After a scoreless first four innings, East Union put up six runs in its final two frames to come from behind and down Ripon 6-2 in a non-league softball game played for cancer awareness on Garvine Field at the Northgate Softball Complex.
It was also a matchup of two Sac-Joaquin Section finalists from last season — East Union won the Division III title, while Ripon was the runner-up in Division V.
“A coach will always tell his team that the other team is tough,” Lancers coach Brian Goulart said. “But really, Ripon is.”
“Danielle (Sperry) is a good pitcher and she handcuffed us for five innings and they are softball savvy.”
As the returning Sac-Joaquin Section Division III champion, Goulart is expecting other teams to be gunning for him.
“I knew it was going to be a war, Goulart said. “But that is going to be typical of every game we play this year. It is going to be like that. We are going to be everybody’s best game because of how our season went last year.
“But we are a whole new team and we have all kinds of stuff to get past. We are not trying to defend anything – we are just trying to find our own identity.”
One of the biggest holes from last year’s East Union championship squad is leadoff batter Cherish Burks who is making an impact at the University of Oregon. Stepping into the top of the order for the Lancers is Michelle Castro.
Castro went 2 for 3 with a double and two RBI, scoring Kianna Ahlstron and Allison Tajii on a double in the bottom of the fifth to put East Union (2-0) ahead 2-0.
“Now that Cherish is gone, people are putting a little pressure on me,” Castro said. “And I was behind her for three years and I learned a lot from her. She was always there for me.
“I text her before every one of her games to wish her luck and she texts me before mine. That is where I get my motivation from.”
Ahlstrom was running for Delaney Pamplin who laced a two-out single to start the fifth-inning rally. A junior, Pamplin (2 for 3, two RBI) had a two-RBI single in the sixth and came on in relief of Mikayla Bongi in the sixth to pitch two shutout innings.
“I have been working hard on my swing for the last few months,” Pamplin said. “I want to be able to hit in the lineup this year.
“I felt relaxed pitching the last few innings.”
Bongi allowed two hits while striking out four and walking none. Pamplin give up two hits and struck out one with no walks. Samantha Owen was 2 for 2 with a walk for the Lancers and Izabella Owen had a ground-rule RBI double in the sixth.
Hana Lee did her job as the leadoff hitter for the Indians (1-1), going 2 for 3 with a double and an RBI, giving Ripon a 1-0 lead in the fifth inning on an RBI double, scoring Sierra Silva. Teammate Shay Furtado was 2 for 3.
Hoku Lee and Felicia Ceja had back-to-back singles to lead off the sixth for Ripon and were advanced to third and second on a beautiful sacrifice bunt by Mikaela Ferreira. But then Pamplin cracked down, getting a strikeout and flyout to end the threat and then setting the side down in order in the seventh.
“It was kind of tough watching,” Indians coach Robert Vernon said. “All in all I am pleased. We had five solid innings but then we had a couple of boots.
“We play these games for a reason and hopefully we can build upon what happened tonight and try to minimize our mistakes.”
Sierra 4, Enochs 3
MODESTO — Lindsey Walljasper struck out 11 in a three-hitter and drove in a pair of runs in the season opener for the defending SJS Division IV champion Timberwolves.
Devi Coglio was 3 for 4 with two runs. Enochs, the reigning Modesto Metro Conference champion, scored all of its runs off errors.
“Overall we did OK, just need to polish up a little on defense and be more selective at the plate,” Sierra coach Vic DeAnda said.