid. Sydney spent a good amount of time facing live pitching yesterday and I am happy with the result. 

“Both teams played clean and the game was tight. It’s good to have tight games because you have to get used to playing under pressure. And those guys are well-coached over there and I knew they would have their team prepared.”

Ripon leadoff hitter Rhylee Magazinovic started the game off with a double and went 2 for 4.

“Hitting .500 is all right,” Magazinovic said. “I prefer to go 4 for 4 or 5 for 5. But I will take what I can get – 2 for 4 is fine.

Thomason’s home run plated Rhylee for a 2-0 lead. Kim Hern singled in Caratachea in the sixth to make the score 4-1.

The Indians (3-2, 4-2 overall) stole five bases.

In the sixth inning, the Timberwolves’ Mackenzie Wahlen reached on an error and was advanced to third on a double by Tovar. Wahlen scored on a groundout by Taylor Geeenwood. 

“We played good defense,” Sierra Don Hughes said. “But they got some clutch hits.

“This was a tough game — it wasn’t a blowout. We were in the game the whole time, so I am still proud of them.” 

Mikayla Guarascio was 2 for 2 with a double for Sierra.