Down but not necessarily out.
Ripon High suffered a tough 5-3 loss Monday to visiting Escalon.
The Indians had the top team in the Trans-Valley League down by run going into the final frame.
But the Cougars rallied with a four-run seventh inning highlighted by Molly Brown’s two-run homer.
“We had to face her,” said Ripon coach Robert Vernon, who had a runner at first with one out and his team ahead 2-1.
Brown deposited the offering over the right center field wall.
Ripon (5-4 TVL, 12-6) came in tied for second place along with Hughson. The top four teams in league will advance to the post season.
“I think we will be OK,” said Vernon, whose team will take on visiting Riverbank today. He believes that one more TVL win will be enough to secure a playoff spot.
Escalon (9-0 TVL, 14-7) took a 1-0 lead in the third. Chardae Hoskins drew a lead-off walk, scooted to second on a wild pitch, moved to third on a fielder’s choice. She scored on Hannah Boyd’s RBI single.
The Indians tied the game at 1-1 in the fourth.
McKenna Daley opened the frame with a walk. She moved to second on a fielder’s choice, advanced to third on Lilly Mejia’s long fly ball to right, and scored on a wild pitch.
Mejia helped manufacture a run in the sixth. She had a two-out single, following that up with a pair of successful steals.
Bianca Toledo then drilled a triple in the right field corner that easily scored Mejia.
Ripon had a 2-1 lead going into the seventh.
Hoskins led off the top of the inning with a single. Indian right fielder Avery Thomason hauled in a fly ball for the first out.
Brown came up and with one swing of the bat giving her team a 3-2 lead. Escalon tacked on two more runs on RBI singles by Malia Babasa and Morgan Reider.
Ripon didn’t go out quietly. In its final at-bat, Myra Toledo drew a one-out walk. Sierra Silva and Sydney Thomason followed with consecutive hits, loading up the bases. Daley’s single up the middle plated Toledo.
The Cougars, who brought in Arabella Strach in relief of starter Brown, was helped out when Shay Furtado’s line drive caromed off one Escalon infielder into the glove of another for the second out, with the throw to first completing the double play and ending the game.
Vernon was encouraged on how his team battled, in particular, the offensive display the came during the final two innings.
He’s hoping his team will continue to hit like that in these final games of the season.
Valley Oak League
Sierra 3, Kimball-Tracy 0
The visiting Jaguars (6-7 overall, 9-11-1 VOL) fell prey to the strong arm and powerful bat of Lindsey Walljasper with the Timberwolves senior giving the home crowd a game to remember in her last outing at Sierra (12-1, 14-4).
Walljasper had a two-run home run and picked up the complete-game shutout, allowing two hits while striking out eight. Battery mate Samantha Lorge added a solo home run.
“Today was senior day,” Timberwolves coach Vic DeAnda said. “We got to play all five of our seniors the whole game.
“Lindsey pitched a great game and contributed on offense as did Sam Lorge. Desiree Mejias made two fantastic catches in right field. Overall the girls played excellent defense.”
Alexis Flores belted a walk-off two-RBI single in the bottom of the seventh to cap a three-run frame for the Timberwolves for the thrilling win.
Flores was (two runs) and Maya Musthogt were both 4 for 4 and Payton Perez was 2 for 4 with two RBI.
Ripon Christian 13,
GUSTINE – Maddie DeGraaf belted a pair of extra-base hits for the Knights (8-3 SL, 13-5 overall) and dominated from inside the circle.
DeGraaf was 2 for 4 with two RBI behind a double and a triple while allowing just two hits while striking out seven and walking two. Morgan Van Elderen was 2 for 3.
“We have been playing a little bit poorly,” Ripon Christian coach Lenny Rizzuto said. “It was a good comeback game to get us out of our funk. Hopefully we can make a run to the playoffs.”
To contact reporter Vince Rembulat, e-mail email@example.com.